I’m sure you’ve heard the term “firewall” over and over. You’ve probably heard your IT guy refer to it, or maybe you’ve tried to scroll through Facebook on a work computer and gotten a “Blocked by Firewall” popup. A firewall, in the simplest terms, is a protective barrier between your internal computer systems and external systems (like the internet). Firewalls can be physical hardware or even software that runs on your computer. They monitor the activity on your systems and operate based on pre-set security rules.
A firewall is kind of like a guard at a gated community. That guard sees every car that drives out and stops every car coming in. The people entering the community have to meet a certain set of criteria that has been predetermined by the community. You cannot enter unless you live there, you have been invited by someone who lives there, or you work there.
Firewalls do the same thing. They inspect all the traffic coming into your systems. If something doesn’t meet your security criteria, it gets turned around at the firewall and never actually enters your system. Is it possible to sneak something past a firewall? Yes. That’s why firewalls are merely a fraction of our security toolset. But is it easy to sneak something past a firewall? Not if it’s configured well.
The Center for Internet Security (CIS) estimates that by 2025, 99.9% of data breaches will be due to firewall misconfigurations. This means 2 things. First, firewalls are extremely effective. In most cases, breaches are due to misconfigurations, meaning the firewall is not what’s failing—it’s the security configurations that have issues. Second, your firewall’s configurations need expert management.
Configuring a firewall takes time, expertise, and an extensive knowledge of your systems and the firewall itself. It’s why we insist that our clients use specific firewalls—because we have a deep and intricate knowledge of those systems, and that allows us to configure their firewalls well.
A firewall shouldn’t be your only security tool, but a well-configured firewall is a solid foundation for protecting your systems. If you think your firewall isn’t as secure as it should be, call us. We want your systems to be protected, and that starts with a firewall.