Protecting the computer systems of your small business is as important as installing locks and security cameras to ensure that intruders do not get into your store or office. Having a firewall system in place prevents malicious users from stealing your data or disrupting your operations. Think of it as buying insurance—you hope you will never need it, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Potential Security Issues

Any computer that is connected to the internet is at risk for an attack. Malicious software might divert a portion of your bandwidth for its use (to host pornography or pirated software, for example). Other attackers might try to bring down your network or delete crucial data. Online criminals may charge purchases to your company’s credit cards or even steal money from your corporate accounts. With the internet being democratized and increased computer know-how, more and more businesses may become threats. Even your competitors may be able to access your customer data, gaining an advantage.

Firewall Basics

The firewall is a key tool for network security, and no serious company can afford to operate without one.  Luckily, quite a few cheap options are available these days that are worth investing on.

A firewall is a cornerstone of a network security strategy. It functions like a high-tech gate—it inspects the data that passes in or out of your company network to ensure that all the traffic is legitimate. A properly configured firewall allows legitimate users to access to all of the resources they require while keeping malicious programs or users out.  

Firewall protection should be a part of your company’s overall computer security plan. Your plan may also include written policies about using external networks, data storage, bringing flash drives or disks from other computers, and other such activities. Aside from a robust firewall, you might also need to implement malware and virus scanners, encryption for your data-storage devices, and WPA wireless network security. Consider bringing in an IT consultant to take care of the setup and provide periodic updates, if your company currently does not have expertize to configure firewalls.

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