In today’s business world, cybersecurity is a word we are hearing about more and more. Businesses face threats from hackers who breach their data networks, either to steal information about customers or the business itself.

So even small business owners know they have to protect their computer system and their data network. But that usually leads to another bout with computer terms they aren’t always aware of and comfortable discussing.

One such term is firewall, a computer term derived from the construction term for a wall that is designed to block a fire from spreading within a building.

In computer speak, a Firewall is a system designed to prevent unauthorized access to or from a private network. Firewalls can be implemented in both hardware and software, or a combination of both. In security systems, Firewalls are used to prevent unauthorized internet users from accessing private networks connected to the Internet, especially intranets. All messages entering or leaving the intranet pass through the firewall, which examines each message and blocks those that do not meet the specified security criteria.

Firewalls can be installed in both your system’s hardware or in separate software. The best use of firewall protection is a combination of both.

Of course, the big question you may be asking is whether your business really needs this much protection? Chances are your system came with some basic firewall protection and you may feel your business is just too small to be targeted by hackers.

That could, however, be a risky conclusion. Many hackers are using automated scanner systems and “botnets” looking for unsecure systems. If they find an open port into a business website, they usually don’t care about the size of the business, just that they found a way in.

A strong firewall system locks down open ports into your computer system. The only ports that should be open are ports for services that you need to run, such as a web or mail server on your network. If you use an internet provider service those ports should be closed and the firewall makes sure. A good system also can help you lock down IP addresses that have access to your system.

Unfortunately, hackers and identity thieves have a lot of options available for hacking into systems and simple firewall protection can’t solve every issue. But we can help you make a robust start in securing your system by designing a firewall system which will greatly enhance your system’s security and protect your data information.

Here’s a look at some common Firewall techniques from Webopedia:

Packet Filter

This technique looks at each packet entering or leaving the network and accepts or rejects it based on user-defined rules. Packet filtering is fairly effective and transparent to users, but it is difficult to configure. In addition, it is susceptible to IP spoofing.

Application Gateway

Applies security mechanisms to specific applications, such as FTP and telnet servers. This is very effective, but can impose a performance degradation.

Circuit-Level Gateway

Applies security mechanisms when a TCP or UDP connection is established. Once the connection has been made, packets can flow between the hosts without further checking.

Proxy Server

Intercepts all messages entering and leaving the network. The proxy server effectively hides the true network addresses.

In practice, many firewalls use two or more of these techniques in concert. A firewall is considered a first line of defense in protecting private information. For greater security, data can be encrypted.

Give us a call at 856-825-6000 to learn how we can help your small business.