Firewalls remain an important tool in online security, but too many business owners don't know how to get the most out of their firewalls and security. A firewall is your first line of defense against attacks or security breaches. So that your firewall does the best job possible, implement these tips:

  • Inspect all traffic, including the encrypted data: A good portion of traffic that travels through your network is encrypted to protect data. The most common encryption used is SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and Secure Shell (SSH). This is a good thing for legitimate traffic but a bad thing when intruders use it to sneak into your system. Some of the newer firewalls have the ability to inspect encrypted data but if you have a version that doesn't, it is up to you to do the job.


  • Test the performance of your firewall: It's necessary to performance-test your firewall because many applications and services that used to be hosted in the data center are now cloud-based. Older firewalls that are not equipped to handle mobile and tablet traffic suffer from increased latency and impaired performance.


  • Consider using role-based access control: Role-based access control allows access to network resources based on a person's role within the organization. This means you determine how much access and authority employees have to help prevent attacks that originate within the organization. Sometimes, an employee is behind a security attack. While you don't want to be overly suspicious, it can't hurt to use role-based access control to ensure greater security.


  • Routinely review your firewall rules: Rules that you established in the past are not necessarily relevant anymore due to changes that have occurred within your organization. Another problem is, over time you may have edited the rules based on requests from people who couldn't access what they needed. These edits sometimes allow traffic to leak in that should have been blocked. Therefore, it's a good idea to regularly review your firewall rules in order to keep it functioning the way you want it to.

Many people make the mistake of "set it and forget it" when it comes to their firewalls. Considering a firewall is your organization's first line of defense against malicious attacks, it requires maintenance and an understanding of how to use it efficiently.

Smartweb is a trusted IT company that has served various fortune 500 companies and many smaller businesses over the past 20+ years. Contact us for help keeping your business safe and secure, so that you can focus on the tasks you do best rather than struggling to understand the IT world.