Unlike antivirus, firewalls have developed to become increasingly relevant in a modern market. As a new perspective on old avenues in Cyber Security, firewalls can neutralise threats targeting a company and operate with multi-factor authentication across network layers. This helps reduce the risks associated with identity theft or the misuse of company logins and security information, and is especially relevant in a cloud and IoT saturated market. As business has become more mobile and network oriented, it is integral that this layer of protection exists; without it, threats could easily pass into a business, as we saw during the WannaCry attacks. Other threats include:
If a business network or device encounters unsecured or corrupted traffic, a firewall can act to block the spread of an attack, allowing companies to get ahead of a security breach and contain it before any damage is done.
Firewalls monitor and control the incoming and outgoing traffic associated with a business’s network. Without a firewall, company perimeters are left undefended, allowing threat infiltration into and across corporate systems before even being detected. By creating a barrier between networks and devices, firewalls enable prevention and management strategies that improve the security of a business. If multiple devices are connected to a network, the firewall will not only protect each connection but will also act as a defence for the network itself. If one computer is compromised, the system and other devices therein can remain contained thanks to the active application of firewalls. This kind of protection is especially useful for businesses engaging with IoT and cloud strategies, as it can act as barrier that reduces corporate risk in the event of a catastrophe such as the WannaCry event of 2017.
However, there are several different firewall types, and businesses should consider which are relevant for their needs. Companies should utilise a combination of firewalls to counter network and web-based attacks effectively. These include:
- Packet Filtering Firewalls
- Stateful Firewalls
- Deep Packet Inspection Firewalls
- Application-Aware Firewalls
- Application Proxy Firewalls
Companies should consider the uses of each firewall type, as well as the application of each across their systems, to build their most effective line of defence.
First line, not last line of defence
Risk reduction requires multiple avenues of cyber security. Businesses should look at using Firewall security with established network administrators and policies that align with their security strategy. They must also utilise firewall as the first, not last line of defence. Firewalls cannot prevent all cyber threats, and with the evolution of cyber warfare and security risks, risk prevention must occur on multiple fronts to be successful. Companies should also be considering their compliance, threat monitoring, data breach reporting, SOC and SIEM Responses, and governance. Firewalls will help secure networks and devices, but it is integral that businesses do not use it as a sole form of protection.