Firewalls: The Uncomplicated Low-Down

Simplicity is key when setting up a network firewall.

As a junior IT tech, I have watched (and envied) other network engineers work on firewalls. I finally got around to configuring my first firewall around 12 years ago. I still remember it like yesterday.

Firewalls are one of several layers of technology that keeps our networks secure; they are not the only component but a key component. The firewall (when configured correctly) gives us control over the traffic that enters and exits the network. It can be as simple as splitting the network into separate broadcast domains (VLANS) or more complicated issues such as Traffic Filtering or NAT (Network Address Translation).

Which firewall should you use? That depends on your budget and preference; however, the key lies in the firewall’s configuration. A very expensive firewall with a poor (or incorrect) configuration does not provide more protection to the network than its cheaper counterpart.

What makes a great firewall? Simplicity. And it would help if you got the basics right. Lots of firewall rules and complicated configurations might seem impressive at first glance, but they often lead to security flaws since there are more things to remember and more places where things can go wrong in the long run.

First things first, get the basics right! By simply changing the default login, password, and port, you have eliminated 90% of the hackers trying to get into your firewall. As for the remaining 10%, they probably have a more profitable target to hack than your network.

The above might be slightly oversimplified, but I think you get the point.

Serve IT includes the firewall hardware, configuration, ongoing support and network monitoring as part of our internet connectivity packages for office and commercial properties. Most ISPs will supply the internet connection and leave it up to the client to manage it. Serve IT both supplies and manages your internet connection, ensuring our customer networks stay safe and secure and run at optimal speed.

Talking about speed, do you really need a 500Mbits connection at the office? We will tackle this one in the next post.