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Managed Firewall: How Does It Benefit a Business?

Abhishek Bhargva

Telco ICT

22/08/2023

Managed Firewall

If you have a business online, you’ve probably heard of Firewalls.

At the very least, you may know that firewalls are your best chance at keeping your system safe. But does it stop there?

  • What are the different approaches to the Firewall concept?
  • Do you have to bring down the mountain alone?
  • Or can you actually outsource these processes?

This article will answer all these questions for you and more.

As your business becomes more digital-oriented, the more cyber threats you are likely to face. You try to advance your tech today, tomorrow they come up with more sophisticated tactics of malicious actors, ready to devour you at your most vulnerable point. It never stops at anything.

This is why you need to safeguard against these risks. Now is the time for your business to fortify your digital perimeters with robust security measures. For starters, a firewall is one of the fundamental pillars of network security solutions that you need to start with. So what is a firewall?

Fortifying Network Defenses: Unraveling the Essence of Managed Firewall

A firewall is like your enhanced business security guy. It acts as a virtual gatekeeper that monitors incoming and outgoing network traffic. It also blocks potentially harmful data packets while permitting legitimate communication. As good as it sounds, there’s always a catch. As cyber threats continue to evolve in sophistication, so too must the defenses your business chooses to employ. You have to stay vigilant at all times, and that is where Managed Firewall comes in.
A managed firewall is an outsourced network security option that aids in shielding data from unwanted attacks.

Let’s face it: if it was up to you to do the maintenance, you’d probably forget about it because there’s truly a lot to handle. The truth is that firewalls are not meant to be forgotten about after set up, they need constant management and maintenance.

With managed security services, your firewall is maintained and managed round the clock. You will have a person or a team of people who are configuring, monitoring, and maintaining it 24/7.

To simplify it, a managed firewall is a proactive method of continuously assuring efficiency and security by updating the firewall automatically.

Types of Firewall

Over the years, various types of firewalls have emerged, each catering to specific business needs and network architectures. From traditional packet-filtering firewalls to more sophisticated stateful inspection firewalls, and the newer application-layer firewalls, each type brings unique capabilities and levels of security. Here’s a list of the various firewalls available:

1. Circuit-level gateway

The Circuit-level gateway firewall operates at the Session Layer (Layer 5) of the OSI model. It provides an added layer of security to protect a private network from external threats.

Unlike traditional packet-filtering firewalls that work at the Network Layer (Layer 3) or the Stateful Inspection firewalls that work at the Transport Layer (Layer 4), the Circuit-level gateway focuses on managing the communication sessions between internal users and external servers or resources.

Here’s how the Circuit-level gateway firewall works:

  • Enhanced Business SecuritySession Establishment
  • When an internal user initiates a connection request to an external server, the Circuit-level gateway firewall acts as an intermediary. Instead of directly connecting to the external server, the internal user connects to the Circuit-level gateway.

  • Proxying the Connection
  • The Circuit-level gateway then establishes a separate session on behalf of the internal user with the external server. It acts as a “proxy,” representing the internal user during the communication.

  • Session Monitoring
  • Throughout the session, the Circuit-level gateway firewall closely monitors the traffic between the internal user and the external server. It examines the contents of the packets passing through it, including application-layer data, to ensure they comply with the predefined security rules.

    Advantages of the Circuit-level Gateway for Business Firewall Solutions
    Despite this firewall being present for decades, and the fact that better firewalls have come up, people still prefer running on this firewall. This is because there are many advantages that come with it. They include:

  • Enhanced Business Security
  • Circuit-level gateway firewalls operate at the Session Layer, providing a more comprehensive analysis of network traffic. This heightened security layer helps prevent cyber threats before they can breach the network, significantly reducing the risk of data breaches and other cyber incidents.

  • Cyber Threat Prevention
  • By scrutinizing application-layer data, Circuit-level gateways can identify and block malicious activities, including sophisticated application-layer attacks such as SQL injection and cross-site scripting (XSS). This proactive threat prevention enhances overall network security.

  • Firewall Performance Optimization
  • Circuit-level gateways’ streamlined proxying approach minimizes processing overhead, leading to better firewall performance and reduced latency. This optimization ensures that business networks maintain optimal speed and responsiveness.

  • Firewall Configuration and Updates
  • Managed firewall providers can efficiently configure and update Circuit-level gateways, ensuring that the latest security measures are in place to counter emerging threats. This real-time maintenance keeps businesses protected from constantly evolving cyber risks.

