Is Your Firewall Hurting Your Business? Here Are Some Ways to Tell

Many companies make the mistake of believing a firewall is a “set it and forget it” type of network security. In fact, a firewall requires constant maintenance and updating in order to protect your company from cyber threats and data breaches. Below are some signs that your firewall is not properly protecting your company’s best interests or your sensitive data.  You Don’t Have Any Traffic Visibility No matter the size of your company, whether you have only one computer connected to your network or you have dozens, it is critical that you have access to network traffic reports. You must be able to prioritize applications that are important to running your business while limiting those that might have a negative effect on productivity, but if you can’t see who is accessing what, this is impossible. What’s more, without this comprehensive visibility, there’s no way for you to know if you are complying with local and federal regulations.  You’re Spending Too Much Money on Infected Computers  In 2017, a study conducted in the UK pointed out that companies spent an average of seven full workdays each month on identifying and repairing computers that had been infected with some sort of malicious software or virus. The costs associated with paying someone to spend this much time repairing computers on your network can be astronomical, and over time, it can really tap into your bottom line. For this reason, businesses of all sizes should carefully consider the benefits of outsourcing their entire IT department to trusted professionals. It costs less and provides better peace of mind.  Performance and Productivity are Lacking Another good sign that your network firewall is causing more problems than it solves is a noticeable lack of performance from your network. If your network is slow despite a good internet connection, this typically indicates an overloaded firewall. In other words, there is too much traffic attempting to pass through the device or the firewall isn’t rated high enough for the traffic you have. If you have a lot of remote workers, your firewall may not be capcable of handling all of the VPN connections. At this point, you can either completely overhaul your IT infrastructure to allow for more traffic, or you can change the features of your firewall so that more traffic can come and go as needed at the expense of greater risk. Neither of these is a good option for many companies, but there is an alternative: outsourcing your IT department altogether.  The Firewall Isn’t as Effective as it Should Be  Finally, perhaps the most common sign that your firewall is hurting your business is a lack of effectiveness. Simply put, if computers continue to become infected or if employees continue to access websites that you thought you blocked, this is indicative of a serious issue – and one that can frustrate business owners who are not as familiar with network security as they should be. The best way to resolve this issue is to hire IT professionals to configure your firewall properly, but it can be expensive to add another person to the payroll. Outsourcing these tasks is far more cost-effective, and when you choose the right managed IT provider, you can feel confident that your configuration will always be correct.  Most companies don’t spend much time thinking about their firewalls until a serious problem arises. If you have noticed things like repeated malware or virus infections, a lack of network performance and employee productivity, or even problems with the configuration of your firewall, it is important to address them right away to protect the integrity of your company’s network. 

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