Businesses are becoming more dependent on high-speed Internet connections to connect offices, store data, and use cloud computing to manage customer relationships, billing, and office productivity. The more connected your business becomes, the more important it is that the data stored inside your network protects from those outside your business such as cyber criminals.
Many small businesses lack a robust firewall that can protect them from these external threats. Instead, they use free firewall software that offers minimal protection such as Windows PC firewalls or bundled carrier based firewall software included with your router provided by carriers such as CenturyLink or Comcast. Such solutions don’t offer much protection from sophisticated threats so it makes sense to upgrade to a true business class firewall.
Even if you have a firewall it may not give complete protection if you don’t have qualified people monitoring and managing it. The best device on the market will become less effective over time without upkeep. A business class firewall keeps your data safe by ensuring that threat definitions and firmware are up to date, backups are kept, and the system monitors 24-7-365. Most business class firewalls today give Unified Threat Management and bandwidth fail over features as well.
Here are five reasons small businesses are better off with a managed firewall service:
- IT is not your core business. You probably got in to business to do something unrelated to network security and aren’t an expert in managing security systems. Sure, you could hire someone to support your IT, but at the cost of diverting valuable time and money from providing the product or service you got into business for. Hiring a professional IT company/managed services provider that is certified with a business class firewall provider is a must!
- Consulting labor is expensive. Without a managed service or full-time staff, you’ll undoubtedly need to hire a consultant to configure your firewall at $150 per hour or more. Then, when something goes wrong or a configuration needs changed, you’ll have added bills at $150 an hour – and the new consultant will spend at least an hour or two figuring out what your last consultant did. Your managed services provider has certified engineers to manage and support your business class firewall.
- Failure of your network security would be a disaster – You need a recovery plan. Like all hardware, firewalls occasionally break. It’s important to have a plan to restore connectivity quickly and securely if that happens. If you’re not using a service, who makes sure your router configurations are backed up, secures a timely replacement from the manufacturer and makes sure the is configured and installed?
- Some threats come from inside your business. Social media, gaming, and online video can drain employee productivity and on the bandwidth your business needs and may expose you to viruses. Properly configured URL filtering and application control can help you manage these internal threats to security and productivity.
- Security threats evolve daily. New viruses, worms, and malicious attacks are created every day to exploit weaknesses in networks and steal your business’ confidential data. With a managed firewall service, professional network security personnel keep your security device up to date with the latest firmware and threat definitions to keep your network secure.