Top 7 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Firewall
Today, more than ever before, businesses are connected on a global scale. The vast majority of companies are connected to the internet, making it much easier to perform many tasks and business functions. While it’s a positive thing that helps millions of businesses thrive, it also opens up the risk of data breaches and data theft.
Unfortunately, cyber-attacks are on the rise worldwide, making it more critical than ever for your business to have a strong, highly effective firewall in place. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what a firewall is, what it does, and the powerful benefits it offers your business. If you’re interested in getting a firewall for your business, read on to learn the Top 7 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Firewall. Enjoy.
What is a Firewall?
In home and office construction, a firewall is a structure erected to prevent the spread of fire and save lives. The term was co-opted for the internet age because a computer firewall has many similarities. It’s a virtual structure, comprised of either hardware, software, or both, that can prevent the spread of your private data to hackers, scammers, and other criminals.
Also, unlike a virus protection program, which prevents hackers from installing a virus once they’ve entered your system, a firewall prevents them from entering in the first place. (Think of it like a protective moat around the castle of your business.) When up and running, a firewall inspects all of the millions of bits of data flowing in and out of your business’s network. If it finds something illegitimate, malicious, or otherwise malignant, it stops it from entering.
1- A Firewall Provides Potent Protection Against Hackers
One look at some of the recent headlines is all it takes to see that, today, there’s a hacking epidemic causing severe problems for businesses the world over. Even worse, hackers, scammers, and criminals are hacking into networks 24/7. When you and your employees are home sleeping, they’re attacking your network, breaking in, and causing havoc, some of which you might not even know about until it’s too late.
Hackers, however, find it very difficult to break through a firewall because it’s so powerful. A hacker or scammer who comes upon a firewall will simply stop trying and move on in many cases. Whether they do or don’t, though, your data and network will be much better protected than if there was no firewall in place. That’s why most computer experts consider firewalls a network’s first line of defense against anyone with criminal intent. Like hackers and scammers, firewalls work 24/7, blocking anyone who tries to get in illegally.
2- They Protect Your Network, Your Data, and Your Employees from Malicious Code
All computer networks run on code. (Think of it as their native language.) Computer code is incredible, allowing networks, businesses, and people to communicate around the globe. Code, though, does come with some rather large problems. First, it can bring unwanted ‘junk’ into your network, gumming up your servers and wasting resources. Second, criminals can use code to enter into your network and then use more code to hide computer viruses, spam, ‘worms,’ and more. It’s this malicious code that can harm your network and allow hackers and criminals access to your business’s valuable data.
When you have a firewall in place, however, powerful software will protect your network 24/7, checking every single bit of code coming in or out, as well as any attempts made to intrude incorrectly or illegally. Anything out of the ordinary is blocked, protecting your network’s systems and your valuable data. A firewall can also learn and remember malicious applications, block them, and further protect your network.
3- Firewalls Give You Control Of Internet Content Coming Into Your Workplace
Many organizations see a drop in productivity caused by inattentive, distracted, or otherwise unproductive employees. When an employee is on the clock but not working, every minute they waste your business is losing money.
One of the biggest causes of this problem is the internet, ironically. Even as it allows your business to function (and may be the sole reason it can function), the internet can also be used in a wide variety of unproductive ways. For example, when employees surf the internet, chat with friends on social media, or watch content not related to work, they waste your most precious resource; people power.
However, with a firewall in place, you can easily set up policies about which websites can and can’t be accessed. For example, if you wanted to block access to various social media sites, your firewall can be easily programmed to do that. It’s a simple way to boost productivity by decreasing the temptation to do something other than the work at hand.
4- Firewalls Can help You Put Limits On Bandwidth Usage
We mentioned in #3 that the internet can be a cause of decreased productivity when employees spend time online that’s not related to work. This non-business-related usage can cause another problem, however, and that’s using up valuable bandwidth.
Think of bandwidth like a highway. When there are fewer cars on the highway, you can get where you’re going much faster. On the other hand, if many people are on the road, it causes traffic, which will, in turn, causes everyone to slow down and, in some cases, even stop. (If you live in a big city like Los Angeles, New York, or Atlanta, you know exactly what we’re referring to, unfortunately.)
Bandwidth is the same way. If a few people are using it, data speeds are high, and everyone can get their work done. However, if too many employees use the network, it gets bogged down, and speeds drop significantly. That’s especially true if, like #3, employees are using the internet for content unrelated to work, like videos, photos, and music.
What a firewall allows you to do is limit the amount of bandwidth that’s used for non-work related internet usage. It doesn’t turn it off entirely but instead can let you put limits on how much can be used to watch videos, listen to music, or look at photos, among other things. That way, precious bandwidth and faster speeds can be reserved for activities solely related to work.
5- Firewalls Help Secure Your Network When Using Remote Employees
Businesses today rely more and more on remote employees, allowing them to work away from a central office location. The problem with this when it comes to your network is that once an employee is outside of your ISP (Internet Service Provider), protecting your network can be much more difficult.
However, when there’s a firewall in place, the connection between your server and your remote employees is secured. It blocks other users and keeps them from interrupting or accessing the data being shared by your business and your remote employees.
6- A Firewall Protects Your Data In the Cloud
Today, many businesses are choosing to host all of their data in the cloud rather than on a server at their location. It’s an excellent financial move, no doubt, but it does come with the downside that your data is on a server you don’t control. That means trusting whichever IT resources you use for your cloud storage, which is always a risk.
When you have a strict firewall policy in place, though, the risk is significantly minimized. It’s very similar to how a firewall secures remote worker connections; every bit of data is checked and re-checked to ensure no malicious code gets through.
7- A Firewall Works 24/7, Monitoring Your Network and Protecting It From Harm
The average business owner today doesn’t have the time to monitor their network; it’s true. Yes, you could hire someone to do it, but that adds another expense to your overhead. With a firewall in place, though, you’ll have 2/7, 365 protection from an ’employee’ who never sleeps, never takes a break, and never calls in sick. A firewall is always at work, protecting your network and your precious data. It also learns and can be taught to provide several other functions that are very valuable. It may not have a heart or soul, but a firewall has the best work ethic you’ve ever seen.
In today’s business world, the more protection you can provide your network, and your valuable data, the better. One of the very best protective devices is a firewall, which should be part of your business’ IT security strategy. That includes device controls, anti-spyware, application controls, antivirus software, intrusion prevention, and network access control. Ascendant’s general recommendation for a business firewall would be a Fortinet or Sonicwall.
Like a moat, a firewall is the first line of defense against invaders, including scammers, hackers, and criminals. It’s works 24/7, keeping your network safe and your business productive. To learn more about network security click here. If you have questions about installing a firewall for your business, please contact us and a friendly representative will get back to you within 24 hours.