An introduction to firewalls …

The subject of cyber security is rarely out of the news and it seems hardly a week passes without stories of systems being hacked, companies, individuals and even states being subjected to attack. Here we’ll take a look at a part of that cyber security strategy: firewalls.

There is much to be gained from accessing and gaining valuable information from the most simple of systems right through to the most complex.

On a personal level, our computers and online transactions mean we are vulnerable to those who would use or sell our personal, credit and bank details to empty our accounts or set up bogus ones which can then be used to extract money or personal information from others.

On a company level it’s much the same story but on a grander scale with access to business dealings, contacts and personnel being a wonderful incentive to the hacker and fraudster.

Take this one step further to countries and the whole fabric of society can be affected by sabotaging power systems, traffic control, satellite technology, economies and electoral campaigns – with the focus of such claims in recent times being levelled against Russia.

Here at PC Net Solutions we regularly take the opportunity to remind you about cyber security and the simple steps to take in an attempt to stay safe. It is also important to consider the importance of firewalls.

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So, what are firewalls and what do they do?

Firewalls are still very much the HOT topic in the world of IT. They basically provide security by filtering incoming and outgoing traffic. They provide vital layers of security that can not only prevent someone from outside your system from gaining access but also help to keep sensitive information from leaking out.

A firewall is usually built in to the router which connects your computer to the internet, acting as a hardware firewall and an important shield keeping your personal or corporate information safe. Standalone firewalls are becoming increasingly popular to allow for heightened protection and segregation of systems.

The benefits of a standalone firewall is essentially damage limitation control and if something goes wrong it should not affect other users, only the standalone system. It is also less trouble to set up and manage.

The basic thing to remember is as soon as you are connected to the internet you and your company are a potential target. Every network should have firewalls fitted and, as with everything else IT, the more steps and layers of security you take to protect yourself, the safer you will be.