Running a business is challenging enough, but the reality is that increasing your database of clients and promoting your products or services is not all that you have to worry about. One of the top priorities for businesses, no matter how big or small, is protecting the organization from malicious attacks and cyber crime.
Although small and medium-sized businesses often assume that they are not attractive enough for hackers as they are not considered that influential and large, this is quite the opposite in reality.
Nearly 50% of data breaches around the world involve small or medium businesses. This means that investing in a high-quality, reliable, and suitable security and protection system is essential. But what can you do to protect your small to medium-size network and avoid data theft and unauthorized intrusions?
In this article, we’ll look at firewalls for SMBs
Choosing a firewall to protect your business
One of the best ways to guarantee that your business is safe and secure is to use a high-end firewall solution. Some solutions come in the form of firewall hardware appliances like routers but there are also others that are created based on firewall software apps. However, there are a number of different firewall types and different products available on the market.
The right choice of a firewall will depend on the type of business that you are running, your requirements, budget, and other factors. There are solutions specifically designed to meet the needs of smaller and medium-sized businesses. When looking for a firewall, it’s recommended to consider the following factors:
Consult a specialist for the right sizing. One of the first things that you’ll need to think about is whether you can afford to install and maintain the firewall solution without this investment causing trouble for your normal business operations.
Think about what level of customization and configurability your business will need. There are companies that offer a preset configuration of the firewall, while others will offer more freedom to personalize the settings in the way that is best for your business. Keep in mind that the personalization will require an experienced and trained employee from your team or an external party.
Check a demo to see how easy it is to use and manage the firewall to detect cybersecurity threats and attacks, to view reports, and use analytics. As a small or medium-sized business, it’s normal that your IT team won’t have all the free time in the world to go through lengthy reports. Make sure this information is available in quicker formats.
Setup and Implementation
Check the setup costs in advance as these can be quite high depending on the vendor.
Some of the main features you should be on the lookout for are intrusion detection, anti-malware protection, deep packet inspection, load balancing, content filtering, and VPN capabilities.
Most companies prefer to rely on next-generation firewalls due to their advanced features, we’ll look more closely into them below.
The top firewall solutions for SMBs
Going through this decision-making process for the first time could be quite stressful. To make things easier for you, we’ve prepared a list of the best firewall products designed for small and medium-sized businesses.
CISCO Meraki MX
This firewall solution is ideal for organizations that are not very heavy on data and are not very exposed to data threats. The CISCO Meraki MX is a basic firewall but still utilizes the Firepower/Sourcefire snort engine, on top of that it is straight-forward to set up and with cloud-based management. The fact that it is extremely easy to use and quick to set up, not demanding any particular skills or experience is good on one side, it lowers both your capital and operational expenses, however that brings also a negative side – it is not so tunable as others in that market, most of the settings are refused to a simple slider (on and off).
Features: Meraki MX is capable of providing protection for any device in your company, along with your colleague’s home offices.
It offers features like content filtering, intrusion prevention, and anti-malware. It’s simple to connect to a protected private tunnel thanks to its Auto VPN feature.
However, there are two main drawbacks.
First, its pricing model is subscription-based, requiring users to pay for a license for every new device used. In addition, it doesn’t offer a lot of flexibility in terms of configuration options and tuning.
Fortinet FortiGate is what is called a next-generation firewall. This type of solution is the perfect mix of traditional firewall features and innovative and advanced capabilities. An NGFW has the ability to inspect and detect both internal and external threats and offers a range of additional features that are not included in traditional firewall solutions.
Fortinet FortiGate is a preferred product precisely because it is a next-generation firewall. It provides deep packet filtering, meaning that your network is kept even more secure, allowing your business to focus on other priority tasks and activities. Hackers nowadays are more advanced and sophisticated than ever and a standard firewall may not be enough to protect your data. Next-generation firewalls, however, can do that and much more.
This product is relatively affordable and extremely precise. Some of its features include advanced reliability, lower power consumption, and system-on-a-chip security processors, which lead to more free space available. However, its disadvantage is that it’s a bit complex to work with and it certainly requires an expert or trained individual to maintain it.
Palo Alto’s Next-Generation Firewall
Next up, another NGFW that is extremely suitable for today’s dynamic and multi-layered business world. With the addition of the new PA-400 series, Palo Alto has closed its gap into the mid-sized company market. Palo Alto’s NGFW offers cloud-based operations that make it a perfect choice if you want to share files online. Considering the number of remote workers most companies have nowadays, it’s essential to rely on a firewall that offers support for this type of integrated network. This will allow your company to stay safe no matter where your employees are.
With this solution, you can rest assured that any data that goes back and forth between your employees remains safe and protected. It provides site-to-site VPN tunnels offering a perfect connection to your computer’s cloud storage system. This means that even if you’re relying on public clouds to get your services across to your clients, you can still enjoy high-quality security.
You can be extremely flexible with this solution and can design your own workload types such as container trust zones to provide specific security for certain types of information. You can quickly customize the features to best suit your organization.Also, the new licensing model that Palo Alto offers, allows companies to dynamically move licenses between devices and features as needed by the business and the growth of the company.
Palo Alto firewalls as the market leader in network and IT security and offer best-of-class defence against all kinds of modern threats. They are easy to configure, despite needing some previous experience and very stable. They have best in market Technical support and services. The only negative thing about them is the price, but if you size your devices correctly and purchase only the needed licenses they can be competitive to others in that field.
SonicWall is another excellent product on the firewall market that is extremely suitable for small businesses, especially if you’re selling services online or manage customer data. As a smaller business, you may not be ready to invest in the big names but you still don’t want to make any compromises with the quality.
SonicWall is considered an entry-level firewall solution that is designed to meet the needs of smaller businesses that deal with a lot of data. The product offers a simple setup that will only take a few minutes and one of its biggest advantages is its single-pass deep packet inspection, which a lot of users are fond of.
This firewall comes with an integrated Wi-Fi option and a lot of different versions for small businesses based on their needs.
Watchguard Firebox T40-W
This solution is perfect for 20 users and is suitable for small businesses that have an extensive network that is always busy. You can create a separate guest WiFi network for guests, making sure that internal traffic and external traffic that your company guests are using are always kept separate to prevent any risks.
You can enjoy up to 1Gbps basic firewall throughput, 30 mobile VPN tunnels for remote security, and up to 500,000 connections at once. This product is considered one of the best SMB firewalls which provides excellent cybersecurity and simple network management tools. Keep in mind that this product is among the ones that are high up on the price scale and you need to factor in the costs of keeping your license active.
We’ve come to the end of our list of top firewalls for SMBs. Although there are a few traditional products listed here, we highly recommend that you choose a next-generation firewall for your business security due to the vast range of added benefits and the certainty that no malicious attacks will penetrate your network.
Choosing and maintaining your next-generation firewall
Selecting the right NGFW for your business is hard but maintaining it and making sure it’s running to its full potential is even harder. Thankfully, you can rely on service providers like Advanced Firewall Solutions who can take that burden off your shoulders. Our service will help you lower your costs, ensure maximum protection, and increase your overall ROI. We can offer help with firewall scoping and design, implementation processes, migration to an NGFW if you are currently using a traditional firewall, and more.
Get in touch with us and let our experts help you ensure 100% security for your small or medium-sized business.