Firewalls & Keeping Your Business Files Safe

Types of Firewalls

Firewalls can either be physical or logical. A logical firewall is usually found built into an operating system and is typically controlled by a server within a business environment. The configuration of a logical firewall requires a certain level of technical expertise to regularly maintain & tweak settings to help the firewall work correctly.

A physical firewall is a network device that is usually used as the first point of entry for traffic entering a network. It applies intense scrutiny to the traffic, checking for unwanted intrusions and viruses before the traffic is allowed to end-point device, such as a Windows server, employee computer, or any mobile device. Many physical firewalls offer subscription-based services that may be necessary for compliance reasons and overall security of the network. Subscription based firewalls are updated multiple times a day with threat lists from subscribed security experts, sources, and companies.

Choosing the Best Firewall for your Business

TechStarters will help you choose the right firewall for your business, here are the main considerations we take into account when choosing an appropriate firewall for a business environment:

  • Scale
  • Security
  • Cost of Ownership
  • Manageability & Reporting

Scale

Scale defines the size and shape of your environment. A few of the scale questions we ask to help determine the best Firewall solution for your business: How many employees access the network? Does the organization have multiple sites? How many remote users? Scale is just one item that ultimately determines the firewall level of product you will require.

Security

Security defines the strength of protection provided by the firewall device. What is the information that your company deals with internally and externally. Do you use online financial services or handle medical information? Must your company stay PCI or HIPAA compliant? At minimum, most devices provide a straight forward form of protection with the ability to configure higher levels of firewall protection, usually under an optional form of paid subscriptions.

Cost of Ownership

Cost of ownership defines the bottom-line of cost to you, from start to finish, including (but not limited to) purchase or lease of hardware, configuration and installation, service subscription, and maintenance.

Manageability & Reporting

Ease of management can impact your cost of service over time. Some devices are very simple and easy to make administrative changes, while the majority of other firewalls are far more complex and require a high-level IT professional to have specialized training in order to manage the firewall properly.

To one degree or another, reporting is a feature necessary feature built into most commercial firewall devices. Some reporting platforms are very simplistic in the information gathered, while the more sophisticated firewalls provide much more granular reporting features.

Firewall Brands

TechStarters supports a variety of firewall brands, below are only a few of the more popular firewall brands we support.

Cisco

Cisco is the global industry leader of network equipment. Cisco firewalls are most commonly used in enterprise-scale datacenters, but do also provide firewall equipment scaled to the smaller and mid-sized business markets. TechStarters has a high-level expertise with Cisco products. With the expansive scope of Cisco firewalls available, trying to understand what Cisco firewall is most appropriate for your business can be a challenge. With a declared priority on providing security, Cisco is a leader in providing secure network communication. Cisco also provides VoIP phone systems that integrate directly with Cisco branded switches and routers. The most common Cisco equipment found, even in the smallest & simplest business environment would be an ASA firewall.

Cisco ASA Firewalls

The Cisco ASA Firewall is the world’s most widely deployed enterprise-level firewall. Businesses of all shapes and sizes require protection from a wide array of threats. In years prior, firewall provided functionality included what is known as Unified Threat Management or UTM, but as the threats have become much more sophisticated, so too has the need for the firewall device. Cisco’s next generation firewalls have implemented Advanced Malware Protection and next-generation IPS to the Cisco ASA. This allows for small and medium businesses to be effectively protected from advanced forms of attack. Inexpensive cost of ownership makes this an excellent level of security attainable for just about any size business.

DELL SonicWALL

SonicWALL is a leading manufacturer of network equipment. At one time, SonicWALL was an independent manufacturer that had become so successful that they were acquired by Dell in 2012. Dell SonicWALL solutions provide intelligent network security, email security and secure mobile access which enable customers and partners to dynamically secure, control, and scale their local and global networks. SonicWALL firewall products are cost-effective, which makes them very popular with small businesses, but have a robust higher-end market of firewall products that appeal to the enterprise sized organization. Dell's SonicWALL are deployed are most popular with educational campuses, retail stores, local governments, and healthcare environments.

SonicWALL TZ Series

Dell's SonicWALL TZ Series firewalls are reasonably priced to provide an excellent firewall solution for small to medium-sized businesses. The TZ series provides protection from malware and viruses embedded within website traffic and emails. It has the ability to connect to a remote network via a point-to-point VPN, extending the work network for remote employees. It also allows for a user to connect to the network remotely via a VPN client. With the addition of SonicPoint wireless access points (WAP), any building can be covered with a secure wireless signal. When configured correctly, Dell's SonicPoints allow ultimate scalability for companies of all sizes.