Improved IT Security for Corporate and Consumer Data
Corporate network security requires planning, investment, and diligence. Think of the steps you take personally to keep your information secure; you protect passwords, set up authentication requirements, and backup your information whenever possible. Put simply, you place a high premium on your information security.
Your business should be no different.
As tempting as it might be to rely exclusively on cloud IT solutions and minimize your infrastructure, the fact of the matter is that the hazards and threats facing business are much greater than those facing an individual. With the ubiquity of e-commerce and other forms of online business, traditional threats to business have adapted accordingly. A corporate firewall is an essential part of your organization’s IT security solutions.
Let’s take a closer look at how corporate firewalls work, how they’re used, and how they can keep your business secure.
Why Do You Need a Firewall?
The obvious answer to this question is to protect your data and IT systems. If any aspect of your business is conducted or requires a corporate network to operate, it’s vulnerable to outside threats.
In a less abstract sense, if your business focuses primarily on e-commerce and/or uses a credit card payment system, you may be required to comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).
There is a common belief that cloud IT solutions provide all the security features your organization needs. While it’s true that many cloud solutions do offer robust security for data, there’s still a risk of an outage or a security breach with your cloud provider.
The bottom line: your business needs to protect its IT systems, infrastructure, and corporate data with reliable security, including a firewall. It’s another layer of protection that helps keep your business secure from threats.
Relying on another organization’s security without direct control puts a liability risk on your company, as you have no visibility to or control over the calibre of protection that is being provided. No service provider will provide a security claim to protect your data – Each organization is as responsible for its data as an individual is responsible for protecting his or her own wallet.
What is a Corporate Network Firewall?
The term “firewall” has a very literal background; firewalls were, once upon a time, physical barriers designed to stop a fire from spreading between buildings or sections of a building. Firewalls on a computer function on the same principle: their primary task is to prevent unauthorized connections, including viruses, malware and hackers from accessing and entering your network.
There are two basic categories of firewall, edge and endpoint:
Edge firewalls protect all the computers and infrastructure on a private or corporate network. As the name suggests, they’re physical equipment installed on the edge of the corporate network immediately in front of the Internet service provider modem or router.
Endpoint firewalls are installed on each individual computer or on a server in your corporate network to protect the specific device.
Typically, corporate firewalls are edge firewall hardware devices augmented by software to provide comprehensive security for an organization.
Not All Firewalls are Created Equal: Corporate vs. Personal Firewalls
This is perhaps one of the biggest stumbling blocks in understanding corporate firewalls; quite simply, they’re a cut above personal firewalls built into your computer or device.
A corporate firewall will offer much greater flexibility and protection than a firewall built into a personal computer. These solutions typically boast a wider range of features, including:
- Attack alerts to notify you of in-progress issues
- Remote access for IT staff
- Alternative/masquerade ports to protect critical services
- Support multiple Internet and network connections
- Data loss detection
- Protection even for encrypted network traffic
- High-performance processors providing the ability to protect high-performance networks
Protection Against Threats, Plus Added Network Features
Despite the wealth of opportunities afforded by the Internet, it’s also home to numerous potential threats and is the avenue through which hackers and other attackers will try and access your systems.
Firewalls provide an added layer of security and can help protect against a wide range of common issues while offering your business greater control over its network security.
Cyber Crime and Coordinated Attacks
Ransomware, hacking, and coordinated distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks have become increasingly common, even for small business.
Cybercriminals and hackers aren’t terribly choosy in terms of who or what they target, sending out armies of automated “bots” to corrupt networks for businesses of all sizes. In fact, data has shown that the number of cyber attacks targeting small businesses has risen dramatically; Symantec’s 2019 Internet Security Report also shows that enterprise ransomware activity has risen.
Unfortunately, while cloud solutions have presented tremendous opportunities for businesses, they’re also yet another avenue for attack.
Human Error: Viruses and Malware
Even with the number of malicious attackers on the public internet, one of the biggest threats to corporate network security is, unfortunately, human error.
Users clicking on links they shouldn’t be, phishing scams, and malicious emails can be a serious challenge for organizations. A corporate firewall gives you greater control over what users can and cannot do, what they can and cannot access, and offer greater protection from these and other common issues.
Network Monitoring and Control
A corporate firewall provides a closer look at your internet usage as an organization. This is critical for understanding how your organization uses the internet but can also help control and limit employee internet usage. It is often important to segment data based on seniority and department. On a much more basic level, it is often necessary to block certain sites or connections.
Keeping Corporate Data Secure
While cloud service providers can keep your data safe and available, barring disaster or unforeseen consequences, those obligations and commitments do not extend to your computers and IT infrastructure.
A multi-layered approach to security is necessary to protect your data and corporate IT solutions.
From hardware, software and data backups to endpoint protection, employee training, and cloud services, securing corporate data takes time, effort, and investment—but it is an essential commitment that will minimize the risk of lost client and corporate data that is as necessary as a lock on the front door of your house.