Hardware Firewalls Strengthen Cybersecurity Protection

With cybersecurity threats from hackers, viruses, and malware compromising computer systems worldwide, every small business needs a hardware firewall. Firewalls provide enhanced IT security to protect your technology from attack, blocking unauthorized access while still allowing legitimate users access to the systems and data necessary to perform their jobs. They are an essential part of any properly designed IT protection plan.

Six Questions about Your Firewall

 

  1. Is my firewall really protecting me?

Can you answer this with confidence? Anderson Technologies performs an infrastructure analysis at the start of every new client engagement, and we’re surprised by the number of businesses vulnerable to cybersecurity risks. This is often due to the lack of a firewall or insufficient configuration of an existing firewall, which results in inadequate protection of systems and data.

  1. Does it handle the latest security threats?

Because new cybersecurity threats are developed and launched every day, your firewall’s firmware needs to be continuously updated. It should be tested regularly to ensure that security flaws are patched by the manufacturer, and it can handle the latest threats.

  1. Is my firewall monitored?

Ongoing monitoring of a security appliance like a firewall is vital to understanding what kind of threats your business is exposed to and how often intrusion attempts are made. Knowing if and when your system is under attack allows you to marshal the proper response. Monitoring provides this valuable insight. Firewalls are not a “set it and forget it” device.

  1. Is it configured to allow my employees to do their work efficiently while still protecting my vital information and systems?

Firewalls are only secure if they are properly configured. Many firewalls are installed with minimal configuration and too often are set to the manufacturer’s defaults. This can lead to cybersecurity vulnerabilities, unnecessary exposure, and business risk. Firewalls must be configured for the particular business environment they are being installed within to provide maximum security with optimal functionality.

  1. Is my firewall performing well?

Blocking malicious attacks requires a firewall to perform many system-intensive background tasks. It needs enough processing power to not only handle the Internet provider’s speeds but also efficiently run necessary protection processes while maintaining optimal performance. If your firewall is older, it could actually be causing a “bottleneck” on your network and slowing down your business’s productivity.

  1. Is my firewall equipment doing the job?

Not all hardware firewalls are created equally! Some manufacturers garner industry recognitions and awards for their security technology and constant innovations while others do the bare minimum. The latter companies lack enterprise-level support and fail to update their hardware to protect against the latest evolving threats. Make sure you have the right equipment to protect your business.

If you can answer these six questions positively, your firewall is likely performing well and protecting your systems and data from attack. If not, we’d love to help. If you suspect your business is vulnerable to attack and would like assistance analyzing options and developing a secure firewall solution, schedule a consultation by contacting us or calling 314.394.3001.

Data Backups

Where is My Backup Located?

You may not believe this at first, but geography can be essential to the integrity of computer systems. If your company experiences a local disaster, where you house your backup data becomes imperative. The following computer backup solutions illustrate the three location-specific types, each with pros and cons.

  1. On-Premise

Implementing an on-premise backup is a simple way to establish a local backup data repository. These backups are straightforward to put in place and can be saved to external hard drives, flash drives, tapes, or other electronic media. Computers can be programmed to back up files automatically or manually. We recommend systematizing the process and establishing a backup schedule that meets your company’s data recovery requirements.

  1. Offsite

Some businesses perform an offsite backup daily or weekly to a removable media device and then transport it to a separate location. It is important to store your data in more than one physical location should something happen at the primary office to compromise the integrity of the local backups. While this may seem arduous and time-intensive, offsite backups protect against theft, fire, or other natural disasters that could otherwise compromise your business.

  1. Cloud-Based

Utilizing a reliable Internet connection, cloud-based services automatically back up data from your local systems to remote servers over secure, encrypted connections. Depending on the options selected and how they are configured, some cloud-based backup solutions can also be programmed to save a second copy of data to a local data repository. This gives a company the best of both worlds (on-premise and offsite through the cloud) and provides peace of mind that all of your digital data is safe and available in case anything happens to your computers.

Which of These Backup Solutions Is Right for You?

On-PremiseOffsiteCloud-Based
System RequirementsBackup host computer, backup software, external hard drive(s), tapes, or other electronic mediaBackup host computer, backup software, removable mediaSoftware subscription, reliable Internet connection
Costs/FeesHigher initial out-of-pocket cost for backup software and backup mediaHigher initial out-of-pocket cost for backup software and removable backup media; Occasional purchases of additional removable media (depending on retention policy)Monthly fee varies based on number of machines to backup and amount of data
Time to ManageAfter initial setup, the system is programmed to back up files automatically but user monitoring is required to audit processManual backups can be performed anytimeAfter initial setup, the system is programmed to back up files automatically; Full monitoring available
Data AccessibilityOn-premise onlyMust be retrieved from offsite locationAvailable via secure credentials anywhere Internet connection is available
Data EncryptionLimited by hardware and softwareLimited by hardware and softwareFull data encryption
SynchronizationCan be programmed to execute backups frequently — hourly, daily, weekly, etc.None; Remote media transfers handled manuallyCan be programmed to execute backups frequently —continually (in some cases), hourly, daily, weekly, etc.
Risk/LiabilitySingle location point of failureRemovable media could be lost, stolen, or dropped/corrupted in transitRetrieval of data unavailable during Internet outages (unless local copy also configured)

At Anderson Technologies, the backup solution we most frequently recommend is a cloud-based solution that has the ability to perform a “dual-destination” backup. Clients have on-premise recovery options as well as cloud recovery in the case of complete office loss due to fire, flood, or other natural disasters.

If you’d like to consult with one of our specialists about your backup system needs, please call us at 314.394.3001 or send an email to sales@andersontech.com.