What Is a Firewall, and How Will It Help My Business?

If you’ve been using computers for the past 20 years, you’ve probably heard the term “firewall.” Yet no matter how many times you’ve heard the word, you might not know exactly what firewalls are and how they help secure your business. 

For a business, your firewalls are imperative to your cybersecurity. To understand how firewalls help businesses, you first need to know what firewalls are and which type is most effective for your company’s unique needs.

What Is a Firewall?

In short, a firewall protects your network. Think of it as a moat surrounding your network, keeping out attacking forces. It might protect a single computer from unauthorized access or it could have been designed to protect all computers for a large enterprise. You can have a firewall to protect specific hardware or a firewall that protects a vast network.

The firewall is designed so that only authorized users can gain access to the information within. For instance, the firewall on a personal computer prevents someone on the internet from gaining access to the files on your computer.

Some of the things firewalls protect users from are:

  • Malware insertion: Firewalls are essentially made for identifying and stopping the attacks that come from outside sources.
  • Lost or stolen data: Without a firewall, your device is exposed, allowing hackers to access confidential information to do whatever they want with. This can result in identity theft or complete loss of information.
  • Data exfiltration: Firewalls don’t just monitor what comes in, but they also identify the information going out and prevent data from being leaked out via advanced persistent threats (APTs).
  • Network crashes: Firewalls protect your network from being shut down by attackers and save you time and money from having to try and restart your network again and again.

Types of Firewalls

There are a few types of firewalls. You’re almost definitely using some of them right this minute. Most operating systems have firewalls built-in. Your router also likely has a firewall, but you would need to add some protection to make this a professional-grade option. 

Some of the basic types of firewalls include:

Proxy Service

The proxy firewall acts as a gateway between the computer and the network. This protects the machine from data that comes from the internet. They can configure it to only allow certain types of communications.

Traditional Firewalls

The more traditional today is the Stateful Inspection Firewall. This type of firewall allows or blocks communication based on set information (or rules) about the data.

Unified Threat Management (UTM) Firewalls

The Unified Threat Management (UTM) firewall includes the traditional tools of the Stateful Inspection Firewall, but it also adds other applications, which might include tools to help protect your network on the cloud or against other threats. They make UTMs more user-friendly while offering heightened protection.

Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW)

The NGFW is more advanced and adds layered cybersecurity to your network. They include the basics but also are made to protect against the newest threats.

Paid vs. Free Firewalls

You can also purchase well-known third-party applications. These include McAfee and Nortons. Many third-party applications offer free versions. So if there are free versions attached to your operating systems and routers, and you can even get free versions from well-known vendors, then why would you need to purchase a firewall?

These free options are really only developed for home use when there’s limited reason to be concerned about security. These come at the risk of lessened security than their paid versions and can let in malware to servers under the pretense of helping secure them.

How Fusion Technology Solutions Can Help

For businesses, there are many reasons to be concerned about cybersecurity. Accessing your system means compromising client data, which can be exceptionally costly and ruin your reputation.

Businesses of every size need to have firewalls in place as part of their ongoing cybersecurity plan. A huge part of that is finding the right managed service provider (MSP) to help secure your company’s information. The experts at Fusion Technology can help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and receive a customized cybersecurity analysis.