Next-generation firewalls are a layer of security that small businesses need to deter low-effort cybersecurity threats and improve their network’s security posture. Although they may seem like a daunting tool to master at first, understanding how the firewall your business has in place does its job can help improve security outcomes inside the company and purchasing decisions made for future security services. But how can you tell if your business is getting the best use out of its firewall?
Team Knowledge and Configuration
Next-generation firewalls are a critical tool in small business cybersecurity defense, but even the best tools require knowledgeable users. Your IT team should understand the security features available on your firewall such as intrusion prevention and application screening, so they can ensure the best levels of protection. Your team should also be aware of the ways malicious actors are currently trying to circumvent next-generation firewall security measures, so they can watch for vulnerabilities and respond accordingly. For IT staff that need additional training, SMBs can work with their local IT consultant for a better understanding of either your firewall or the threat landscape your business faces.
Flexible Decryption for Network Needs
Your next-generation firewall needs to look at all the packets that come through your network in order to do its job well. To ensure your firewall is adequately protecting your network, your IT team should ensure it provides the flexibility your business needs to balance privacy and safety. For example, some users may need their network traffic to remain encrypted for legal reasons or because decrypting the information will break it. Your IT team should be able to choose what gets decrypted and allow trusted users to opt out when they need to. This way, your next-generation firewall does not hinder crucial network activity but still keeps your data secured in the most vulnerable areas.
Additional Layers of Security
While next-generation firewalls are an excellent tool for a small business’ cybersecurity, they cannot fully protect a network on their own. Firewalls must be complemented with the right training and additional security tools. Employees should receive training for phishing and social engineering attacks that would try to trick users into circumventing the firewall. In addition, your network should have DNS security, endpoint protection, and other cybersecurity tools that can help shore up your network’s defenses and catch any suspicious activity that may slip by your next-generation firewall.
Just like with any other cybersecurity tool, next-generation firewalls require a knowledgeable IT staff or IT consultant that can set up your firewall to keep your company data secured. Then, to ensure the best protection possible, your employees need the right training and additional cybersecurity tools that can reinforce protections provided by your firewall. Small businesses should think of their firewall as one part of the cybersecurity puzzle, so they can continue augmenting their security solutions to meet the changing threat landscape every small business faces!
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