  • Network Security Management
  • Circuit-level gateway firewalls contribute to comprehensive network security management. With centralized logging and auditing capabilities, businesses gain better visibility into their network activities, aiding in the identification of potential security issues.

    As the Circuit-level gateway firewall evaluates traffic at the Session Layer, it can make more informed decisions about allowing or denying sessions based on specific application-layer information. This ability allows for more granular control over the types of sessions permitted, offering enhanced security.

  • Firewall Protection for Businesses
  • The proxying mechanism of Circuit-level gateways ensures that internal users’ IP addresses and sensitive information remain hidden from external servers, minimizing the risk of direct attacks on the business network.

  • No Direct Contact
  • The key advantage of the Circuit-level gateway firewall is that the internal user never directly communicates with the external server. Instead, all communication goes through the proxy, which helps in hiding the internal network’s details from potential attackers.

  • Additional Security Features
  • Some Circuit-level gateway firewalls may incorporate additional security features, such as content filtering and URL filtering, to restrict access to certain websites or content categories.

Disadvantages of the Circuit-level gateway

  • Circuit-level gateways provide no defense against data leakage from devices inside the firewall if they aren’t used in conjunction with other security solutions.
  • No monitoring of the application layer
  • changes are necessary to maintain the rules up to date.

2. Packet filtering firewall

At intersections where equipment like routers and switches operate, packet filtering firewalls operate inline.

These firewalls don’t route packets. Instead, they check each one against a list of predetermined standards such the:

  • Permitted IP addresses
  • Packet type
  • Port number
  • Other information from the packet protocol headers.

Generally speaking, difficult packets are unceremoniously dropped, which means they are not transmitted and eventually vanish from existence.

Advantages of the Packet filtering firewall

  • Simple and easy to implement.
  • Low impact on network performance.
  • Helps prevent basic unauthorized access.
  • Cost-effective solution for basic network security.
  • Provides some level of protection against known threats.
  • Requires minimal hardware and software resources.
  • Offers a first line of defense against common network attacks.
  • Can be quickly configured for specific filtering rules.
  • Suitable for small networks with straightforward security needs.
  • Transparent operation without requiring changes to the network applications.

Disadvantages of the Packet filtering firewall

Packet-filtering firewalls have some limitations that make them less effective against advanced threats. They include:

  • Limited ability to inspect packet contents for advanced threat detection.
  • Challenges in enforcing application-specific rules.
  • Vulnerable to IP spoofing attacks.
  • Difficulty in managing dynamic network environments.
  • Inability to inspect encrypted traffic.

Even though packet filtering is a cheap firewall, it may not always offer the level of security that is required for all use cases.

Packet filtering offers a fundamental level of security that can give protection against known threats for small or budget-constrained businesses.

Larger organizations can additionally use packet filtering as a layer of defense to sift through internal departmental communication for potentially hazardous content.

3. Application-level gateway

The single point of entry and exit for the network is this form of device, which is technically a proxy but is also referred to as a proxy firewall. Application-level gateways filter packets based on a variety of factors, such as the HTTP request string, in addition to the service for which they are meant, as indicated by the destination port.

Although gateways that filter at the application layer offer significant data protection, they can significantly slow down a network and be difficult to administer.
Advantages of the Application-level gateway

  • Offers in-depth application layer inspection, providing comprehensive security against advanced threats.
  • Enables granular control over specific applications, enhancing access management.
  • Provides increased protection against application-level attacks like SQL injection and cross-site scripting (XSS).
  • Supports user identification for more precise access controls and auditing.
  • Enables content filtering and data loss prevention for better business data protection.

Disadvantages of the Application-level gateway

  • It can impair the performance of networks
  • Has a greater cost than some alternative firewall alternatives
  • It requires a significant amount of work to get the most out of the gateway
  • It is not compatible with every network protocol

4. Next-generation firewall

A typical network security appliance (NGFW) combines packet inspection with stateful inspection, as well as some form of deep packet inspection (DPI), as well as other network security tools like an IDS/IPS, malware filtering, and antivirus.

DPI examines the actual data that a packet is carrying, as opposed to classical firewalls that only check the protocol header of the packet. When a packet payload is combined with additional packets in an HTTP server reply, a DPI firewall that monitors web browsing activity can determine whether the result is a valid HTML-formatted answer.

Advantages of the NGFW

  • It provides the best level of filtering by combining DPI with malware filtering and other controls.
  • Compared to other techniques, it tracks all traffic from Layer 2 to the application layer to provide more precise insights.
  • Automatic updates are possible to offer relevant context.

