Does My Small Business Need a Hardware Firewall in 2019?

Windows 10 upgrade image from Laptop Mag

Cybercrime can arrive from any direction and at any time, which may be why some experts consider it to be the biggest danger to businesses in the entire world. Because of this, when it comes to doing business online, the best strategy calls for the most protective and secure hardware and software solutions for today’s small business owners and operators.

​CYBERCRIME BY THE NUMBERS

Many people think that only large corporations or major banks need protection from cyberattacks and fraud. The statistics, however, reveal a much scarier truth: hackers can and do attack everyone, regardless of size or industry.

In other words, if you connect to the internet and you own a business, you need a firewall.

An article released earlier in 2019 reports that more than half of all cyberattack victims are small businesses — a full 58%, to be exact. What’s more, Cybersecurity Ventures projects that cyberattacks will cost the global business community $6 trillion dollars over the course of the next two years.

Further, small businesses can get targeted even more frequently than major corporations because hackers assume they don’t have the right infrastructure in place, which unfortunately is all too often the case. And when small business owners get hit, they can also get caught in the crosshairs of a lawsuit if it’s shown that they acted negligently with customers’ and clients’ personal data.

Needless to say, there is real and present danger for small businesses doing business online, both for themselves and their customers. Due to this unfortunate state of affairs, it’s more necessary than ever for small business owners to incorporate hardware firewalls into their digital platforms in 2019.

WHAT DOES A FIREWALL DO?

Knowing why you need protection is as simple as looking at the numbers. That said, getting to an understanding of how that protection actually works strikes some outside the tech community as more of a challenge.

But don’t worry, because we’re going to explain the exact nature of a hardware firewall and how it works, as well as describing what it can do to help protect you and your small business for years to come.

Here it is in plain English: firewalls are like the police at a DUI checkpoint. Their job is to inspect all of the traffic coming into or going out of an area to make sure that it won’t cause any issues.

That is exactly what a firewall does. It check out everything that goes in or out of your network to be sure that it’s safe and not malicious.

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​WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE FIREWALLS?

For people with more of a techie background: hardware firewalls are basically just a router (or other device) using network address translation (NAT) running specific protection software. Large and small businesses use hardware firewalls to stop cyberattacks from accessing their computers and sensitive data.

Yes, there are such things as software firewalls, which only get installed on specific computers, one at a time. While these certainly do help, they work in a less robust way than hardware firewalls and require installation on each device individually to operate.

Additionally, hardware firewalls are completely dedicated to the task of protecting your data, as opposed to Windows 10 (or any other operating system) that’s also trying to run your word processor, internet browser, email, and a thousand other tasks at the same time.

Due to this, the best type of firewall comes by way of hardware, providing the best solution for any small business looking to protect their network traffic. They do this by incorporating “antivirus software, antispyware, intrusion prevention, device control, application control, and network access control”.

MULTIPLE LAYERS OF PROTECTION

Modern firewalls are referred to as Unified Threat Management or UTM devices because they do so much more than just allow traffic in and out of your network.

Network security and firewalls are a lot like onions… The more layers the better!

So, let’s take a look at each layer in turn to understand how they help to defend your small business and allow for managed services support in 2019.

Antivirus & Antispyware —

You may already be familiar with these. Hardware firewalls use anti-virus software to detect and defend against malicious viruses from the internet.

Like viruses, spyware also come from the internet, except these attempt to “spy” on your network to find out any information they can about your company, especially financial data and records. Firewalls keep this sort of attack at bay.

Intrusion Prevention —

This one can be a little complicated, so we’ll spend a bit more time on it. Here is how one team of security experts defines intrusion prevention: “The IPS performs real-time packet inspection, deeply inspecting every packet that travels across the network. If any malicious or suspicious packets are detected, the IPS will carry out one of the following actions:

Terminate the TCP session that has been exploited and block the offending source IP address or user account from accessing any application, target hosts or other network resources unethically.
Reprogram or reconfigure the firewall to prevent a similar attack occurring in the future.
Remove or replace any malicious content that remains on the network following an attack. This is done by repackaging payloads, removing header information and removing any infected attachments from file or email servers.”

As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into intrusion prevention. Of course, if you have any questions about this (or any other feature), we’re here to help.

Device Control —

No matter whether your company uses desktops, tablets, or even mobile devices, a firewall can protect any ingoing or outgoing traffic. Since most everything runs in the cloud nowadays, your files and those of your employees and customers get protected wherever they go.

Application Control —

What goes for devices is also true of specific applications that your small business uses. When it comes to internal applications (those used only by you and your team), they should receive stricter standards than public-facing websites, which a hardware firewall easily distributes.

Why is this the case? Well, as well as you vet your employees, there’s always a chance that one bad egg decides to try to steal company information or client data.

This can occur at big companies and small businesses alike. And it does happen…a lot.

Network Access Control —

In order to use your devices remotely with full protection, you may need to implement a VPN, or Virtual Private Network. With hardware firewalls, you have the option to include this as well.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT FIREWALLS

If I already have antivirus software installed on my computer, do I also need a hardware firewall?

In a word: yes. You want to have multiple layers of security (like an onion) because an attacker must then get everything exactly right in order to get into your network. If you have multiple layers of security, only one of your devices has to get it right.

How much does a cyberattack typically cost a company?

Are you sitting down? The cost of a cyberattack on any particular company will vary with the damage, but it usually runs between $84,000 and $148,000 per attack.

The cost of running a hardware firewall in 2019 is far less than even one attack. Without it, you could end up paying for multiple cyberattacks every year, which is more than most small businesses can likely afford.

What exactly does a firewall protect?

A lot of people think that firewalls only defend their “data” from attacks. In fact, firewalls protect entire computer networks from cybercrime threats, which is a much better scenario.

Does it matter what operating system I use?

No. Hardware firewall protection works for any operating system, whether it’s on Windows 10, Mac, or something else entirely.

Does my small business need a firewall? Like, really need one? In 2019?

In case we haven’t fully answered this question yet: yes, absolutely, 100%. The number of cyberattacks grows each and every year, and it could literally cost your company hundreds of thousands of dollars and potentially even put you out of business.

With a hardware firewall in place, you can defend against such attacks and threats easily. Ultimately, they give you and your team the peace of mind that the network and all the data are protected around the clock, even when you’re not physically there.

If you’ve seen the hit movie Catch Me If You Can, you know Frank Abagnale (played by Leonardo DiCaprio). Recently, Frank (the real one) said, “I’m very concerned with cyber starting to turn very dark. Up until now it’s just a financial crime for the purpose of stealing money — or stealing data that is money — but we have the ability now to turn someone’s pacemaker off.”

That’s a terrifying thought. Thankfully, the best line of defense — hardware firewalls — have the ability to stop such attacks in their tracks before anything bad can happen to you or your customers.

HOW TO GET A PROFESSIONAL HARDWARE FIREWALL

With all of that information in mind, it’s important to lock up your internal files and sensitive data with the best protection in network firewall security. At Bristeeri Technologies in Elgin, South Carolina, we have the unique ability to provide a setup and maintenance service for your hardware firewall needs.

Our dedicated IT department uses the latest technology to help ensure that your network stands the test of time. Get in touch with us today to get the protection your small business needs both now and into the future.