Business firewalls — what they are and why they’re important

The word “Firewall” was once commonly understood to refer to a wall that helped literally helped prevent the spread of fire. Now, it’s most often used to describe a security measure for computer networks.

Still, the basic premise is the same – it’s just changed for the purpose of cybersecurity.

What is a firewall?

In building construction, a firewall keeps a fire from spreading to different parts of a building. Computer network firewalls keep security threats from getting onto or spreading through your network.

And that’s not all. There are both hardware and software firewalls.

Hardware firewalls are physical devices that provide protection between your network and the outside world. Software firewalls live on your individual computers and servers and use programs to block malicious software.

If you have remote staff, you can use a VPN to make sure any data goes through your firewall.

Line divider

Related: 6 IT security policies your business needs.

Line divider

Do you really need a firewall?

A firewall is a key component of your network security. Even if you have other measures in place, there are still reasons why you need a firewall.

Your staff can cause you harm

Believe it or not, your own staff are your biggest security threat.

Without proper training, your staff will attempt to bypass your security measures.

This may be because they simply forget the importance of them. It might be because they’ve decided that they’re too hard, and they slow things down.

It might even be that they’re actually trying to breach your network with some malicious intent.

In other words, there are many ways/reasons for them to break through your security. However, a firewall can automatically block these kinds of carelessness and mistakes to keep your network safe even when your employees don’t do everything you trained them to.

Because passwords are only a small roadblock

Part of your cybersecurity policy should include a robust password policy. This might include requiring special characters to make passwords harder to crack or requiring routine password changes.

However, a password only works when it has to be entered.

Think of it like a literal roadblock. If someone drives up to a checkpoint, they can be turned away if they don’t have the password.

Line divider

A refresher: Check out the basics of IT security.

Line divider

But what happens if the roadblock is surrounded by acres of unguarded open fields?

People who want to get in can simply get around the roadblock.

Your firewall is the fence, guards, and other measures to ensure that no one can just go around your roadblock. And if they do, it also acts as the locked building doors and locked interior rooms to make sure they can’t go any farther.

You might have to do it for compliance purposes

If you’re in healthcare, law, finance, and many other fields  where you have access to sensitive client information, you may have a professional responsibility to protect it.

Failing to do so could mean hefty fines, a lawsuit, and possibly even losing your professional license.

Your profession will likely have security compliance regulations that may specifically require a firewall. Even if they don’t, firewalls help to protect against data breaches, ransomware, and other attacks.

Avoid costly compliance violations and potential data breaches by preparing beforehand and securing your network.

TFE can help you with firewall security

If you’d like to learn more about firewalls, it might be time to talk to an expert. At TFE, we’re seasoned pros at all things cybersecurity. Reach out to us – we’d love to help out with your security efforts.

Still looking for security advice? Check out how you can bolster your physical security.