Just like antivirus, firewalls are one of the first lines of defense in protecting your organization’s network. And, as with all modern technology, firewalls have continually evolved to combat against ever-changing cyber threats. Essentially, firewalls are used to restrict outside access to your computer through your business’ network. They can block data from certain network addresses, applications, or ports, and administrators can configure what type of data can pass through.

Why your small business needs a firewall (or two)

Once your business suffers a cyber attack, it may be too late to recoup, or, at the very least, it could lead to a costly recovery. That’s why the best way for a business to protect themselves is to stay proactive with their security. Firewalls are one of the most basic components of endpoint security, and, in this day and age, most devices come with built-in firewalls.

There are both hardware firewalls, such as routers, and software firewalls, which are installed in an individual computer. Hardware firewalls sit on your network and act like a security guard for the whole network, and software firewalls do the same thing but just for the specific device it’s installed on. Most home users opt for software firewalls, but the most effective setup for a business will be comprised of both hardware and software firewalls.

Firewalls also allow companies to manually set rules and policies for their network usage. For instance, some organizations may block access to websites that could affect office productivity. Or they may blacklist inappropriate websites and pop-ups that are known to spread viruses.

Do SMBs need a firewall?

Truthfully, most business owners can identify the security benefit that a firewall can provide. However, the problem is that small and medium-sized businesses often mistake the appropriate protection that is required for their organization.

Common misconceptions about firewalls for SMBs include:

  • Thinking consumer-grade hardware or software is sufficient for business security
  • Low-risk businesses don’t need to worry about firewall protection as much as high-risk businesses
  • With antivirus software, there is no need for firewall protection
  • I already have a firewall in place, so I am all set and don’t need to worry about it anymore

First, there’s a reason why any type of hardware and software come in consumer and business categories. Businesses vary in infrastructure and they often have more devices to keep track of compared to the everyday consumer. Business-grade equipment is always designed for business purposes; not only does it provide more options and control over managing devices, but it also comes with better security and protection.

Second, every business need to worry about their cybersecurity, regardless of their size. Small businesses are often main targets for cyber criminals, and more than half of them go out of business within six months of being attacked.

Third, firewalls often work in conjunction with antivirus. Essentially, firewalls control traffic going in and out of your device or network, and antivirus scans for and cleans up threats that make it into your computer. Both of these components focus on different kinds of threats, which is why it’s important to have both of them!

Lastly, firewalls are not a set-it-and-forget-it situation. They need to be regularly maintained and, when needed, reconfigured, which many businesses fail to do.

Is your firewall set up properly?

There’s a lot more to a firewalls than simply setting them up; many small and medium-sized businesses struggle to maintain and monitor their firewall security — often because they don’t have the time, money, or resources to do so. That's where Electric comes in.

When you partner up with Electric, you have access to a top notch IT team at your fingertips. So not only can we help you find the best firewall solution for your organization, but we can also ensure that it stays up-to-date and continues to protect your business without you having to think about it. And beyond firewalls, we can help with any component of your organization’s cybersecurity — from password management to antivirus to identity management. Schedule a demo today to learn more.