Firewall Protection: Often Overlooked, Always Valuable

August 29, 2017 by Alex Collins

Just like car brakes, contraceptives and the government, no news about firewalls is good news. We only remember them when they fail spectacularly.

As the first line of defense between your system and evildoers with keyboards, firewalls are one of the most important components of any cybersecurity plan. Like the brick-and-mortar hardware they were named after, firewalls act as a barrier between the inside and outside.

A Patch in Time

But unlike their namesake, firewalls are porous to a point: data entering your system must first pass through the firewall, which checks every bit of data and rejects those that don't meet preset criteria. Even the simplest firewalls offer ample protection against the vast majority of threats, including (but not limited to) DDOS attacks, malware, Trojans and remote logins.

But such protection only goes so far. What happens when you fail to keep your firewalls patched and updated on a regular basis?

The recent Wannacry ransomware attack, for one, would not have affected over 200,000 victims all around the world if most users hadn't neglected to patch the vulnerable version of the Server Message Block (SMB) file sharing protocol running in their PCs. A critical mass of users neglected to update… and got burned as a result.

Mauled by Misconfiguration

Even if you're on the ball where updates and patches are concerned, you might misconfigure your firewall and find yourself in the same hole. Over 90 percent of all firewall breaches are likely caused by misconfigurations of otherwise perfectly capable systems.

Firewalls are only as good as the policies they implement. Overly permissive policy configurations; rogue processes; badly defined workflows – these common errors can knock gaping holes in your system and leave your network exposed to hackers.

Such was the predicament caused by a misconfigured Rsync backup server in the Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center in New York; a routine sweep uncovered at least 7,000 compromised medical records, including “patients' mental health and medical diagnoses, HIV statuses and sexual assault and domestic violence reports,” according to an NBC News report.

Leveling Up to UTM

Finally, you may be compromising your own security by relying on pre-installed firewall systems that come standard with your computer or network.

As your employees' own devices and growing network infrastructure strain your basic firewall to the breaking point, you'll need to consider leveling up to a business class firewall that provides even stronger security services – like All Covered's Unified Threat Management (UTM), an essential component of All Covered's managed IT services (All Covered Care – Secure and Protect).

Think of UTM as an incredibly efficient sentry at the gate: this service watches data coming in and out, flags anything that may conceivably threaten your network, and stops it before it can enter.

Network intrusions; spam; illegitimate login attempts – UTM stops them all cold. The service also automatically updates to cover new threats on the horizon.

For more information on All Covered – Secure and Protect and other services, contact All Covered Toll-Free Nationwide at 866-446-1133 or visit www.AllCovered.com.