While it is pretty common knowledge that having a firewall is very important for most businesses, choosing the right firewall isn’t always such a clear-cut decision. There are many features that you might feel that you need for your business, and many others that you may not be as clear on. This is before looking at performance requirements which can dramatically shift depending on your needs for both speed and protection. By the nature of how a firewall works (there is only so much bandwidth that it can allow), it will act as a bottleneck for speed with all security services turned on – regardless of vendor, this is a fact. But what services does your business need, and what level of performance is adequate?
The first place to start is by looking at the services that you might want the firewall to have running. IPS, or Intrusion Prevention Service, is one of the big ones that you will want running as it will work to actively prevent malicious entities from attempting to take over your network, and the mission-critical hardware that you have in-place on it. An antivirus service to protect against the latest threats and viruses is highly important as well, regardless of the applications being run on your machine. Content Filtering, while very important for networks with users using the internet, might not be as important on a network where only development activity takes place, for example, and the same might apply for application controls. VPN connectivity is typically a must-have when you are accessing the network remotely, though if you don’t use this function then setting the VPN might not be necessary. It is also important to remember that the firewall might not be the only network security appliance needed – in some cases an email security appliance might be needed, or an appliance to help defend against Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks (Firewalls help fighting DDoS, but there are now specialized appliances that exist just to handle the load DDoS can bring).
Once you have decided the features that you need to have in place, it is important to determine just what performance you need out of your firewall. Again, the more services that you have turned on, the slower the performance of the firewall, but the more secure your network will be – depending on what applications you are running, you may or may not need all services running (a good rule of thumb is to turn on services such as IPS or Anti-Virus for any network that handles customer information though). Another factor is the internet speed connected to the firewall – if you have a firewall rated at 100 Mbps throughput, and you connected it to a 25 Mbps internet connection, your internet speed won’t jump up to 100 Mbps no matter what; the internet connection is the bottleneck in those cases. Another factor that you want to look at is how many Ethernet ports are available for your equipment – you might have the perfect firewall on paper, but if it can’t support all your equipment then you don’t really much.
There are a lot of factors in place when choosing a firewall, and fortunately our Product Specialist will be more than happy to take a look at the solutions you are looking at implementing and looking at either procuring that solution or recommending alternative solutions. In conclusion, the services you will likely want to evaluate are:
- Intrusion Prevention Services
- Content Filtering
- Application Control
Note that these aren’t the only services available, so if you need a different service or have any other questions regarding firewall solutions, please reach out to us at (305) 735-8098 option 2 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org