What is a network Firewall?
A Network Firewall, such as Sophos, FortiGate, or Cisco, is a hardware device used as the first level of protection for any traffic entering the local network. This is not to be confused with a computer’s Firewall; although it acts similarly, the network Firewall has a different function and purpose. Firewalls like the Sophos XG Firewalls have advanced network threat protection and management systems.
Firewalls such as these can provide the following functions:
– Threat protection from a Network/Internet Level.
– Advanced Antivirus and Malware protection.
– Internet management and delegation.
– Blocking unwanted browsing, such as Geo Location Blocking, Pornography or unsafe for work, social media, Malicious browsing, Streaming, or any other custom sites that may need to be blocked.
– QoS, setting up bandwidth limits per group, department, or individual level.
Why Install a Network Firewall?
In today’s Cyberworld, security is of critical importance. There are constant malicious attacks that are occurring worldwide. These attacks range from attempting to steal data to stealing money. These attacks are made in a variety of ways, through scam/phishing emails, gaining access to a company’s local network or gaining access to the local devices, such as computers and mobile devices, injecting malicious software or coding onto local machines, or installing traffic monitors on a router/network device managing a site’s network.
One of the best forms of protection against these malicious attempts is to prevent them from gaining access from the get-go. This is where a Firewall comes in. Sophos XG Firewalls have a built-in AI that actively monitors all traffic. All incoming and outgoing traffic is monitored and scanned to confirm that traffic is safe. Safe traffic can pass through, while malicious or compromised traffic will instantly be blocked. Should traffic be flagged as suspicious but has the potential to be safe, this traffic is then sent to a server that specializes in data inspection. The server will scan the data for any known negative trends, if none is found, a response is sent to the Firewall, and the traffic is allowed. Should the result be inconclusive, the data is sent to a specialized team who will continue to investigate until the data can be confirmed safe or unsafe.
Real-time scanning is crucial to ensure a safe and secure network environment. This allows threats to be blocked before they even have a chance to occur. Firewalls are also connected to Realtime Live update servers, ensuring they always have access to the latest security updates and Zero Day Threats. Ensuring security is always up to date with the latest findings. This is all automated, always leaving the network secure.
Even though security is a firewall’s number one priority, Firewalls offer so much more. They grant advanced management of devices on the local network at a higher level then conventional routers usually installed. These include bandwidth allocation to specific groups or individuals. Network monitoring and reporting. Blocking and Allowing access to particular resources or websites as is required by each individual or group—scheduled access to help as needed.
The Firewalls are also remotely managed, thus allowing for quick response to making required changes. This also enables the management team to monitor the networks ensuring quick response on outages, detected threats, or critical updates that may be required. The Firewalls also provide advanced services such as SSL VPN connections, Site to Site SSL VPNs, User Management and Reporting, scheduled reports and much more.
Who should look at installing a Firewall?
Cyber Security is something that everyone should be aware of and always attempt to enforce. Any Business, large or small, should be looking to install some form of Network Firewall to ensure the safety of their network and that no data is being leaked. Firewalls come in different sizes and can be tailored to your specific needs; whether large or small, there is a Firewall capable of providing the particular requirements of your company.
Home users can also install home Firewalls, securing home networks from Cyber-attacks. These devices are tailored for home usage and are more limited to business-level management; however, they provide the same level of security. The Sophos Home Firewalls run off the same Firewall and Update servers as the Business Firewalls, offering the highest protection at a much lower cost.
Network Firewalls provide security from a network level only. They should not be seen as a replacement for Endpoint Security, such as Anti-Virus Programs. They can prevent malicious activity over the network; however, they do not afford protection from devices such as USB Devices (externals, thumb drives, CDs, etc.). Endpoint Security is still required to ensure complete threat protection on all devices.