cyber security

Why You Need Both Software and Hardware Firewalls

Why You Need Both Software and Hardware Firewalls 600 329 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

A firewall sounds like a pretty intense thing – unless you’re an action-movie stuntman. Yet when it comes to internet security, you may not have as much firewall protection as you need.

Many internet security products bundle antivirus and firewall software, and many users think this is enough. But first, let’s be clear about what a software firewall actually does:

  • It regulates data through port numbers and applications.
  • It allows you to block incoming traffic from certain locations.
  • It distinguishes between computer programs allowing data to one program while blocking another.
  • It blocks traffic attempting to leave a device to access other devices on your network.

There are drawbacks, though. Software firewalls work only on the computers on which they are installed, and you’ll need to buy multiple licenses to protect several computers.

You also need expertise to administer the firewall to keep up with changing threats. And there are security threats. Bad actors target software firewalls. They’re right there on the computer they seek to exploit.

Beefing Up Your Firewalls

Many businesses also use hardware firewalls to add security. A hardware firewall around your office network acts as a perimeter boundary. The hardware firewall is like the border guard keeping an eye out for dangerous traffic. The firewall inspects incoming internet traffic to protect you from malware and cyberthreats.

IT experts can set up firewalls to pass only safe data. This adds a layer of protection to your network and also secures network-connected devices. Workstations, printers, digital equipment, and telephone systems often don’t have software firewalls.

So, combining firewalls protects both local computers and other devices on your network. The hardware firewall checks traffic coming in from and going out to the internet, whereas the software firewall secures what’s coming into or out of the computer, even from internet sources.

Think about it this way: A cybercriminal is trying to access your systems. They take many approaches, one of which is trying to breach your network perimeter. Another is sending targeted communications to sucker someone into clicking on a virus-laden email. The hardware firewall could stop the perimeter attack, but the software helps stop the malware infection spreading from the user’s computer to others in your office.

Partner with a Firewall Expert

Firewalls can give your business tremendous control over:

  • how users connect to the internet;
  • what information is retrieved from the internet;
  • whether files can leave the company over the network;
  • what devices are accessible and from where.

Yet both software and hardware firewalls need the right expertise to install correctly. Firewalls must be regularly monitored and managed, because threats are constantly changing.

Combining firewalls adds protection but only if you configure them to minimize weaknesses. You’ll need someone to identify compatibility issues and avoid blocking legitimate data.

Partner with an IT expert. We know how to work with firewall rules, and understand what they mean and how to react to alerts generated. Have you heard of a breach that compromised Target’s point of sale systems? That fiasco involved ignored firewall alerts! Don’t let it happen to you.

Greenlight has been awarded the WatchGuard APAC partner of the year. We can help you set up and maintain the firewall protection you need. Contact us today. We know firewalls!

Cyber Security

Cyber Security – How a Checklist Could Save You Thousands

Cyber Security – How a Checklist Could Save You Thousands 1000 698 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

Having worked for a number of small and medium businesses in my time, I have always used software to generate and store the vast array of passwords that I’ve had to ‘remember’. Passwords are one of those necessary evils in this day and age, and I’m sure you can relate to the frustration of expired passwords, and meeting the complex ‘criteria’ most sites and services require.

Late last year former Attorney-General Nicola Roxon highlighted that 1 in 4 Australians had been victims of identity theft, identifying fraud as one of the fastest growing forms of crime in Australia, speaking about the critical nature of cyber security. Like a lot of other dangers, we often do not ‘connect’ with such crimes, as we have not experienced them ourselves.

Recently I visited the website for a service I had not used for a while, and was astonished to be logged in automatically by the password saving software I use (called LastPass) into a CRM (Customer Relationship Management Software) database of several thousand prospects and customers. I was staring at perhaps one of the most valuable assets belonging to a former employer of mine, for whom I had worked about two years ago.

That’s right, a company with whom I no longer had any ties had not changed its passwords in two years. What I did was contact them and let them know about this, but I think it’s fair to say a disgruntled or more opportunistic former employee may not have had the same response.

Databases are worth money.

We have to remember this and ensure we take the necessary measures to safeguard our vital confidential assets, by putting into place SYSTEMS. Systems are critical to the operation of any business, as well as for cyber security. I’ll treat the rest of this post as though I were advising my former employer on how they could have avoided this security breach.

The most basic approach to preventing this from happening to your business is to have checklists in place. Part of your cyber security strategy should involve the different tasks you will have to perform when an employee leaves your company. If you are too small and don’t actually have an IT Support team in-house, you can still assume or assign the responsibility to somebody. For example:

Has all physical equipment been returned

Whether it’s a laptop, USB sticks, smart phone, chargers, keys or passes to the office, these assets all have to be logged against each individual. Once an employee is due to depart from the company, someone within your business should be responsible for ensuring these assets are all returned

Email address

After resetting the outgoing employee’s password, ensure you set up an Out of Office Responder  to enable all those corresponding with that individual to have a new point of contact. Having worked in sales in the past, I’ve seen many companies lose business by not ensuring potential leads were kept in the loop

Accounts & Passwords

What passwords were given to the employee? If they had their own account for each of the services used in your business, make sure you lock or disable it, or at the very least change the password and any ‘backup emails’– i.e. any alternate email addresses that could have been entered in case the account holder forgot their password.

It is critical to protect your business assets from external threats. However, I guarantee that starting by securing your business from within is going to reap the most rewards for the amount of time and money (usually none) required.