Tech Tip Tuesday: Firewalls

Firewalls are an important layer of security to keep your business and personal information secure.  

While antivirus software helps to protect your system against unwanted programs, a firewall helps to keep attackers or external threats from getting access to your system in the first place.

There are two basic types of firewalls: software firewalls and appliance firewalls. Software firewalls reside on the computer itself and monitor all network traffic on that computer. Windows machines have a built-in software firewall that is turned on by default. An appliance firewall is a hardware device that is connected between the Internet and a network. Most small routers that are used in offices and homes have built-in firewalls, however, the firewall my not be turned on by default.

Installing a firewall device on the company network comes with other perks as well. A firewall device can allow the business to setup online rules for the users. For example, the company could control the access to certain websites, or control the times that employees are able to get to social media (like blocking employees from surfing Facebook while on the clock and wasting productivity :)) A firewall device on a company network can also stop traffic from an “infected” computer to protect data on any connected computers.

Another value of a firewall is the ability to keep private information secure. Some firewalls can create a VPN (Virtual Private Network). VPN firewalls create an encrypted tunnel across the Internet and are ideal for remote/branch offices and telecommuters as they deliver full secure network access.

Firewalls act as the first defensive shield against hackers, but they aren’t invulnerable and have limited ability to detect viruses or malware. It is important to also remember to make sure your anti-virus software is up to date and to perform regular software updates.

Not all firewalls are the same. Be sure to research or ask a local IT professional which firewall is best for you. While some firewalls may work well for your home, it may not address the needs of a business network. NetLink Solutions wants to help keep your business and personal information secure. If you are not sure what type of firewall you have or need, contact us at 918-893-9520 and we will gladly assist you!