How Secure is Your Network Firewall?

A network firewall is a first line of defense against cyber attacks and malicious actors. Firewalls can restrict data from going in and out of your organization. They allow administrators to configure what types of data can pass through.

Most startups and small businesses know the risks and pitfalls of not having a firewall. Small businesses are more likely to be the victim of cyberattacks than large enterprises. These kinds of attacks can be financially devastating and put you out of business within a few months.

It’s likely that your small business already has a firewall or multiple firewalls in place. Software firewalls are installed on individual devices while hardware or network firewalls act as a protective barrier for an entire network. Most businesses use a mixture of both.

While it is essential, having a network firewall in and of itself does not guarantee that your company’s data will always remain safe. In fact many firewall breaches are the result of misconfiguration, not vulnerability exploits or sophisticated hacking.

Even the smallest of SMB networks have to balance multiple devices, servers, and endpoints all with varying connection requirements. It’s imperative that you have a secure network firewall to protect your business.

Here’s what you need to do to maintain a secure firewall:

What kind of network firewalls should SMBs use?

You may be tempted to use less expensive home routers, but stick with business equipment. As consumer electronics become more sophisticated, so does the networking equipment designed to work with it. Despite these advances, however, consumer-grade networking equipment is not a replacement for business-grade equipment.

Business equipment is designed to support commercial purposes like supporting a larger number of devices and facilitating compliance. In addition, business network firewalls allow administrators to more granularly monitor and control individual devices.

How should I develop firewall rules?

If you don’t have an in-house IT department, you may want to work with an external network security consultant to develop procedures for a secure network firewall. Here are some common procedures that many startups and SMBs follow:

    • Initially deny all incoming and outgoing traffic, and eventually identify wanted and unwanted traffic.
    • Enable trusted services going in and out once you verify them.
    • Disable services and applications that you don’t need.

Who should be in charge of the firewall?

We live in an age where every employee must play a role in business security. To maintain a secure network firewall, create written policies that everyone can access. These policies should make it clear when it is appropriate to open a new port, who is authorized to do it, and how individuals can make requests regarding firewall changes. This is also an important step to take to prevent misconfigurations.

How do I maintain a secure network firewall?

Like other components of business security, setting up a network firewall is not a one-time action. You will need to regularly monitor firewall traffic, keeping an eye out for suspicious activities. One way to do this is to set up rules to automatically notify IT administrators of suspicious activity so they can conduct more analysis.

A secure network firewall is just one component of your SMB’s security. Electric takes the complexity out of SMB network security by managing your entire network remotely, eliminating the difficulties of traditional on-site support.

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