The threat of a cybersecurity breach weighs on every business owner.
Small businesses, in particular, will pay approximately $120,000 to recover from a data breach.
Nearly 60% of these businesses will close as a result of the attack.
It’s no wonder IT consultants emphasize the importance of implementing cybersecurity solutions into your IT environment.
But for business owners who aren’t IT experts, all of the options can be overwhelming.
As an IT consulting company, one of the first security measures at The KR Group discusses with small business owners is a firewall.
This means we’ve looked at firewalls from multiple perspectives.
- From the managed IT services side, we keep our clients a bit safer by requiring them to implement a firewall at each site.
- From the security perspective, we’ve seen the disastrous effects of businesses incorrectly configuring a firewall or foregoing one altogether.
- And from the data center perspective, we’ve worked with IT leaders to find the perfect firewall to provide the first layer of security for their businesses.
Needless to say, our strong recommendation is about more than making a sale. It’s about partnering with you to keep your IT environment secure.
But, we know you’re looking for a reason besides “because The KR Group said so” when it comes to valuing firewalls the same way we do. There are four primary reasons a firewall is an essential element of your IT environment:
- A firewall identifies threats as suspicious network traffic.
- A firewall is an imperative component of a strong security strategy.
- Your antivirus protection isn’t enough.
- A reliable, effective firewall hardens your environment.
After answering all of these questions, there shouldn’t be a doubt in your mind about the value of a firewall and how imperative it is to have one for your business.
A firewall identifies threats as suspicious network traffic
Your firewall will act as the first layer of defense for your IT environment.
Think of it as a gatekeeper for your network traffic. Any traffic that travels in or out of your network has to go past the firewall and be inspected to ensure suspicious and malicious traffic doesn’t infect your network.
By managing your network traffic, the firewall blocks unauthorized incoming network traffic, which has the potential to be malicious, from entering your environment.
A firewall is an imperative component of a strong security strategy
If you’ve had a chance to talk to anyone in the IT world, they should have emphasized the importance of including a firewall in your security stack.
In fact, they’re absolutely necessary to run a professional business.
Without having a way to monitor traffic – and prevent it if necessary – you don’t have a way to control if a threat decides to take up residence on your network.
Consider what you could lose in a data breach:
- What customer and employee records would the attacker have access to?
- Could they steal patented information or trade secrets?
- Do you have financial records and information they could gain access to?
The first step to preventing an attack on any of this information is to implement a firewall.
Your antivirus isn’t enough
Think of your cybersecurity needs like a home defense system for your IT environment.
Antivirus would be like the lock on your door, but if you don’t close the door – or install a firewall – the lock doesn’t really matter.
With home defense, closing and locking the door are the most basic steps to security. You may choose to implement additional security features, such as cameras, alarms, and sensors. Similarly, the world of IT security goes well beyond antivirus and firewalls, with solutions such as DNS filtration, multi-factor authentication, managed SOC services, IoT sensors, etc.
When a threat makes it past your initial defenses (a closed and locked door or a firewall and antivirus combination), these other measures provide additional layers of protection to catch a threat before it wreaks havoc on your network.
This creates what we call a comprehensive security strategy.
So, to answer the original question, no, your antivirus isn’t enough to protect your IT environment, and even pairing it with a firewall is taking only the most basic approach to cyber defense.
A reliable, effective firewall hardens your environment
The easiest way to find the right firewall for your environment is to work with an IT consultant that can learn about your specific IT environment and its needs.
If you’re doing your homework ahead of time and planning to research some possibilities, we encourage you to look for a firewall that hardens your environment.
The goal of hardening your environment with a firewall is to eliminate as many risks and threats to that network as possible. Good firewalls do this by providing frequent software updates to address any vulnerabilities, requiring strong and non-default passwords, securing remote access points, and more.
As stated above, a good firewall should always have software that inspects traffic for malicious actions and content.
Protecting your business with a firewall
If you’re not an IT expert, navigating what technology you need for your business can seem overwhelming, but one thing you need to know is you can’t skip or skimp when it comes to a firewall.
Without this important component of your IT environment, it’s not a matter of if you’ll experience a breach but when. One of our technology experts warns that without one, a business may not be around for long.
By acting as a gatekeeper, your firewall helps prevent malicious attacks that could threaten your business. While antivirus is important to your security, it needs to be complemented with a firewall and other security solutions.
Overall, if you find a firewall that helps harden your IT environment, you can spend less time worrying about an attack happening than if you don’t have one.
For more security solutions and tips, check out other articles on our Learning Center. Good ones to start with are: