Firewall is must needed feature for small businesses cause small businesses are a common target of cybercrime. In the world of IT, there’s no safety in being small when it comes to online threats.
In truth, small businesses are a common target of cybercrime with a single attack typically costing between $84,000 and $148,000. If you want to keep your customers’ data protected and avoid damage to your revenues and reputation, then you need to pay attention to IT security. A strong firewall is a good place to start.
Here’s why firewalls are essential to small business security.
A firewall operates at the network layer and recognizes all incoming requests based on their internet protocol (IP) address. IP addresses are all unique and are assigned by your internet service provider (ISP).
When first setting up access controls with a firewall, you must decide whether you want to start with open access or closed one. With open access, all external IP addresses are allowed to send traffic to your network except for ones that you explicitly block. Closed access is the opposite, with all traffic blocked except for IP addresses that you mark as allowed.
In the early days of the internet, companies hosted websites and applications on servers that were housed in their own physical office or location. Over time, the trend shifted to putting resources into shared data centers, which has evolved into the cloud computing movement of today.
But trusting IT resources in the cloud comes with a certain level of risk. You lose physical access to your data and become part of a shared network environment. As a result, maintaining a strict firewall policy is critical for cloud customers. Otherwise, you could risk leaving your data exposed and vulnerable to hacks.
If your small business website has a mailing list sign-up form, then each online submission is sent from the user’s browser to the site’s database. Your web server will need to communicate with the database in order to add new records or retrieve old ones, but that does not mean external users or systems should have direct access to that layer of information. Otherwise, you are at risk of suffering from a dangerous SQL injection attack, where a hacker will manipulate a website to expose back-end data.
You should configure your firewall so that only internal IP addresses from approved application servers can connect to the ports on the database server. All other connections should be blocked entirely.
Modern firewalls can do more than just filter network traffic based on IP addresses. One of their other primary advantages is the ability to detect and block malicious network requests. The success of this feature all depends on the firewall tool and provider that you choose.
No matter what, the most important thing to remember is to keep your firewall updated with the latest anti-virus definition files
Protecting Local Networks
Protecting back-end servers is pivotal to ensuring the security of your small business data, but if you leave your local ethernet and wireless networks exposed then you are creating just as much risk. Hackers are constantly looking for ways to infiltrate organizations through a single computer or device so that they can execute a wider attack from there.
Firewall restrictions should be applied at a global level, taking into account all users and hardware that need to connect to the local network at your place of business. Only the IT team should be allowed to make changes to this policy, and the list of blocked IP addresses should be reviewed on a regular basis.
Verifying Remote Connections
With Pandemic going on, chances are that most of your employees are going to be working from home. But if your firewall is completely restricted to internal connections and traffic, then any attempt at working from a remote location will be blocked. To work around this, consider investing in a virtual private network (VPN) solution.
A VPN tool functions like a secure tunnel, blocking all external threats and hackers from being able to decode the data being passed through your network. This means that you can safely work from anywhere in the world, even a public wi-fi network, and be confident that your data will be kept secure.
Monitoring and Alerting
With a professional firewall solution, you can turn on a monitoring and alerting system that will record all incoming network activity and identify patterns that occur. Why is this helpful? Because the longer the firewall is in place and the more data it records, then the better the system gets at detecting and blocking threats.
With a good firewall tool, you can be alerted when something needs your attention, such as a sudden spike of traffic from a specific range of IP addresses.