Why Every Small to Midsize Business Must Have a Firewall

Craig Pollack | Mar 21, 2018

In today’s hostile online environment, it’s imperative for businesses of every size to actively make an effort to protect themselves from cybersecurity threats. This is especially true for small- to mid-size businesses (SMBs) whose employees think that their smaller size will attract less attention from hackers in the erroneous belief that such attackers only want to focus on attacking larger corporations and organizations.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, there are more than 29 million small businesses in the country. These privately-owned businesses are vital to our nation’s economy, accounting for nearly half of all U.S. employment. So, when Inc. reports that upwards of 60% of small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that are hacked end up going out of business after six months, it is particularly concerning to me that many small businesses workers have this mindset.  

While I wish I could say differently, but the truth is that no business is 100% safe from cyber attacks. This is especially true of zero-day attacks, which are vulnerabilities that have not yet been identified by technology manufacturers but are employed by malicious users against businesses.

Cyber attacks come at a great cost to businesses and organizations around the world. According to research by IBM and the Ponemon Institute, the global average cost of a data breach in 2017 was $3.62 million, with each lost or stolen record having an average price tag of $141.

There is no single defense that will protect your business. However, there are ways to significantly minimize your organization’s risks of experiencing a data breach or another related cybersecurity compromise. As someone who wants to increase the protection of the IT security services at your small or mid-sized business, what can you do to protect your organization’s network and devices? A great place to start is by having a reliable and agile firewall in place.

Traditional vs. Next Gen Firewalls

A firewall is an important part of the cyber crime prevention process. It serves as the gatekeeper between a business’s devices and networks and the threats that lurk on the internet.

Traditional stateful inspection firewalls aim to control traffic access based on port, state, and protocol information. Traditional firewalls were once helpful in protecting networks and their attached devices in the past. However, today’s modern threats — such as increasingly aggressive worm viruses, malware, and the use of apps such as peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing systems — go beyond their protection capabilities, posing significantly increased internal threats to the network security or any small business.

As a result, firewall vendors had to create a new solution to meet these challenges. This led to the creation of what are known as next generation firewalls (NGFW). According to Gartner, these devices are “deep-packet inspection firewalls that move beyond port/protocol inspection and blocking to add application-level inspection, intrusion prevention, and bringing intelligence from outside the firewall.”

An NGFW is one component of our strategy to cybersecurity, which integrates other technologies that help us to protect our clients. These firewalls are programmed to:

  • Block external threats;
  • Identify and expose any hidden risks within your network; and
  • Automatically respond to security threats to isolate and clean up affected systems.

At FPA, we highly recommend the SonicWall firewall, a device that is used by 92% of our clients to help them not only detect threats, but also help to prevent them. SonicWall’s unified threat management (UTM) services provide additional comprehensive threat protection through a "belt and suspenders" approach to virus and malware protection from external threats.

Furthermore, SonicWall’s VPN (virtual private network) capabilities for businesses enable your employees to remotely access your network in a secure way, offering an additional layer of security.  

FPA Stack

The SonicWALL firewall is part of what we refer to here at FPA as the “FPA Stack.” The stack is our comprehensive, foundational approach to IT security services to improve the network performance, stability, and overall virtual security of our clients.

This foundational technology platform consists of:

  1. Managed IT Services;
  2. Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) Solution;
  3. Managed SonicWall Firewall;
  4. Managed ESET Antivirus; and
  5. Managed Cisco Umbrella Internet Threat Prevention.

When it comes to IT security services, our team looks at our clients’ networks from a holistic perspective in which cybersecurity is a key component. Our operational management of clients’ firewalls includes:

  • Active system monitoring;
  • Automated incident response;
  • Keeping your systems patched and up-to-date; and
  • Providing reliable and detailed reports.

With more than 25 years of industry experience providing managed IT security services and computer support to small and mid-sized businesses in the Los Angeles area, FPA is here to help you protect your business.

Bottom Line

In an increasingly interconnected world, it is imperative for SMBs to recognize that they are not immune to the growing body of cybersecurity threats. They need to make sure that their networks, devices, and employees are prepared for the virtual threats that are always poised to strike.

What are your concerns about cyber crime prevention efforts for your small or midsize business? What are you doing to protect your organization and sensitive data? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below or by sending me an email if you’d like to continue the discussion one-on-one.

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Author

Craig Pollack

Craig Pollack

Craig is the Founder & CEO of FPA Technology Services, Inc. Craig provides the strategy and direction for FPA, ensuring its clients, business owners, and key decision makers leverage technology as efficiently and effectively as possible. With over 25 years of experience building the preeminent IT Service Provider in the Southern California area, Craig is one of the area’s leading authorities on how small to mid-sized businesses can best secure and leverage their technology to achieve their business objectives.

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