If your name's not down, you're not coming in

Chris Jones
By Chris Jones
An essential first step in any company’s online security, firewalls are essentially network security systems that monitor and control the incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security rules.
If your name's not down, you're not coming in

We like to think of a firewall as the bouncer guarding the door between your business data and the rest of the internet. Anyone who wants to gain access to your business must first ask for permission from, and be approved by, your firewall. And, as anyone who’s ever tried their luck getting past a bouncer with a list will know, if their name’s not on that list, they don’t get in.

Of course, as many of us will also know, even the best bouncers can’t always keep every troublemaker outside. Which is where your security software comes into play. Firewalls alone are not enough. To be effective, your firewall must be paired with the right security software. By investing in high quality software that is configured to work in tandem with your firewall, you can be sure that if access is wrongly granted, your software can take action to identify and fix any issues caused.

Unfortunately, as we keep seeing in the media, not even the biggest businesses can keep the cyber criminals out. Tesco Bank is the most recent high profile example, discovering early in November that online criminals had gained access to around 40,000 bank accounts and later discovering the hackers had withdrawn money from at least half of those accounts. Further proof that, when it comes to protecting your business from the threat of cyber-crime, you can’t afford not to give online security your full attention.

The good news is that – provided you configure the system correctly, keep on top of updates and implement strict policies (more on that in the coming weeks) - the right firewall and security software will go a long way to protecting your business.

For smaller organisations, a single firewall can be enough to keep unwanted web traffic and cyber criminals out. For larger companies, a two-stage firewall creates what is known as a demilitarised zone (DMZ), which essentially splits your network into two by allowing some devices inside the firewall and keeping others outside. Those outside the zone – e.g. guests and visitors - will still have some network access, but it will be limited to protect key information.

It’s also possible, once they’re set up, to readily replicate firewall settings from a main office or company headquarters across regional offices, making it easy for company-wide security to be implemented consistently across a business. 

Products and solutions such as these are continually evolving to keep businesses one step ahead of the hackers, and we make it our business to know about them so that we can advise our customers on the most effective solutions for them.

If you’re concerned about network security, or you’re not sure how well your current security system is performing, why not take advantage of our half price network security check. Available to 40 businesses for just £250, all of the money raised will be donated directly to St. Gemma’s Hospice and Pancreatic Cancer UK.

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