Port-Based Firewalls: Is Your Organization's Data Truly Protected?

Monday, June 24, 2019/Categories: Business Security Services

Your company’s network security is arguably the most important part of your information security efforts. If you are still relying on a port-based firewall, however, your company’s, clients’ and employees’ information may be more at risk than you realize.

With an increase in mobile device and cloud applications, and a growing number of devices online in one form or another (the “internet of things,”) organizations face more threats than ever before from both internal and external sources. In fact, according to Cisco, the number of devices connected to the internet today is a staggering 15 billion. By 2030, the number is expected to reach 500 billion (source: Marketsandmarkets.)

Limitations in Port-Based Firewalls

Traditional port-based firewalls have been a part of most organizations’ infrastructures for decades. However, they are simply not designed to address the emerging cyber security risk and potential threat of data compromise that comes with an increasingly changing landscape in the way companies use and transmit data.

Port-based firewalls monitors a company’s incoming data and also monitor where that traffic is going. Think of a port-based firewall as a security guard at the door. Like a guard, the firewall decides to either let traffic in or out, or to deny the request. It’s generally an all or nothing approach, based on a very cursory review of network security rules. When those rules are not configured correctly, or when the firewall is configured with outdated rules, the organization’s data is at risk. Unfortunately, that is all-too-often the case.

Next-Generation Firewalls Approach Security Differently

The next-generation firewalls available today are designed to detect both known and unknown threats, including potential threats lurking in encrypted traffic. They do this, in part, by going beyond simply looking at the ports traffic is using and saying “yea” or “nay” to requests. Nextgen firewalls actually consider many different aspects such as where is the data coming from, what user it is going to, and what application is being used, rather than just reviewing the port and protocols.

It’s a much more granular approach to network security than port-based firewalls. Next-generation firewalls utilize behavioral analytics and business intelligence generated and refined over thousands upon thousands of customer deployments. For businesses, this is good news. Today’s firewalls reduce risk and can provide greater protection against a broad range of potential attacks. For example, these next-gen security solutions allow users to access data and applications based on business requirements while stopping instances of credential theft, as well as an attacker’s ability to actually use stolen credentials.

Next-generation solutions also often provide a variety of other features and benefits, including malware scanning, intrusion detection and prevention, and more.

Benefits for Businesses

The most obvious benefit of implementing a next-generation firewall solution is an improved ability to detect and prevent cyber-attacks. Next-gen security solutions work proactively to help reduce your organization’s risk, rather than being reactive as is the case with traditional port-based firewalls.

A comprehensive security solution can also help keep security operation costs in check, streamline deployment, and limit user downtime. Your network administrator will have greater visibility and control over the network, providing the threat prevention and risk detection your company, your customers, and your employees need.

Is Your Firewall Prepared to Meet the Challenges of Today – and Tomorrow?

The bottom line is this: Standard port-based firewalls simply don’t offer the protection businesses need today to prevent evolving threats. Consolidated Communications offers Cloud Secure as well as a variety of other solutions for businesses of all sizes, across industries. To learn more and to discover cost-effective ways to protect your organization’s information from risks, contact us today to learn more about CCI Security Services.

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