Why Small Businesses Need a Firewall?

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  • Without a firewall, there is no difference to a hacker between the “inside” and “outside” your network.
  • Block ALL traffic from top offending countries such as Russia, China and Mexico
  • 97% of Cyberattacks start with an email — firewalls can block these attacks after it reaches inside your network
  • It is the first line of defense against hackers and other unauthorized external users
  • Network firewalls are vital for you to become Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant
  • Block prohibited sites such as adult material, job search, and anything else as needed
  • Secure your remote workers and give them access to company files and resources

Aside from its people, data is often the most important part of your business; in many cases, it is your business. It needs and deserves the best protection as do your customers. This is the tip of the iceberg in why all businesses, small and large need a firewall – or often referred to as a security appliance.  Proactive Data has made it an easy choice for you personally testing and researching multiple options; after seven years, we have finally settled on the two that we feel will fit any need and importantly – any budget.

Cisco Meraki Firewall Protection

CISCO-MerakiCisco Meraki offers the only solution that provides unified management of mobile devices, Macs, PCs, and the entire network from a centralized dashboard. Enforce device security policies, deploy software and apps, and perform remote, live troubleshooting on thousands of managed devices. Its cloud-based dashboard provides complete visibility into a network’s users, devices, and applications. This provides the ability to quickly create access control and application usage policies that optimize both the end-user experience and network security.

Cisco Meraki Systems Manager provides over-the-air centralized management, diagnostics, and monitoring for the mobile devices managed by your organization — from iPads and Androids to Macs and PCs. Systems Manager monitors each of your organization’s devices, showing useful metrics such as client hardware/software information and recent location, and even lets administrators remotely lock and erase devices.

Systems Manager also makes it easy to define and deploy network settings like wireless connectivity, security settings, and remote VPN access to all devices on your network at once. Instead of manually provisioning devices for network connectivity, or relying on end-users to do so, configure settings such as WPA2-Enterprise in the dashboard, and let the cloud push the settings to end-user devices. What does all this mean? It means easily configurable secure remote access to all resources for you and your end-users (staff) or vendors (if needed).

Overall, we prefer Cisco Meraki for our clients and we sport a nice MX100 ourselves at our office and datacenter along w/ the wireless M36 and a 48 Port PoE switch, giving us full visibility into our network and the data we store for our customers (Veeam Cloud Backups).  It’s a powerful combination for any business.  At times though, we do understand budget constraints; and while Meraki is affordable in most cases, we know it may not be always – – that is why we also offer the Watchguard devices.

WatchGuard Firewall Protection

WatchGuardThis line features the same next-generation technologies, but at a slightly lower price point.  Same protection, just somewhat less visibility out of the box and a touch more complex in setup, in our opinion.  You cannot go wrong with either choice (Meraki or WatchGuard) and actually, you don’t save a lot of money until you get into the higher-level model.  Down in the SMB space, both the more entry-level models are similarly priced! The main difference in any model of a security appliance is the amount of traffic it can handle, while still running all of its security modules (geo location block, threat protection, content filtering, etc.) – having said that, it’s not until around the 300MB down and higher capacities when we start to see a large separation in cost for the MX series security appliances versus the T or M models of the Watchguard firewalls. So, the point is, if your company doesn’t have or need high bandwidth for internet (200MB or less – which most SMB this is plenty) then you are fairly open to choose either way and keep the spend about the same – just be careful where you buy from!  There can be vast differences in cost from reseller to reseller (check with us first, of course, 😀).

WatchGuard’s Firebox T40 brings enterprise-level network security to small branch offices, in line with the reality of today’s increasingly distributed work style. Firebox T40 appliances support the full Total Security Suite, bringing the breadth of WatchGuard’s security services to our most popular model of tabletop appliance for the first time.

Firebox T40 gives you a powerful tool for administering and enforcing policy across your extended network, allowing you to bring full UTM protection to branch offices and small retail sites for tighter security. With full support for the Total Security Suite, the T40 makes it possible to protect your smaller locations with advanced security services like Cloud sandboxing, AI-powered anti-malware, threat correlation, and DNS-filtering.

Firebox T40 appliances are also available in a wireless model that includes optional dual-band 802.11ac technology for a faster wireless network connection, improved reliability, and expanded range on 2.4 GHz or the 5 GHz band. Segmenting traffic for users and guests is easy with the built-in wireless guest network.

Thank you for reading. Please feel free to call us for your free firewall consultation or with any other questions!