Firewall and Antivirus

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People who have experience with using a computer can easily fathom the importance of antivirus software, but not many people would also know why a firewall is important, or what it even is.

Many businesses are slowly realizing that this could be the reason why their content and data is not as safe as it should be. A common misconception many small businesses have is that they are safe from a cyber-attack because it is only big corporations who are targeted by cybercriminals, so they don’t invest in firewall and virus protection. However this is not true as many cybercriminals actually see small businesses to be easy targets due to their lack of security. 

In layman terms, a firewall is the first defence barrier laid out by your network. When the information passes through the network in the form of packets, they have to cross the firewall. There are a couple of things that primarily happen when it interacts with the firewall. 

  • The NAT device in the software first verifies if the IP address is allowed to enter or exit the data from your device.
  • The next step includes the firewall inspecting the data to see if they contain any malware or virus. If they do not and if the first step is clear, they are allowed to pass through the firewall.

But a common flaw in the market is that the firewall only fulfils the first part. That is what leaves most of the security and data vulnerable. Another common thing which market products do is that they just check the heading information of the packets. That is they do not check the data inside it, unlike some of the modern, more advanced security systems. 

One of the challenges for companies is to do the ‘deep packet’ checking of the data that comes into the network which is encrypted. The firewall system first has to decrypt it and this is the tougher task.

The importance of encryption is profound. The websites usually encrypt your personal information like name, passwords so that the hackers cannot access your data. Encryption is basically re-writing the information in the form of a code which only one device can understand. Medical professionals also send encrypted information while sharing confidential information of patients. But the encryption of the website may not necessarily reveal if any malware is stored in it. 

So, it is very crucial for companies to come up with ways where the firewall decrypts the entire packet of data and does the checking. Some companies have been putting effort to overcome this challenge by creating a firewall that can find new ways to decode the data as it hits the firewall system. 

Software Firewalls or Hardware Firewalls?

Software firewalls may be more affordable than the hardware ones but one cannot compare the performance of either of them. For instance, the protection offered by software firewalls is much less than the hardware since they are located on the machine. Software firewalls are usually ineffective in stopping the data that has already entered your device. Though the cost of hardware firewalls are more, they are better in the longer term for your security.

Now, why antivirus?

Although the firewall might act as the security guard to your network, there is some data that always sneaks in. And this additional layer of protection is offered by the antivirus. Whether it is while downloading attachments from the web or plugging in an external device to transfer files from, antivirus software typically scan them beforehand so that your download can be safe. Antivirus can also offer options to clean the data of the virus and make it safer for download. 

So, if your business has some really crucial data which you need to protect, then investment in security options is a must. There are so many managed IT service providers out there who can support your business needs and security. Get yourself an advanced Hardware firewall and the latest version of an antivirus software today!