The Importance of Firewalls for Small Businesses

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At its core, a firewall acts as a barrier between a private internal network and the public internet. It monitors and controls incoming and outgoing network traffic to prevent malicious traffic from entering a network. As such, firewalls for small businesses are a critical part of protecting sensitive data.

“Even a high-end firewall can be relatively simple to maintain with the right tools. There’s little reason for a small business owner to feel intimidated by them.”Brian Brunette, VP of Operations, Global CTI

Protecting network access and filtering data is more important now than ever. A study released in June 2023 revealed that 61% of SMBs in the US and UK experienced a successful cyber attack in the past year. A good firewall can protect your business from joining this statistic.

Still, good firewall protection relies on the right implementation. To help you achieve that, this article will go over the importance of firewalls for small businesses and when it may be in your best interest to contact a managed firewall service provider.

 

Why Do You Need a Small Business Firewall?

Many low-cost, consumer-grade firewall solutions exist out there. So, it’s tempting to opt for one as a small business. However, it’s important to resist this temptation and opt for a business-grade firewall no matter how small you are.

There are a few reasons why you should favor a business-grade firewall over a consumer option. Firstly, business-grade firewalls protect your entire network, not just individual devices. Therefore, it’s simply the best option if you have multiple devices connected to your business network.

Moreover, business-grade firewalls excel at handling high traffic volumes. Most individual consumers don’t see the kind of traffic volume that a business does. So, consumer-grade options aren’t built to withstand that. If your firewall isn’t equipped to handle your volume, you risk your network’s speed and reliability.

Last, but certainly not least, consumer-grade firewalls don’t offer the same level of threat protection as business-grade options. Most offer the ability to set specific security rules that align with your unique business needs.

 

5 Different Types of Firewalls Used in Small Business

1. Packet-Filtering Firewalls

Packet-filtering firewalls are the most basic type of firewall. They check the data packets sent to your network and either allow or block them based on predetermined rules. These firewalls look at the packet’s source and destination IP addresses, port number, and protocol. They are a straightforward and cost-effective solution that offers basic threat prevention.

 

💡What is a Packet?
When information, such as an email, a web page, or a video, is sent from one computer to another over the internet or an internal network, it gets broken down into smaller, manageable pieces known as packets.

 

2. Stateful Inspection Firewalls

Stateful inspection firewalls offer a more advanced level of security. They not only examine the data packets but also keep track of the state of active connections. This means they can make more informed decisions about which traffic to allow or block, based on the context of the data exchange.

3. Proxy Firewalls

Proxy firewalls act as an intermediary between your users and the services they access. They filter traffic at the application level and can inspect the contents of the data packets. By doing this, they provide a high level of network security and can prevent attempts to exploit known vulnerabilities in applications.

4. Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW)

Next-generation firewalls blend the features of traditional firewalls with additional functionalities, like integrated intrusion prevention. They can inspect the data within packets and identify applications, regardless of the port or protocol used.

5. Network Address Translation (NAT) Firewalls

NAT firewalls allow multiple devices on a private network to share a single public IP address. They can hide the IP addresses of individual devices, making it harder for attackers to target them directly.

 

Which One is Right For Me?

If you’re still not sure which type of firewall best suits your business. Here is a quick overview of what you may want to consider.

 

Feature Packet-Filtering Stateful Inspection Proxy NGFW NAT
Basic Data Filtering Yes Yes Limited Yes Yes
Advanced Threat Detection No Limited Yes Yes No
Customizable Rules Limited Yes Yes Yes Limited
Application-Level Inspection No No Yes Yes No
Scalability Low Medium High High Medium
Cost-Effectiveness High Medium Low Varies High

 

What is a Managed Firewall?

A managed firewall is a service provided by a third-party company that handles the setup, administration, monitoring, and maintenance of your business firewall. This service is especially beneficial for small businesses that may not have the resources or expertise to manage complex enterprise firewall systems internally.

The service provider takes responsibility for your firewall configuration to ensure it meets your specific business needs. They will also update security protocols as needed, and monitor network traffic for suspicious activities.

A managed firewall service often includes regular reports and analytics. These reports give you insights into the security status of your network, including detected threats and prevented attacks. This level of detail can be invaluable for strategic planning and compliance purposes.

 

How to Choose The Right Firewall Security Solution for Your Business

Assess Your Business Needs

Before choosing a firewall, evaluate your business’s specific needs. Consider the size of your network, the type of data you handle, and your business activities. Understanding your requirements will guide you to select a firewall that provides adequate protection without being overly complex or expensive.

Evaluate Performance & Reliability

A good firewall should not significantly slow down your network. Check the firewall’s throughput, which is the amount of data it can process without causing a bottleneck. Ensure it has a proven track record of uptime and efficient threat management.

 

Learn More About Cybersecurity

 

Analyze Management & Usability

Consider how easy the firewall is to manage. For businesses with limited IT resources, a firewall that is easy to set up and maintain may be best. User-friendly interfaces and clear documentation can also help simplify management. Consider whether you should opt for a managed solution.

Compliance & Regulatory Requirements

Ensure that the firewall you choose helps you comply with industry regulations. If your business is subject to regulations like HIPAA, PCI-DSS, or GDPR, your firewall should support compliance with these standards.

Seek Expert Advice

If you’re unsure, consult with cybersecurity experts. They can assess your network environment and recommend firewall solutions that meet your business’s unique needs. Expert advice can save time and ensure that you invest in a solution that effectively protects your business.

 

Why You Can Count on Global CTI for Managed Firewall Services

Managing a firewall presents a significant challenge for small businesses with limited IT capabilities. Keeping up with new cyber threats, setting up complex firewall rules, and maintaining ongoing network monitoring demands expertise and constant attention.

By choosing Global CTI’s managed firewall services, you get the benefit of top-notch security without the need to manage it in-house. We’ll handle continuous monitoring, timely updates, and management of your firewall.

Contact us today to find out how we can help.

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