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What is the first line of defence while setting up a network? Although it’s not perfect, neglecting a firewall can have dire consequences. Discover the role of a firewall in your network and the risks you might face without one.

Accessing the internet without a firewall is like driving a car on a freeway without a seatbelt. It’s a highly irresponsible action when it comes to using a computer. A firewall serves as your network’s initial line of defence. While you might assume that practising good security habits is adequate, you’ll quickly discover that reality is much less forgiving.

The key point to understand is that the more individuals accessing your data over unsecured networks, the higher the risk of a security attack. 

Relying solely on good practices is insufficient. 

A study revealed that a lot of data breaches result from human errors. This is where a firewall plays a crucial role.

When establishing your cybersecurity systems, a firewall should be your top priority. 

It serves as your primary defence and is the initial obstacle a cybercriminal encounters when attempting to breach your security. 

A firewall aids in controlling access to sensitive information and monitoring your network for any suspicious activity.

You might be thinking, why is a firewall so crucial to the network in the first place? But before we answer that, let me first answer : 

What is a firewall? 

A firewall is a set of rules that allows and prevents traffic from coming and going. It is like a gatekeeper. Before allowing anyone to enter or exit, the gatekeeper conducts a full body scan. 

It dictates what can come in and go out of your network. 

How does a firewall work? 

A firewall examines traffic as it comes and goes and compares it to known rules.

Most of us are familiar with a software firewall that is installed on our computers. However, there are hardware firewalls as well. 

A software firewall protects specific devices a hardware firewall can protect the whole network. 

Now that we understand what a firewall does, the question is, why is it so crucial for your network? 

First, your firewall makes sure that your traffic is safe and secure. It generally provides malware and virus protection as the first line of defence. It will look for bad websites and traffic and prevent employees’ devices from accessing them. 

Second, your firewall provides you with a VPN for your employees to access the business network remotely. If you have a remote team, they can connect to your computer and network, accessing servers and applications as though they are in the office themselves. 

Lastly, with the firewall VPN, even if your employees use public wifi at the coffee shop or airport, their traffic is encrypted. 

This allows them to safely access business data with security without being visible to the outside world. 

A more advanced firewall will also allow you as an administrator to configure and manage using categories and rules to look for unintentional or intentional ways to increase the productivity of resources. It can limit watching of sites that have video streaming, video gaming or inappropriate websites. 

On top of your hardware firewall, it’s essential to have a software firewall and anti-virus as well. 

The firewall will monitor the network traffic, while an anti-virus will monitor the actual activity of computer processes and prevent any malware from making holes. 

What are the three primary dangers associated with the absence of a firewall?

Unlimited Public Access.

Operating without a firewall is akin to leaving your front door wide open, essentially inviting cybercriminals to infiltrate your network, which they will. A company lacking a firewall is highly vulnerable, as it allows unrestricted access to its network with no means of detecting potential threats or suspicious traffic.

Network Downtime

Without a firewall, you risk network shutdown, leading to significant harm to your business. Data loss and extended system downtime can be financially crippling. Beyond finances, there’s the impact on productivity, employee morale, and customer trust, which can result in irreversible damage.

Unrestricted Data Access. 

If unauthorized individuals can easily enter your IT network, they gain unrestricted access to all your data. Don’t underestimate the value of your data, even if you run a small business. 

Without a firewall, you essentially hand over control of your information to attackers. They can opt to steal, leak, ransom, or even erase your data. Failing to secure your network with a firewall isn’t just a costly mistake; it could jeopardize your entire business.

Are you concerned about network security? Protect it with a firewall to avoid risks.

A firewall is a fundamental element of cybersecurity. Although it’s not invincible, when used alongside other security measures, it becomes a powerful defence for your network. Security experts have been relying on firewalls for over 25 years because of their effectiveness.

At DecodingIT, we’ve assisted numerous businesses in fortifying their networks, and we consistently advise the use of a firewall.

Interested in implementing a firewall for your business? Learn how to select the ideal firewall for your specific needs.

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