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Firewalls are the iron barricades of business cybersecurity

As more organisations prioritise digitalisation, the protection of internal and on-site data tends to slip down the priority list. But this is a mistake, one that could seriously cost a business in the event that they suffer a data breach.

The hard reality, unfortunately, is that no company is safe from being attacked by cybercriminals today.

Last year’s WannaCry ransomware incident was a rude awakening for many organisations, targeting devices running the Microsoft Windows operating system by encrypting sensitive business data, and demanding huge ransom payments in Bitcoin cryptocurrency to return control to the systems’ rightful owners. In all, a massive 200 000 victims across 150 countries were infected by the malware. This included National Health Service hospitals in England and Scotland, which saw their computers — and, more worryingly, medical equipment — compromised.

The recent Facebook breach is another important cybercrime case to consider. Here, data from millions of users who used a popular personality app – and which included answers to intimate questionnaires — was exposed online for anyone to access.

Both types of breaches, different in nature, yet equally disruptive and detrimental to many, beg the question: how can businesses be better protected going forward, especially considering the massive amounts of data they collect and store daily?

If a company is to protect itself in the age of ever-evolving cyberattacks, maintain its competitive edge, and avoid operational disruption, security needs to be made an urgent priority.

Businesses should therefore invest in measures that are designed to be as sophisticated and adaptable as today’s cybercriminals have already shown themselves to be. Many turn to antivirus software to safeguard themselves from cybercrime, not knowing that such a route isn’t necessarily best to protect their company. Prevention is better than cure, yet this security approach only focuses on the latter.

On-site firewalls, on the other hand, are all about preventing malicious data from entering a network in the first place. They remain a popular security measure thanks to their high adaptability, as well as their ability to prevent unauthorised access to a company’s information.

The modern-day firewall is a managed service that goes beyond perimeter protection — the security solution needs to combine the best-of-breed technologies.

As more organisations embrace the mobile workforce, they need to ensure that their firewall provides secure remote connectivity. All that’s needed in such a case is reliable internet connectivity, meaning that this security approach is non-invasive in relation to the existing infrastructure. Next-generation on-premise firewalls also allow for the management of security between departments, which means internal data is protected. They enable VPNs to protect data throughout its journey across the internet, too.

In other words, there’s no need to buy, deploy and manage multiple endpoint solutions to create a holistic and effective barrier to unauthorised network entry. On-premise firewalls deliver enterprise-grade protection in a series of simple, affordable, all-in-one security services that provide protection against evolving perimeter and web-based threats.

Even in the age of cloud-based managed services, this modern security solution gives business owners the feeling of total control over their systems and the precious data they contain.

All that said, there are many other advantages that come with an end-to-end, on-premise managed service. These include pre-implementation consulting, being able to design a connectivity security policy from the ground up, the deployment of best-in-breed technologies, and around-the-clock monitoring and support.

During a time when security breaches are a reality for businesses in every sector, implementing a reliable security solution, like an on-premise firewall, has become a requirement, rather than an optional extra protective layer.

Ultimately, businesses need a solution tailored to their unique business needs, and one that can accommodate both their specific circumstances and top-priority risk-factors.

While cybercrime can’t be anticipated, businesses should ensure that their security solutions can adapt to risks before they materialise. Having an end-to-end solution that caters to this is certainly a proactive way to drive businesses into the digital era we find ourselves in, and do so securely.

Feature image: John Salvino via Unsplash

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