By Ed Desorcy

Have you ever thought about what the internet is, how you visualize it and how it functions? Simply put, the internet is just a giant network. Within this network, there are millions upon millions of smaller networks routing and transmitting data to each other at lightning speeds. There are different networks at your home, in your business, and on the corporate/campus level. Within all these networks are workstations, servers, “smart things,” and other connected devices, all which house valuable personal data. How do we keep our data safe from outside threats malicious actors lurking on the dark web? While there are many aspects to consider when talking network security and cyber hygiene, a good place to start is the firewall.

Well, what is a firewall exactly?

The term “firewall” originally referred to a wall that was specifically designed to confine a fire to a building. A more modern use you might be familiar with is the metal sheet separating the passenger and engine compartments of vehicles.

When we’re talking networking, a firewall is a device that monitors traffic traveling in and out of your internal network. It also works to allow or deny traffic based on a pre-defined set of security rules or policies. It is your first line of defense between your trusted internal network and the untrusted outside internet. Firewalls can be hardware devices, software, or a combination of the two.

There are a few types of firewalls including packet filtering, proxy, stateful, Unified Threat Management (UTM) and Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW.) Cisco provides a good description of the differences between each firewall type.

What does IT Support RI Use?

IT Support RI utilizes hybrid UTM/NG SonicWALL TZ-series firewall for all our business clients, regardless of how big or small the company is. By leveraging this hybrid model, we can offer a security solution that checks off all the boxes on the checklist while offering some unique NG security features. Some of these features include:

  • Real-time threat detection and prevention delivered through the cloud and the physical firewall.
  • Sending unknown threats to SonicWall’s Advanced Threat Protection sandbox for analysis.
  • In-memory inspection and protection from malware/Zero Day exploits
  • Ability to inspect TLS/SSL encrypted traffic in real time.
  • Creating a Virtual Private Network (VPN) for fully encrypting data transmission between branch sites and remote employees.

Click here to learn more about the TZ series SonicWALL security appliances we utilize, scalable for all business sizes and needs.

But I have anti-virus already. Isn’t that enough?

In short, no. If you’re running a business, you have the unique responsibility of making sure your data and customer’s privacy is secure. When you factor in compliance requirements and regulations then consider the very real legal ramifications of a breach, it isn’t worth the risk. For example, what would happen if a patient’s medical records were stolen? “I didn’t know” isn’t a valid excuse that holds up in a court of law. A firewall on your internal network is a necessity and an integral part of any company’s security plan.

Your employees are your biggest security risk.

Even with proper training and mastery of the techniques mentioned in our article How to Become a Pro at Spotting a Phishing Email, we’re all human. There’s a good chance an employee will eventually click on a suspicious link or open a malicious attachment. Next thing you know, every device running on your network is encrypted and you need to pay a ransom to get your data back. This is not a position you want to be in, as many businesses and municipalities have recently discovered. There are many actions a firewall can take to prevent such an attack from occurring or completing successfully. A firewall can:

  • Block or limit Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP)
  • Enable web and spam filtering to prevent malicious content from making it into your inbox.
  • Close all non-essential, open ports

Your network can also be purposely segmented with VLANS and an Intrusion Prevention System to block malicious traffic from traveling throughout your network.

Don’t leave yourself open! Call IT Support RI now at 401-566-4242 or visit to claim a free Cyber Security Risk Assessment of your business.