A firewall is a critical component in keeping your network safe from attacks and data breaches. By preventing attacks and protecting your existing network from external threats, a firewall is a necessary tool for any business to implement in maintaining cyber security. If you’ve had the same firewall program for 3-5 years it may be time to upgrade. Below are ten cool things your firewall should be doing for you!

Top 10 Cool Things Your Firewall Does:
1. Control the applications allowed on the network and manage the bandwidth for critical applications

Many important applications that businesses use on a daily basis are cloud-based and run across a varied amount of networks. Your firewall ensures that these critical applications have priority over other web activities boosting your business’ productivity.

2. Block peer-to-peer applications
Peer-to-peer (P2P) applications are often used to download unlicensed versions of copyrighted content which consumes bandwidth and potentially transmits malware. P2P applications are constantly evolving and so it is difficult to manually block them individually. Your firewall should continuously update these applications and control the databases in order to add new P2P apps that are available. Having control over these P2P applications allows you to simply create one policy to block all of them moving forward.

3. Block unproductive components of applications.

While social networking applications have now been integrated as critical communication channels for businesses, it is useful to control how these applications are utilized in the workplace. With firewall application intelligence and control you can allow employees to only access some features of these apps that are useful for business needs and block access to unproductive features such as games.

4. Visualize your application traffic
Your firewall can help you monitor what is going on in your network such as monitoring who is wasting bandwidth and why the network may be slow. Instead of using a combination of separate tools, a firewall can provide real time visualization of application traffic, diagnose issues, detect network usage and create and implement effective policies.

5. Manage bandwidth for a group of users.
Instead of implementing policies to manage bandwidth that apply to everyone in the company, with a firewall you can create group-specific policies to further customize and fulfill the needs of the company.

6. Block ransomware attacks and breaches
Network security is a critical focus for IT administration. In order to mitigate risk and utilize resources effectively, a business must have the ability to block attacks from ransomware and avoid breaches caused by malware. Your firewall should be able to block unknown threats entering the network before any damage is caused.

7. Identify connections by country
A firewall can help decipher if a connection to an IP in a foreign country is coming from a benign web surfing activity or a potentially harmful botnet. Country traffic identification can identify and control network traffic entering or exiting specific countries. The firewall can either protect against attacks from outside entities or investigate suspicious traffic originating from inside the network.

8. Prevent data leaks over email
In some companies, outbound email does not get filtered through an email security system that analyzes the content of email attachments. This makes it easier for confidential attachments to leave the organization undetected. With a firewall, however, outbound network traffic is detected and this type of data leak can be prevented.

9. Prevent data leaks over webmail
Firewalls can apply the same type of protection explained above for outgoing e-mail to webmail, preventing data leaks and ensuring your network is safe.

10. Bandwidth management for streaming audio and video
Access to streaming video content from certain sites may be useful but this privilege can often be abused by employees. A firewall can limit the total bandwidth given to streaming video or audio regardless of the site. This way sites don't need to necessarily be blocked but the traffic is identified by its origin and managed to avoid abuse.

If you need help in implementing any of the above tips we’ve shared or would like more information about our Cybersecurity Training Program or Dark Web and Phishing Training Program, give us a call. Our on-going training programs enable you to have a real-time dashboard view of your company’s cybersecurity performance when it comes to recognizing malicious content or employees that may be inadvertently putting you at risk.