IT support, managed IT services, IT services, cyber security, firewall

One of our go-to analogies when explaining the ins and outs of IT to prospects and clients is the layout of a castle. Game of Thrones fanatic or not, you can envision the scene. A moat, surrounding the castle and its grounds, is only accessible via a draw bridge when lowered for approved traffic. The moat is deep enough and full of enough alligators, to capture any trespassers. Across from the moat, tall castle walls make it impossible to climb or ascend on a ladder. Then, at the top of these walls are guards, bow, and arrow ready at hand. They can see threats while still far off. Then, within the castle, there are areas open to the public, and other areas that are exclusive. These exclusive zones may include access to the King and Queen, their precious jewels, the keys to the kingdom, etc.

Now, imagine your company is the castle. What are your company’s precious jewels? The exclusive zones may protect IP addresses, Best Practices, sensitive data…Then, the public areas may be the Guest Wi-Fi network or the waiting area for your customers. Regardless, it all needs to be protected against unwanted visitors. So, how will you protect it? What are the moat, drawbridge, guards, and high walls? One of those tools must be a firewall. In fact, it is mandatory to work with Partners Plus. Curious why? Unsure what it really does? Read on!

Similar to the moat and drawbridge, your firewall keeps out unwanted foreigners with bad intentions, malware, and disapproved traffic. For example, your firewall VPN can secure traffic between you and clients or remote employees. It’s like a secure tunnel that connects your castle to the neighboring castle. That way, your coworkers and clients can access your castle without compromising security or allowing unwanted visitors in.

Similar to castle security, there are degrees to its restrictions and accessibility. You don’t want a guard sleeping with the drawbridge down, but you also don’t want the King’s son to have to fight to get in! It’s a balancing act we can help you establish. When figuring this out, the main question should be, “What do they need to get their job done?” Think through every employee or department and set up the firewall accordingly. Here are some other factors to consider:

  • The ‘horsepower’ your firewall has is dependent on its physical size. You’ll want to consider the desired speed, as well as the number of people on your team when deciding. For example, if you have a lot of employees, a smaller firewall will take longer to scan for viruses for each employee’s workload.
  • What outbound Internet access would you like to allow? For example, HTTP and HTTPS or just HTTPS? Either way, the firewall will inspect it.
  • What countries are necessary to access work, and which are unnecessary? Our suggested list of blocked countries is extensive, either due to no need or security threats. This is similar to the guard right inside the castle, deciding who he lowers the drawbridge for!
  • Do you want to enable routing traffic to a backup circuit? For example, if Comcast is down, would it be crucial for operations to be able to continue on Verizon?

Additionally, here are some of our recommendations. We suggest setting up 2FA for your VPN to work remotely, securely. We also recommend utilizing the firewall’s basic content restrictions, on top of a more extensive list through our DNS service. (It isn’t firewalls forte but is a good second layer of protection.) Lastly, an imperative part of having a firewall is staying up to date on the firmware.

As a Partners Plus client, we’ll manage updates for you. That way, none are forgotten, each is tested for quality and then installed quicker than auto-updates. Additionally, we’ll scan all files and stop the download of any that are infected. Advanced threats, such as malware, even those including encrypted data, will also be stopped. Your firewall and anti-virus from different vendors will complement one another, creating two independent layers of defense between malware and your company. Sign up today!

headshot, owner, president, author, partners plus, IT company, IT services, SSD, recommendationBill Hogan is the Owner and President of Partners Plus. He has 40 years of experience in the technology industry, specifically managed IT services. Bill has spoken at seminars all over the country about network management and published his latest book in 2018. Partners Plus was selected by PHL17 as the best Computer and Information Technology Support Company in the greater Philadelphia area in 2018.