Less than a decade ago, predictions were rife in some quarters that firewall technology would soon see its last days. The Jericho Forum advocacy group, among others, viewed firewall solutions as a hindrance to the development of global e-commerce technology. As matters developed, however, the firewall has become ever more important in the years since such predictions were issued. IT security consultants assisting businesses both large and small overwhelmingly favor it as an excellent way to help keep networks protected from both casual intruders and dedicated cyber criminals.
Motel 6 serves as a case in point. Far from scaling back from firewalls during the last decade, the chain continues to rely on them more and more. "We have three times the amount of firewalls than seven or eight years ago," explains Andrew McCullough, who works in the chain's IT security and compliance department.
The wide applicability of the firewall is largely responsible for its continuing success. According to security experts, in past decades the typical use of a firewall as ‘perimeter defense’, techniques to keep intruders out of an entire system by blocking access at entry points to it. Now, however, firewalls are also being used on an internal basis to guard against attacks on programs such as databases and applications that run on the web. In this latter use, firewalls have joined the world of cloud solutions.
In addition, any organization that must conform to rules issued by the payment card industry will find firewalls indispensable. To comply with standards required in this context, SMBs and other organizations are equipping themselves with firewalls capable of dealing with higher bandwidth environments as well as ones that feature antivirus filters.
Using an advanced firewall, however, can mean that an organization will need access to high-quality advice and expertise. When many small packets are involved in e-commerce transactions, they can overwhelm an older-generation firewall and cause response times for internet shoppers to lag. This not only endangers a significant percentage of sales; it can also mean that customers visiting an SMB's website walk away with a negative impression. For reputation as well as the daily sales rate, companies need to have a firewall capable of handling today's level of internet activity.
Thankfully, firewall help is readily available to SMBs from IT companies such as iCorps, a specialist in crafting and implementing tech solutions to help small businesses achieve to their maximum potential.