What is a Managed Firewall Service?
Introduction: Explaining Firewalls
Of all the online security tools in the world, the firewall has proven to be one of the most effective. Its simplicity makes it more difficult to circumvent, even if it doesn’t provide total protection against the most serious threats. Rather, a firewall functions as a first line of defense. In essence, these programs just control who is able to connect to a given network and who is not. Thus, suspicious connections (whether incoming or outbound) can be prevented from gaining access.
What Is A Managed Firewall Service?
As you might guess from the name, these are monthly services that are purchased on a monthly plan. As we said, firewalls are pretty simple technology. However, the proper management of a firewall is not so simple. You can achieve a good level of protection by simply allowing all outgoing connections and denying all the incoming ones. However, this isn’t versatile enough for all situations.
The management of firewall rules can be a difficult subject and people have been known to spend years researching that sort of thing. Unless you feel like doing a lot of deep research, a managed firewall service will be the easiest way to gain that additional security. Without effective management of firewall rules, you will not get the full benefits.
So, why is it so hard to get your firewall rules right? The answer is simple. This subject is a difficult one because the threat landscape is always changing. As new threats come into the picture and old ones disappear, firewall rules must keep up with those changes. Otherwise, there will be vulnerabilities that might be exploited.
Using Multiple Firewalls
Like encryption, firewalls work best when used in layers. Thus, if an attacker gets past one, the others remain. The effect is something like the concentric walls of an ancient ring-fort, with each firewall application being comparable to one of those walls.
First of all, you should be using a router-level firewall. All good routers have this option, although it may not be enabled by default. In case you don’t know, you can manage router settings by using a site address (which is probably printed somewhere on your router). Not only should you turn that firewall on, but you should also set it to the highest protection level.
You can also configure both servers and end-user devices with firewall applications. Thus, any machine that tries to connect to yours will have to triple-authenticate. Make sure that the rules for these firewalls aren’t exactly the same, or else you are just creating needless redundancy.
What Else Does A Managed Firewall Service Offer?
If you choose your provider well, a managed firewall service can do a lot more than just manage your firewall rules. They can also perform a number of “side services,” such as log monitoring. Pretty much everything a computer does is recorded in log files, which are some of the most effective system analysis tools. By using an AI that is trained on known patterns of suspicious activity, a managed firewall service can provide yet another layer of security precautions.
Configuration monitoring is another important aspect of many managed firewall service plans. In many cases, cyber attackers will attempt to compromise a given system by changing security settings. They must first gain low-level access in order to change settings in the first place, of course. For example, sometimes they will enable remote desktop assist, allowing a remote computer to take control of that device. Configuration monitoring, like log monitoring, is meant to recognize suspicious patterns and report them immediately.
Finally, this type of software can help with patch management. Security patches are very important, as they are meant to close known security vulnerabilities. Once those vulnerabilities have been announced to the public, the danger becomes even greater. However, such an announcement is necessary to make sure that everyone gets the patch. Managed firewall services will often monitor applications on the system to ensure that they aren’t missing the latest patches.
Are Managed Firewall Services Cost-Effective?
The answer to this question will depend on your situation. If your organization has a lot of sensitive data to protect or if you stand to lose a lot from a cyber-attack, managed firewall services are well worth their fees. When you consider the potential cost of a successful cyberattack, that monthly bill is peanuts in comparison.
In 2020, the average cost of a successful cyberattack was about $133,000. This total included a wide range of attacks and methods, so it is a very broad figure. Still, it gives us some idea of just how expensive one of these incidents might be. With so many hackers, scammers, and criminals trolling the internet, a managed firewall service is definitely practical and cost-effective for any large organization.
As you can see, a managed firewall service offers one big feature that standard firewalls do not. They allow for monitoring of the network, whether that be the logs, settings, update status, or anything else. Real-time monitoring will always be better than an automated tool because it is more difficult for an attacker to get past them.
An automated tool can be predicted and that means it can potentially be “tricked.” A qualified expert, however, will represent a much harder wall. If you would like to learn more about how to harden your system and get the most out of your firewalls, you can call PCH Technologies at (856) 754-7500.