What Is A Business, Commercial, or Enterprise Firewall? Do I Need One?
As a business leader, you understand the important role a firewall plays in protecting business and customer information. That’s why you have a firewall, right?
The question is: Do you know that you have the right firewall for your organization? Are all firewalls the same? What is a business-grade firewall? How is it different? What are the advantages? What does it cost? And, most importantly, do you need one?
At Kelser, we are used to hearing (and answering) these questions. As a managed IT provider, we help keep customer infrastructures safe, available, and efficient.
In this article, I’ll take a top-level view at business-grade (otherwise known as enterprise or commercial) firewalls. I’ll skip the technical jargon and keep things easy to understand.
After reading this article, you’ll understand what business-grade (or enterprise or commercial) firewalls are. You’ll know what they do, and you’ll have the information you need to decide whether you need one.
What Is A Firewall? What Does It Do?
Let’s start by exploring the purpose of firewalls. In simple terms, firewalls monitor traffic and block or allow it to travel between networks. Consider it a semi-permeable layer of protection between your internal computer network and the internet, it lets in the good and keeps out the bad or harmful.
How Many Types Of Firewalls Are There?
A wide variety of firewalls are readily available. They fall into three broad categories:
Pros Of Business/Enterprise/Commercial Firewalls
As with most things in life, there are pros and cons to each type of firewall. Check out this article for more information: Which Firewall Option Is Right For Me? (Types, Pros & Cons)
Some of the advantages of business/enterprise/commercial firewalls are:
These types of firewalls are highly customizable to accommodate the unique risks and threat profiles of a given organization.
Enterprise firewalls provide the broadest levels of protection for businesses.
When new threats emerge, this class of firewalls pushes out updates to provide enhanced security for your infrastructure.
4. Layer 7 Capability
Because these firewalls can operate at the application layer of the operating system (layer 7), they can allow or deny access by application. For example, they can deny access to gambling websites or those that feature explicit content.
5. Deep-Packet Inspection
Other types of firewalls don’t have this advanced ability to inspect and manage network traffic.
6. SSL/TLS Decryption
If a malicious actor is using encryption to try to hide their attack, secure sockets layer (SSL) and transport layer security (TLS) will detect it, decrypt it and mitigate it.
Business (enterprise or commercial) firewalls come with technical and user support so that your users are always covered, no matter where or when they are working. Warranties are bundled into the support along with returned merchandise authorization (RMA).
Cons Of Business/Enterprise/Commercial Firewalls
While there are numerous advantages of this class of firewalls, there also are disadvantages.
Consumer and prosumer firewalls are significantly less expensive than business/enterprise/commercial firewalls. They typically start around $1,000.
As with most things in life, you get what you pay for. These firewalls offer such significant advantages that I’d argue they are worth the extra cost. And, bear in mind the potential costs of not using the safest solution: downtime, damage to business relationships, and potential impact on your organization’s reputation.
2. Technically Challenging
Compared to consumer and prosumer firewalls, business/enterprise/commercial firewall options are more technically challenging to implement and maintain. But, with that complexity, comes a great deal of opportunity to customize the security parameters for the specific threat profile and risks your organization faces.
So, What’s Best For You?
Cybercriminals used to target large, multinational companies, but that is no longer the case.
In today’s world, it’s imperative that all organizations take an active role in protecting information with the firewall option that is best for you.
You may have the IT resources on staff to help with this important firewall decision and implementation. Or you might help from an external IT provider.
Kelser provides a full suite of managed IT services including managed firewalls.
We know that managed IT is not the right solution for every organization. That’s why we are committed to publishing articles like this to provide the information business leaders like you need to make the decisions that help you keep the information of the company, users, and customers safe.
We take our role as advisors seriously, whether we work together or not.
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