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Don’t take a Knife to a Gunfight! – Get Advanced Network Firewall Security for Your Fort Worth TX Business

This is Fort Worth, Texas. We know how to protect ourselves from those who would try to invade our homes and our businesses.

So, here’s the question…

Why are we so reluctant to put down our Bowie knife and pick up something with more firepower when it comes to our IT systems?

The truth is that the consumer-grade firewall bought from the big box technology store down the street just doesn’t pack enough punch to protect your business from international cyber-crime syndicates and even local hackers.

It’s time to get serious about cybercrime and arm your business with the hardware it takes to win that fight.

According to a report from Kaspersky Lab, in 2017, the average cost of a data breach for large companies in North America was $1.3 million. For small and mid-size businesses, the figure was $117.000.

Research conducted by the National Cyber Security Alliance found that 60% of Small and mid-size companies that suffered a cyber-attack, were out of business six months later. It is also estimated that at least 50% of small and mid-size business had been the target of such attacks.

With this insight, it is paramount that Fort Worth area companies take IT security seriously, as the consequences of not doing so, could result in high costs and the possibility of losing the business altogether.

Security is a complex topic, new threats and vulnerabilities are discovered every day. Internal IT staff, especially in small and mid-size businesses, usually don’t have the expertise and tools required to properly plan, implement, and monitor the security systems that can properly prevent or reduce the chance of being injured by a cyber-attack.

By partnering with an experienced IT services provider that has proven track record companies can leverage their firewall purchase along with good management to keep the bad guys out of their systems.

There are no silver bullets when it comes to protection against security threats. However, an undisputable component of a good security strategy is a firewall. Firewalls can be implemented as a software component or as a hardware device. Software firewalls are usually aimed at small implementations or even individual devices -- like the Windows Firewall you have on your personal computer if you use a Windows-based operating system. On the other hand, hardware firewalls, given their scalability and reliability can effectively protect hundreds and even thousands of devices.

There Are Different Types Of Firewalls.
Proxy Firewalls: A proxy firewall is a network security system that acts as an intermediary between internal clients and servers on the internet. As there is not a direct connection between the internal clients and the outside world, the proxy firewall acts as an effective barrier to prevent outsiders to gain control or location information of internal clients. The main drawback of proxy firewalls is that they can become a bottleneck and a single point of failure since they need to establish a new connection for every incoming and outgoing packet.

Stateful Inspection Firewalls: This type of firewall can block traffic based on state, port, and protocol.  Stateful inspection firewalls maintain a state table, which allows them to keep track of all open connections in the firewall. When traffic arrives, instead of opening a new connection (like in Proxy Firewalls), the stateful firewall compares the traffic with the state table, to determine if the traffic is part of an existing connection.

Unified Threat Management (UTM) Firewalls: A UTM device usually has the functions of a stateful inspection firewall and has additional security features like antivirus, anti-spyware, anti-spam, content filtering, leak prevention, and intrusion prevention.  This type of firewall has gained popularity for its ability to deal with a new kind of threat that combines the use of different types of attacks and malware to target different parts of the network at the same time, these threats are known as blended threats, and are usually harder to detect than single threats.

Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW):  These are the state of the art firewalls. They are integrated security platforms that include traditional filtering and security capabilities found on UTM firewalls, with advanced features like Deep Packet Inspection (DPI),  Intrusion Prevention System (IPS), and Quality of Service (QoS).

According to Gartner, a next-generation firewall must include the following features: standard firewall capabilities like stateful inspection, integrated intrusion prevention, application awareness and control to see and block risky apps, upgrade paths to include future information feeds, and Techniques to address evolving security threats.

Let’s take a look at some of those advanced features:
  • Deep Packet Inspection (DPI): Deep Packet Inspection is an advanced way of packet filtering that can look at the content of the data being sent over the network and re-routes it based on what it observes on the content. Unlike traditional packet filtering, which can only handle a small portion of the data (the header), Deep Packet Inspection can perform a deeper scan of network traffic in real time and be useful in the detection and interception of viruses and other forms of malicious traffic.
  • Intrusion Prevention System (IPS): An Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) provides protection against unauthorized access and malicious activities at the network level. IPS can detect and block suspicious network traffic, providing an effective mechanism to avoid hackers from gaining illegal access to data inside the organization.
  • Quality of Service (QoS): The Quality of Service (QoS) is an advanced firewall component that applies bandwidth limits and prioritization to traffic. For those businesses attempting to manage their streaming media, and voice traffic – which require a lot of bandwidth and are sensitive to latency – QoS is very useful.
What Firewall is right for Your Fort Worth Business?
As we have said, there is a big difference between home version, consumer-grade firewalls and the kind of business-class firewalls that will help keep a business like yours safe from attack.

When it comes to choosing a firewall, there are plenty of options in the market. Keep in mind that configuring and effectively managing a business-class firewall is not an easy task, and that simple configuration errors can make your network vulnerable or cause major availability issues. For that reason, in choosing and operating a firewall, look for the support and advice of an experienced IT Service Provider.

An experienced IT service provider can help you choose the right firewall for your organization based on your current and future needs.

As with every IT component, firewalls have to be maintained on a regular basis, an IT Service Provider can assist you on running periodical health checks and updates on the firewall along with firewall monitoring to ensure optimal performance.

Those firewall updates are essential to your company’s security. Firmware updates require a reboot of the firewall, which means, firewall protection will be unavailable for some time during the update process. A firmware update gone wrong can turn your firewall into a useless piece of hardware. For those reasons it is important to hand this kind of updates to an experienced IT support company here in Fort Worth, Texas - like VersaTrust -  that can roll out an effective upgrade plan, as well as a contingency plan in case something goes wrong.

Whatever you do, don’t trust your company’s future, your employee’s online safety, and your client’s confidential information to a simple, consumer-grade firewall. That could be disastrous for your business. Leave that dull knife behind and pick up a business-class firewall with some firepower!

Want to learn more about network security for your Fort Worth TX business? We have many helpful articles for you to read HERE.
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