Tuesday, April 16, 2024


Since small businesses put less money into network security than larger corporations do, they are the target of nearly half of today’s cyberattacks. Research claims that 60% of small enterprises don’t survive a cyberattack, and many find it difficult to bounce back after a cyberattack, unlike their more established rivals. What, then, can you do as the person in charge of a small business? Consider a firewall as a starting point.

It’s a common misperception that firewalls are only necessary for major corporations or financial institutions. The fact is that any company with an established network needs to set up a firewall, regardless of its industry or size. Here is a beginner’s guide to network firewall security.

What is network firewall security?

Firewall security is hardware or software for securing a personal computer or computer network. To provide this protection, either software, hardware, or both filter out all unauthorized users from private computers and networks while allowing only authorized traffic. 

In other words, a firewall is a security program that analyses incoming and outgoing network traffic and determines whether to restrict traffic based on a pre-established set of security rules. Doing so stops unauthorized traffic and guards against attacking your machine or network with malicious malware. For instance, you can prevent unwanted files from entering your system from outside sources by using a firewall.

Different types of firewalls

Since every user has unique needs, there are different types of firewalls.

Hardware firewall

Hardware firewalls are tangible devices tasked with protecting computational resources. They act as entry points between internal networks and the internet, preventing traffic requests and data packets from unreliable sources from entering the private network. Physical firewalls are ideal for organizations with several devices connected to the same network.

Software firewall

Software firewalls are independently deployed on various devices, giving you greater granular control by letting you access some features or applications while blocking others. This kind of firewall might use many resources, particularly your computer’s RAM and CPU. Also, administrators must individually configure and manage them on each device.

Net generation firewall

A next-generation firewall (NGFW) addresses advanced cyber threats at the application level by utilizing context-aware and intelligent security capabilities. Stateful inspection, packet filtering, and other traditional firewall characteristics are combined with other elements in an NGFW to decide what kinds of traffic to accept. What distinguishes NGFW, then?

According to experts at Sangfor technologies, an NGFW is equipped to inspect packet data and filter packets based on applications (not limited to IP headers). The Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) standard operates up to layer 7 (the application layer). It is, therefore, more potent than the earlier firewall technology, which could only operate at the OSI model’s fourth (transport) layer. As cybercriminals advance their methods, levels 4–7 of the OSI model have been under increasing attack, necessitating the use of NGFWs.

Proxy firewall

One of the original types of firewalls is this one. This firewall’s ability to bar outside networks from connecting directly to computers is one of its features. This firewall performs the role of a network gateway for particular applications.

Packet filtering firewall

This is the most basic kind, and the purpose of this Firewall application is to create a barrier at the router. Without getting into packet specifics, the firewall functions to examine the source and destination IP addresses.

Circuit level Gateways

This straightforward Firewall configuration checks the TCP handshake to ensure that the packet comes from a reliable source.

Stateful Inspection Firewalls

This unique kind of firewall combines two ways: packet filtering firewall and circuit level gateways to produce a configuration with greater protection.

The importance of network firewall security

It blocks malicious traffic.

Firewalls examine incoming and outgoing data using preset criteria to assess the legitimacy of the traffic. Different forms of data can access other ports on your network, which are unique places. For instance, the port used for VoIP phone communications is often open. You can configure your firewall to allow just traffic from the VoIP provider to access a specific port and block all other traffic. The “Deny All” option is available if you need to bar anyone from entering. Network firewall security is especially critical when organizations update their networks, as they are more vulnerable.

It notifies you of malicious activity. 

In addition to blocking malicious IP addresses, firewalls monitor signatures to determine whether a person or application poses a threat. It recognizes patterns that correspond to DDoS attacks or other invasive activity. The firewall warns you and blocks them if it finds them. The primary importance of a firewall for a small business is that it can alert you immediately if there is continuing hacking activity being conducted against your network, allowing your cybersecurity team to remove the cyber threat and safeguard your assets.

It helps with content filtering.

You may decide what information your employees can access and what they can’t with a firewall. Businesses can boost productivity and efficiency by excluding dangerous websites (note that many online websites include malware).

For instance, if content filtering is enabled, the firewall can identify traffic from a malicious website via IP addresses and restrict access to it. You may have encountered such an experience when a website is blocked from access because it is “unsafe to browse.”

Blocking data outflow

Firewalls can stop data flow if your protection strategy and the firewall aren’t adequate to thwart hackers. When this occurs, firewalls begin to function like one-way doors, allowing people to enter but preventing them from leaving. Since firewalls can also record IPs and signatures, this is very helpful when attempting to determine where the attempt originated.

The takeaway

Regardless of the firewall type, picking the ideal supplier is equally crucial. When you speak with each vendor you’re considering buying from or renting from, “listen between the lines” to see whether they actively participate in responding to your questions and ensuring that you’re making the best choices for your company. The firewall provider should understand your business needs and provide the best solution.