Small business firewalls come in a variety of brands, sizes, and options. The firewall is the heart of your cyber security infrastructure, so choosing the right appliance to fit your small business will be a task requiring both insight and foresight. Below, you will find a handful of things that we believe all owners should consider before investing in small business firewalls.
Software vs Hardware
There exist two distinct types of firewalls: software and hardware. While virtual software-based firewalls are great at protecting individual users, they become costly and over-complicated when several users are trying to operate on one network. In this case, a hardware solution is better suited to the job. A single firewall appliance extends protection to all users on a network.
If your organization consists of just a few users, software firewalls could be a workable option. However, if your organization is made up of more than 3 or 4 users, a hardware appliance is an obvious improvement over their software counterparts.
Ease of Use
If you’re running a small business, chances are your payroll may not comfortably accommodate a full-time system administrator role. With other job roles and departments vying for bigger budgets and more attention, an info sec department that requires minimal upkeep is a godsend. Therefore, ease-of-use should play a key role in your decision when purchasing a firewall.
Firewall manufacturers are racing to accommodate the needs of small business owners who can’t dedicate entire workdays to studying the nuances of cyber security. This is accomplished by providing intuitive user interfaces, visualized reporting, and straight-forward alert systems.
The ultimate goal of the small business is to grow. Success means more employees. Success means more complicated procedures and systems. Success means bigger networks, more data, and more numerous attack surfaces. Watchguard’s Extensible Threat Manage (XTM) is touted under the motto “future proof” because it was designed specifically to scale to changing needs.
Firewalls.com recommends hardware that is advertised to accommodate twice the number of users that currently inhabit your network. Not only does the extra strength ensure you’ll never run into performance issues, but it leaves you some breathing room for when your organization grows.
Along similar lines to scalability, small business owners should consider how susceptible a firewall is to change. Small businesses have the unique ability to test several different programs and applications before deciding which ones best fit their goals. The software and web applications that you’re working with today may not be the same applications that your business utilizes next year.
If small business firewalls are going to survive the long haul, consider how the firewall interacts with the other hardware and software. Small businesses should never find themselves in a situation where their decision-making options dependent on whether their firewall can accommodate the changes or not. Look for appliances that are versatile, adaptable, and can play well with others.
The Sophos Intercept X endpoint protection was built to run alongside any other Anti-Virus clients in use.
Bad news. Your buyers’ journey is not over when you click “Confirm Order.” Save that sigh of relief until your firewall has been unboxed, configured, and deployed.
Properly securing your network requires that the settings of your firewall appliance reflect the needs, strengths, weaknesses, and blind spots in your network. Just as every small business operates in their own unique way, their firewall should be customized to fit those needs.
Firewalls.com recommends that small business owners take advantage of our Configuration Service, built on a proprietary 100-step configuration methodology that ensures your firewall is tailor-made to suit your network.
As mentioned earlier, small businesses may not always have a large budget set aside for hiring in-house sys admin. Luckily, there is no shortage of third parties available to do the legwork for you. Firewalls.com offers both Managed Services and Firewall-as-a-Service bundles. The gist of it: you plug your small business firewalls in and we handle it from there. If there’s a problem with your network, we alert you and fix it. Then, you go back to your workday. Next time someone asks you about your business’s network security, you can scoff and brag “Oh, I have people for that.”