What You Need to Know About Firewall Protection

| January 7, 2020

At Concensus, one of the most common questions we hear is about why organizations need firewalls, or why an organization should consider replacing or upgrading the firewall they currently have.

Firewalls are an essential part of your network and critical to your organization’s overall safety and security. The first step is understanding what a firewall is and what it does to support and secure your network.

A network firewall is a traditional firewall, one that blocks unauthorized access to your internal networks, systems, and hardware, while still allowing external communication and secure data exchanges. With conventional network firewalls, they provide the ability to block ports, provide network translation, and sometimes virtual private networks (VPN).

Traditional firewalls have their place and purpose, but modern-day network security requires next-generation firewalls. Next-generation firewalls perform in many of the same ways as conventional firewalls. However, they are additionally capable of detecting viruses, recognizing specific applications, filtering, and performing anti-virus inspection, as well as intrusion prevention.

Locking down your network from the outside world is important. But it doesn’t end there. The ability to proactively identify and prevent incoming viruses, or recognizing that someone is actively scanning your network looking for access vulnerabilities is critical to maintaining internal and external security and control. Next-Generation firewalls are also capable of blocking internal users from spreading a virus internally or infecting machines outside of your network, whether intentional or accidental.

Given the cybersecurity threats that exist today, a standard firewall from your internet provider is not enough to protect your software and hardware, your systems and networks, your users, and your organization’s critical data and sensitive information. These systems must be updated and adapted to ensure they’re comprehensively and consistently protecting you from today’s threats.

For larger organizations, a next-generation firewall will allow for policies and exceptions based on each user’s identity and can integrate with your system and access settings. For example, in a school district, a staff member would naturally require more access than a student–and the firewall settings can be adjusted based on each individual user’s account.

Choosing a firewall can be challenging. Your firewall needs to show you in-depth visibility to all of your wireless and wired networks and instantly identify devices and users. Above all, it has to be easy to install and manage. And, you’ll want to prioritize continuous automatic updates, as well as maintaining compliance reporting and requirements. Working with a trusted IT partner can help you identify the right firewall protection for your users, your network, and your organization.

When you’re considering implementing a new firewall or updating an existing firewall, the following information can help you vet IT partners and determine which firewall solution will work best for you.

  • Firewalls are rated for the number of users/devices, so you’ll need to know how many users you need to support.
  • Understand your internet speed, connections, and capabilities.
  • Consider if you have multiple sites and whether they will be connected via a private network or through the internet. Will you be connecting to a public cloud like Amazon AWS or Microsoft Azure? Will your users need VPN access?
  • Consider additional layers of security that may or may not be in place, for example, anti-virus, DNS protection, web filters, and others.

We know this is a lot to consider. See the link below to contact a Concensus team member for help. We’ll also provide a cybersecurity healthcheck that reviews your current environment to see if you have any gaps in your network, so you’re completely covered.

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