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What is a Firewall and why do I need one as a business?

Firewalls create a 'buffer zone' between your own secured and controlled internal networks and external networks (such as the Internet). A firewall can be hardware, software, software-as-a service (SaaS), public cloud or private cloud (virtual).

A firewall’s main purpose is to allow non-threatening traffic in and to keep dangerous traffic out.

What does a Firewall Do?

Firewalls essentially act as gatekeepers or traffic controllers if you like. A firewall will monitor attempts to gain access to your operating system (whether that be a computer or mobile device and will block unwanted traffic or unrecognised sources.

The devices we use in both personal and our business lives will use firewalls, many devices including Mac, Windows, and Linux computers, come with a built-in firewall.

So, how does a Firewall block these things?

Firewalls work by blocking traffic and access (specific data packets) that is based on a set of rules. The firewall will only allow incoming connections and access requests that it has been configured to accept.

Why do we need Firewalls?

If you use the internet, then it’s a very good idea to have a Firewall in place as they provide the first line of defence. It’s important to implement and use all available defences to help you to protect your network and the information you possess and manage.

What are the three main risks of not having a Firewall?

  • Open access – If you don’t have a firewall, you are essentially allowing every piece of traffic into your network. As a business or individual, you wouldn’t let a random person into your home without checking who they were before permitting entry. By not having a firewall, you will leave your devices vulnerable to attacks.

  • Lost or compromised data – If you don’t have a firewall, you are running the risks of leaving your devices exposed which may lead to someone gaining control of your computer or network. This could lead to your data being deleted or used to commit identify theft or financial fraud.

  • Network crashes – If you don’t have a firewall, you run the risk of criminals being able to shut down your network. If this did happen, attempting to restore your network will involve a lot of time and money.

How can The South East Cyber Resilience Centre help SME's to tackle the threat posed by cybercrime?

We provide many free resources designed to improve your #online security, from checklists to Incident Response templates, there's something for everyone. Get yours today and receive our FREE welcome pack here


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