What do firewalls do?
Firewalls are an extremely important part of any network’s protection, but as malicious software and hackers get smarter, the systems that protect your network need to get smarter too.
A firewall is your gateway to the internet – every office has one. All traffic in and out of your business needs to go through one, and while very reliable, they haven’t historically been that clever.
Having a “regular” firewall is fine, but IT security is all about layers. A next-generation firewall is another layer of defence – an important one whether you’re targeted by cyber criminals or not.
That’s why we have partnered with Sophos to bring our clients comprehensive next-generation network security. Sophos is a world-leading British cybersecurity firm.
What can happen?
One of the many reasons that firewalls are important is the threat of ransomware. In 2020, 304 million ransomware attacks took place globally. Ransomware has become a lucrative form of hacking that has spread significantly in only a short time. For example, in 2018 the average fee requested by the hackers was $5,000, by 2020 this had increase to around $200,000.
To put this into context, in May 2021 the US firm Colonial Pipeline, who is responsible for over 5000 miles of oil and gas pipeline across the US, fell victim to a ransomware attack that meant they had to shut down their entire pipeline for almost a week. They were only able to recover their system after making a $4.4 million payment to the hackers.
Of course, this is an extreme example, but it demonstrates the need for good security protection.
Next generation firewalls to the rescue
The good news is that as ransomware and hacking parties become more sophisticated, so do the methods of protecting ourselves from them.
This is where next generation firewalls come into play. The newest breed of firewalls are far more intelligent and instead of just a simple set of rules, they integrate intelligent cyber security directly into the firewall. This means technology like artificial intelligence and machine learning to better identify malicious traffic and stop it.
By using a firewall with next-generation defences and antivirus software built-in, your business is better equipped to identify and stop traffic that poses a threat.
The Big Bad Blind Spot
A huge part of our traffic these days (like web browsing for example) is encrypted. Hackers know this and exploit the fact that most businesses can’t or don’t decrypt it which means that they can fly under the radar and hide their tracks. Next-generation firewalls can peek inside much of this and keep the blind spot as small as possible.
Lockdown (no, not that sort!)
Next-gen Sophos firewalls can not only scrutinise what’s coming in and out of a network but also help contain the threat. For example, if a PC becomes infected with the IT equivalent of COVID then your Sophos firewall can put it in lockdown so it can’t connect to the internet or anything else on your network. If you also have the Sophos antivirus product then we can even get your PCs to self-isolate from each other. Clever stuff!
As we said before, it’s important to remember that the best protection is in layers of security. So, as well as antivirus software and firewalls, you should also consider other measures, such as email security and building a security-conscious workforce.
We can support your team with cyber security services, including a comprehensive cyber awareness training plan and phishing simulation – so your business is as protected as it can be.
Need more information?
Unsure if your business has the most appropriate security? If you are interested in bolstering your cyber defences, then we can recommend the right device for your business. We offer this as a managed service, which means no upfront hardware costs and one simple subscription.
Get in touch and we can talk through your set up. You can request a call back with one of our team using our online enquiry form or simply call the office number – 01403 292930.