Small Business Owner Technology Guide: What Kind of a Firewall Should I Buy?

For a small business owner, a firewall is not a luxury but a necessity. As one of the basic tools of cybersecurity, firewalls protect your computer systems and networks from malware and hacking, thus providing security to your precious sensitive data, and saving your business from financial and reputation loss. But it’s not enough just to go for a firewall; you need to ensure that you’re going for the right one. After all, you don’t want your cybersecurity systems to backfire on you, which is precisely what a firewall can ironically do, if it’s not the latest, updated version.

Given the fast-paced evolution of computer technology, banking on traditional firewalls for protection from cyberthreats could actually be detrimental to your systems. That’s because with the evolution of computer technology, malware is also getting more developed, thus requiring more advanced firewalls to battle them.

An excellent option

There are, of course, many good firewalls you can look at opting for, but the Sonicwall has a clear edge when it comes to providing high level of protection(https://www.sonicwall.com/documents/how-traditional-firewalls-fail-todays-networks-ebook-24532.pdf). It’s designed to manage and counter the cybersecurity threats of today by detecting all kinds of malware activity, which some of the traditional firewalls are ill-equipped to do. This next-generation firewall not only detects more cyberattacks, but also better enforces use of social media and Web 2.0 apps. Improved performance of high-priority business applications, and providing excellent network performance without compromising on security are other advantages of this firewall.

How to choose a firewall

You may, of course, want to explore other options before settling on any one type or brand of firewall. That means you’ll need to understand what a firewall is and what are the various types of firewalls out there.

Taking off from the concept of a physical firewall (a wall designed to contain a fire within a building so that it doesn’t spread), a computer firewall came into existence inthe late 1980s, at the time of the advent of the Internet. A firewall is designed to keep your computer network secure by controlling all incoming and outgoing traffic. Incidentally, you can choose from a hardware or a software firewall, depending on your needs. In principle, and from an operational point of view, both act as a kind of bridge between the internal network of your business and an external network, usually sourced from the more vulnerable Internet.

Types of firewalls

From a functional point of view, you’ll come across a variety of firewalls to meet today’s cybersecurity needs.

The embedded firewall, also called the choke-point firewall, is embedded into a router or a switch, from where it controls access to your network. Then there’s the enterprise software-based firewall, which is excellent for use in systems requiring huge amounts of memory, and can easily be installed and removed.

Another one for large memory requirements is the enterprise hardware-based firewall, which involves installation of additional hardware.

For a small office or home requirement, there’s SOHO (small office, home office), which is also a software-based tool and is ideal for limited memory requirements. But even with limited memory needs, you may want to go for a hardware SOHO for additional security for your systems.

The specialty firewalls are designed for specific applications, which you may want to opt for in case of high levels of security requirements for a certain application.

Making the right choose

Once you’re cognizant of the various kinds of firewalls available on the market, you can then make your personal choice, depending on your specific requirements. There are certain criteria to help make your choice easier and ensure that you don’t end up with a firewall that fails to serve your purpose in terms of cybersecurity.

One of the first things you should ascertain is the number of users for your system network. If it’s a small office or home office system with limited number of users, you can go for a SOHO, which is designed to suit small memory requirements and generally accommodate up to 50 users without causing much trouble.

However, if the requirement is for a large number of users, then you should opt for the more expensive enterprise-based firewall.

The next step is to check the random-access memory of the firewall, since that would impact the firewall’s compatibility with your system. The dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) is suitable for limited storage capability, while a higher storage capability would need a static random-access memory (SRAM) firewall.

You should also make sure the firewall has network address translation (NAT) facility, which helps translate illegal or private IP addresses into legal ones.

Another aspect to be kept in mind is the virtual private networking requirements (VPN) of the firewall, which is quite often used as a VPN endpoint. A VPN, to be effective, should have two endpoints in use to ensure business privacy.

Conclusion

You may want to take technical advice before going for a particular firewall to ensure the cybersecurity of your small business. Alternatively, you can choose the Sonicwall next-generation firewall, which is designed to give a high level of protection necessitated by modern cyberthreats. Whichever firewall you go for, remember to take care of the things listed above and make an analytical choice, after taking into consideration your specific requirements. In matters of cybersecurity, it’s better to err on the side of excessive, than to find yourself falling short of your needs.

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