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The Role of Firewalls and How to Incorporate One Into Your Organisation’s Network Security System


Although it’s a broad term, “network security” is a set of rules and configurations designed and implemented using data and software technologies to protect a computer network’s confidentiality, accessibility, and integrity. Cyberthreats are growing constantly growing, so no matter how big or small they are or what their infrastructure is like, businesses and organizations must have strong network security in place to protect themselves from this danger.

Firewalls are part of this protection. Firewall as a service enables you to monitor traffic, incoming and outgoing and, in line with a series of security protocols, decide whether to block certain items of traffic.

Below is a look at how firewalls help organizations to protect their networks and how they can implement one in their network.

How firewalls help in network security

Firewalls protect your network from unauthorized access to private data. They stop malicious software from acting upon your network by forming a barrier between secure internal networks and untrusted outside networks. They’re the first line of defense in network security systems, so a strong, reliable firewall is a must.

Firewalls monitor attempts to access operating systems by unwanted traffic. They’re an indispensable part of web traffic management. They minimize the spread of web threats.

How firewalls prevent data breaches

Fireworks scan data packets for malicious code or attack any vectors that have already been established as threats. If a data packet is flagged or determined as a security risk, the firewall won’t let it into the network or allow it to reach the computers.

Firewalls use various different methods to monitor traffic:

Packet filtering

When the firework is applying packet filtering, it runs the packets trying to attempt the network against a group of filters. The filters remove packets that match identified threats and allow others to enter the network.

Proxy service

These highly secure firewalls serve as go-betweens rather than as a filtration service. Essentially, they create a mirror of the computer behind the firewall, preventing direct connections between customers and incoming packets, which protects the network location from malicious actors.

Stateful inspection

Stateful inspection firewalls examine different elements of each data packet and compare them to a database of trusted information. The incoming data packets must match the trusted information suitably to enter the network. Elements compared include IP addresses, ports, and applications.

Firewalls prevent networks and computers from several different security risks, such as:

Backdoors

Some applications contain bugs that offer hackers a hidden way to access the program and exploit it for malicious means. This is also the case for some operations systems

Denial of service

This serious cyberattack can crash a server. The hacker requests to connect to the server; the server acknowledges the request and attempts to establish a connection but, of course, can’t find the system that made the request. Hackers bombard systems with these one-side requests, slowing down the server and eventually crashing it.

Viruses

Viruses replicate themselves from computer to computer, allowing themselves to spread across networks. Some can do serious damage.

Implementing firewalls

Setting up a firewall is complicated, but here’s a brief rundown of how to do this

1.    Block inbound ports connections

Think about all the connections you don’t want to your network.

2.    Allow inbound ports connections

Now think about all the ones you do. A simple approach is to block all inbound traffic. Think of a service you want accessible from the external side and create a rule that allows it (an ALLOW rule).

3.    Protect your endpoints with firewalls

A lot of hacking attempts exploit endpoints, so this should be a major part of your security strategy.

4.    Defend your web servers

If you host a company or organization website on your own servers, your next job is to install a firewall in front of your web server.

5.    Protect web applications

If you host external web applications on your servers, the next task is to set up firewall rules. Alternatively, you can install a job-specific firewall.

6.    Shield your web data

Having protected the front end, now it’s time to protect the data behind the servers and web services. A good way to do this is to place a firewall between the data storage file and the web services. Only approved web services can pull the data. Then place a firewall between the data storage and the core network where the users who update the data are.

7.    Protect perimeter outbound

Circle back around and consider rules that focus on stopping outbound network communications. Perhaps employees need to make remote desktop connections to company computers in other locations.

8.    Look at decryption

Your firewall won’t be able to understand encryption, so you need to turn on decryption. Note, however, that you should classify your data before doing this. Knowing the data, you wish to protect, where it is and who has access to it will help you decrypt appropriately.

9.    Consider air gaps

If data has tight control over it, you may wish to consider air gaps and the absence of any connection between a computer and the internet. This means hackers won’t be able to attack the data. Critical system backups are one type you can air gap.

Firewalls are a major part of cybersecurity. Failing to protect your network with a suitable firewall could leave your system open to a serious attack.