Many people have heard the word “firewall,” and may have an idea about what a firewall is, but most do not know the real benefits and importance that comes with them. A firewall is a network security system that monitors and controls inbound and outbound network traffic, meaning that a firewall is the first line of defense in protecting your network and therefore, your company. Firewalls are important for businesses because they keep attackers and external threats from accessing the internal system. This means that internal data and critical information will not get into the hands of an outsider.
Deciding on which firewall to choose can be overwhelming. Because of this, companies tend to put off implementing a firewall. Here are a few tips to simplify the decision making process.
- Always consider company size: Determining the number of network users is a critical element in selecting an appropriate firewall. Parameters such as firewall throughput, VPN throughput and concurrent connections can all be limiting factors that can throttle your connectivity and reduce productivity if overlooked.
- Identify the number of remote users: Because many companies have multiple location and almost every company allows remote access for some users, identifying how these connections are established and the level of connectivity required can be a crucial factor in the firewall selection process. If there is more than one location, it is important to consider whether or not each location needs its own firewall or if all locations will VPN into a central location. If all remote users and/or satellite locations will VPN into a central location, be sure to verify that the central location’s internet speeds can support this influx of traffic.
- Price vs functionality: Finding a balance between price and features can be one of the more difficult aspect of almost any tech purchase. Many times the features that you care most about are bundled with less relevant functionality and offered at a higher price point. This pricing model leaves the buyer with the choice of buying something that may be out of budget or buying something that may not meet their needs. Luckily, there are vendors that offer solutions with baseline functionality that can be configured with modules to meet your specific needs.
- Ease of Use: The fourth and final factor to consider is whether your IT professional is inhouse or outsourced. If they are inhouse, the setup process should go fairly smoothly. If they are outsourced, you will want to make sure to communicate with them and be sure that they can assist during the process and will able to sufficiently maintain the firewall in future.
Choosing a firewall is an important first step in protecting your company data from outside threats, and there is a lot that goes into evaluating different vendors and flavors of firewall protection. Because selecting a firewall can be a very confusing and daunting task, we have decided to break up our firewall blog into a 3 part series. Our next installment will be reviewing next-gen firewall features and what they mean for the security of your company, so be sure to stay tuned.