With the increasing determination, creativity, and intelligence of hackers, it is more important than ever to make sure that an organization's IT systems are adequately protected from viruses, trojans, and other forms of intrusion. Though there are many ways to help ensure the integrity of a network's security, one very important method of safeguarding sensitive data is through the implementation of a firewall.
A good firewall keeps the network, and everything in it, secure from potential attacks. It does this by analyzing the data that is passing back and forth in a network, and based on rules that have been pre-configured, determines whether or not the information should be allowed to proceed. It is imperative that every organization include a firewall in their data protection solution. Below are three ways to ensure that the implementation of a firewall is successful:
- Define security needs: Before installing a firewall solution, it is necessary to first define exactly the level of security necessary for your organization. First, examine any existing solutions and note what currently works, what doesn’t work, and what areas need to be improved. Next, ask the IT department for information about data transactions within your company's network – where are the weak links and what are the most sensitive areas needing protection. Also determine all points of access that need to be secured using endpoint protection. Finally, because it is likely that there won’t be one solution to meet all your needs, prioritize the list in terms of critical and non-critical, and include budgetary constraints. A well-thought out and detailed internal specification will pave the way to finding a firewall solution that meets your business’s needs.
- Research solutions that match the specified needs: Only once a business has defined what it needs from a firewall/managed security service can the process of researching solutions begin. In addition to services, make sure to research every potential IT provider's longevity in the business, history of servicing clients, and their all-around stability. Choose a vendor who has a reputation for providing quality and efficient service.
- Installation, configuration, and maintenance of the firewalls: Once a vendor has been chosen, the final step in setting up your firewall is the actual implementation. The IT provider you have chosen will install the solution in your environment, covering all of the areas you deemed necessary in your easrlier assessment. Post-installation, the firewall will be maintained and upgraded with both manual and automatic updates. Feedback should be provided on a consistent basis to ensure that the firewall is performing as expected.
Implementing a firewall solution is imperative for all businesses to protect the sensitive data of their clients, vendors, and employees. A carefully laid out plan involving both your organization's internal IT team and your chosen firewall solutions provider will ensure that your business is successful in meeting its security needs.