Firewalls are often mistaken to be only necessary for large corporations or financial institutions who are handling sensitive data. In reality, a firewall is an essential component for every business. No matter MNCs or SMEs, as long as the business has a network and IT equipment that wants to be protected against cyber criminals, a Firewall is absolutely necessary. If you were the hacker, would you pick a company that has strong cyber defenses in place, or a smaller company without proper defenses to your attacks?
According to an annual report released by the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) in July of 2021, there were 16,117 cases of cybercrimes in 2020, up from 9,349 cases recorded in 2019.
A firewall is a network security system which consists of hardware and software that protects your network from unauthorized access from malicious sources. It prevents attempts of hacking by inspecting all the data accessing in and out of your network, ensuring that the traffic is legitimate. Acting like the ‘traffic police’, it protects your systems against malicious users or programs, eliminating external cyber threats to ensure the safety of your systems and your users.
However, some users are often confused with firewalls and anti-virus software. An antivirus software scans and eliminates viruses from your computer or devices, while a firewall blocks out malicious sources from entering in or out of your network. Both antivirus software and firewalls can work hand-in-hand and are crucial components in cyber defenses against threats. Having a firewall alone is also not sufficient to reduce security risks.
In addition to mitigating external cyber threats, a firewall also performs an important role of logging and auditing functions. It keeps records of events, which can be used by administrators to identify patterns and loopholes or used for investigation when there is any suspicious traffic within your network. The software of a firewall must be kept up-to-date to keep up with the ever-evolving cybersecurity threats. Keeping the software up-to-date also ensures that the firewall is updated when there are any new features or bug fixes.
Here are the top 5 reasons why a Firewall is necessary for your business:
1. Your first line of defense against cyber threats
Without a firewall, your business would be vulnerable to losing data to hackers, ransomware and other cyber threats. It ensures greater control of traffic accessing in and out of your network/systems. A firewall acts as a shield, between your internal network/systems and the rest of the cyber world through the internet.
2. Restrict access to unnecessary websites
There could be certain websites that you do not want your users or employees to access, for various possible reasons (eg. social media websites). These may include the loss of productivity along with certain threat protection. In addition to keeping the cyber threats at bay, a firewall also lets you restrict users from accessing unnecessary websites within the office network, eliminating human errors that may lead to cyber attacks.
3. Protect your business from malicious codes
A firewall looks into the traffic coming in and out of your network/systems, and keeps check on any malicious code or viruses that may sneak in and corrupt your digital assets. A Firewall also lets you maintain a list of known malicious applications apart from the safe applications. It helps to block the malicious applications, while enabling the ones that are safe to access.
4. Limit the bandwidth
You may need to control your bandwidth for various reasons such as limiting users to download media such as images and videos. You may use this feature to limit the bandwidth of some equipment and prioritize a higher bandwidth for more important equipment within your network.
5. You can use a Firewall to provide VPN services
Through the Virtual-Private-Network (VPN), you can configure to enable your authorized employees to access your company’s network/system in a secured manner even when they are working from home or outside of the office. This enables employees to work securely, and access their files on your systems as though they were sitting right in the office.
In summary, it doesn’t matter what size your organization is, or which industry you are in. As long as your business is connected to the internet, and has an internal network of workstations that is used by your employees, there is no reason why you shouldn’t protect your network and system. In all cases that we have seen, the business loss is much greater than the cost of IT security investments.
Cyber security is not to be taken lightly and it is recommended that all businesses have cyber defenses to fight against the ever-evolving threats in the world of technology. It is better to be safe than sorry. Any cyber attacks can be destructive to any businesses. Don’t wait till it is too late and suffer a business loss to take action.