A network firewall plays a vital role in managing and controlling the traffic that comes and goes from your computer(s) and your network(s). A network firewall serves as the gate keeper, using your security policy rules to allow or deny access to your network.

When properly implemented, this device is your first line of defense against being attacked by cyber criminals, viruses and worms.  It doesn’t matter whether you have a home network, small-to-mid-size network, or you are part of a larger enterprise network, you still have the same security issues to deal with and you’ll face a lion’s share of cyber threats if you don’t have a robust firewall.

Many home users say that a simple router provides them with the security they need, but if you work from home and your data is important to the continuity of your business, or you have precious photos or other private information on your home network, you may want to re-think this.
However, for the purpose of this month’s tips, we are going to focus on firewalls for businesses and the importance of having a firewall at each internet connection.  This allows you to set the security protocol and rules that will govern who can access what, when and where, giving YOU full control on how your staff uses the internet when in the office.

With a proper firewall in place, you can protect confidential information from unauthorized access as your device works to decipher what is “good” traffic and what is malicious. There are several types of firewalls that perform slightly different levels of analysis and interception. 
 
For the best protection to combat against the increased, evolving world of internet-borne threats, the best firewalls provide a combination of the following features:

* Packet layer: This analyzes network traffic at the transport protocol layer

* Circuit level: This validates that packets are either connection or data packets

* Application layer: This ensures valid data at the application level before connecting

* Proxy server: This intercepts all messages entering or leaving the network

Other functions that the firewall performs include: gateway defense, enforcing defined security policies, separating activity between your network, the internet and your DMZ (the demilitarized zone – a protected zone that sits between your network and the world wide web), hiding and protecting your internal network addresses and providing reports on threats and other activities.

It is important to know that some firewalls offer virus protection, but we strongly recommend that you also have anti-virus software on each computer. Depending on the layers of security you use, you will determine how many threats can be blocked by your firewall and increase your ability to prevent outsiders from logging into your private network.  Although critical to the safety of your network, firewalls are not the only part of a strong IT security program.  Even with a truly strong firewall, you are always at the risk of user (employee) error and threats like Malware, which include a host of viruses, trojan horses, worms, spyware/adware and phishing schemes.  When it comes to your IT security, a multi-pronged approach is the best way to shore up your defenses and adding a firewall or stoking your existing firewall is a great place to start.  If you are considering adding a firewall or want to take yours to the next level, we have many options.  

About Tech 2020 Solutions
Tech 2020 Solutions offers complete turnkey solutions for the technologies that drive your business, stores and secures your data and helps you communicate in and outside of your company.
Offering multiple levels of on-site and remote support, monitoring and maintenance for your data, IT, phones and peripheral equipment needs including: general IT Support and Services, Cloud Storage and Applications, Network Security, Back Up, Mobile Solutions, VoIP Phone Systems, Unified Communications, Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery and other Scalable Technologies. Visit www.Tech2020solutions.com to learn more about Tech 2020 Solutions, or call 516-876-8761 or email info@Tech2020solutions.com.  

Power Up with John Hassler is a blog distributed by Tech 2020 Solutions, and written by John Hassler, President and Founder of the company.  To reach John, contact him at 516.876.8761 or via email at news@Tech2020solutions.com.  Connect on Linked In and Facebook.