Disadvantages

  • Organizations must integrate NGFWs with other security systems to get the most advantage, which can be a challenging process.
  • It is costlier than other forms of firewall

5. Stateful inspection firewall

State-aware devices track whether a packet is part of an active TCP or other network session in addition to inspecting each packet. While providing better security than either circuit monitoring or packet filtering by themselves, this has a bigger negative impact on network performance.

The multilayer inspection firewall, which takes into account the flow of transactions taking place across many protocol layers of the seven-layer Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model, is another variation of stateful inspection.


Advantages

  • It checks IP addresses and payloads as well as the session as a whole for connection status to provide more extensive security
  • No need to open a lot of ports to let traffic in or out Provides a high level of control over what content is allowed into or out of the network
  • It provides effective logging abilities

Disadvantages

  • It requires a lot of resources and slows down network connectivity
  • It is more costly than alternative firewall options
  • It does not offer authentication features to verify that the traffic sources are genuine.

The usage of a stateful inspection firewall is advantageous to the majority of enterprises. These units act as a more thorough gateway between computers, other assets housed behind the firewall, and resources located outside the company. Additionally, they can be quite successful in protecting network devices from specific threats like DoS.

Managed Firewall: How Does It Benefit a Business

If you own a computer, you probably have some understanding of the value of firewalls in securing your online space.

These vital watchdogs serve as the first line of defense against potential online dangers. They guard your computer network from viruses, spyware, and hackers.

Since the majority of operating systems and reliable security software include built-in firewalls, even if you don’t actively maintain your firewall settings, there’s a good chance your computer already has access to this important security function.

A firewall is essential, but it’s just as important to make sure it’s configured correctly. This is because if a firewall is not properly maintained, it might hinder legitimate operations, producing disruptions and aggravation for users.

Why Managed Firewalls?

Many users find it difficult to navigate the complexities of firewall configuration. It’s even hard sometimes to understand when to bypass its security measures, and efficiently react to notifications.

The good news is, your company no longer needs to take on this task by itself. This is because firewall Management Services remotely manage and maintain firewalls to ensure maximum security. By partnering with dependable IT partners, you no longer need to worry about understanding the hard rock concepts of firewalls.

You do not always have to take the burden alone; you can choose to delegate the administration to experienced professionals who will do it seamlessly.

Here’s an overview of the key benefits of Managed Firewalls services:

Enhanced Business Operations.

When it comes to managed firewalls, having them controlled remotely minimizes business interruption while yet giving you the constant security you require. A remote firewall service team does more than just keep everything set up correctly. They:

  • Quickly respond to notifications and keep an eye out for any security dangers on your system.
  • Are knowledgeable about new developments in technology and any security compliance guidelines that may apply to your company.
  • Keep your software and hardware up to date.
  • Make sure you comply with all regulatory requirements while you concentrate on running your business as efficiently as possible.

Cost Effectiveness

Many firms simply cannot afford the cost of employing a professional IT team. Especially if you are a small business that is just starting out. If you are in such a situation, you do not have to forego the option of having a firewall.

You can simply hire IT professionals to set up and maintain your firewall for a low monthly fee by using a managed firewall service. This is a great way to avoid the upfront expenditures associated with buying the hardware and software necessary to build and maintain an efficient firewall.

Stop users from accessing problematic content.
Let’s face it: Most of us have been tempted to check social media while at work.

Sad for us, firewalls are made to shield us from these temptations. Given that they are frequently used to restrict access to particular websites online, firewalls have unexpectedly become a source of friction between employer and employee relations.

While employees believe that a ban on using Facebook while at work is an unwanted intrusion on their daily routines, many business owners believe that it is important to reduce the kinds of distractions that drain employee productivity.

Both sides have advantages and disadvantages, but as a business owner, you can prevent employees from unintentionally viewing a dangerous website by restricting access to all but a small number of websites.

Prevent illegal access.

The costs of a security breach are beyond the means of the majority of enterprises. However, larger companies frequently have more resources to devote to security. Unfortunately for small businesses, this might not be the case.

It can be devastating for small to mid-sized enterprises when a cyberattack compromises their IT systems. Unauthorized access to their system files may lead to the loss of critical information, the disclosure of private client data, or the compromise of other security mechanisms.

A well-managed firewall can stop this issue in its tracks. A firewall can stop remote access attempts from unauthorized users and notify your team of any attempted security breaches. This will allow your company some time to react before the matter gets out of hand.

Managed Firewalls Provide Consistent Updates

It can be hard to keep up regular firewalls on your own. This is where outsourced firewall services come in, as they help you keep up with the constant changes. The precautions put in place for network security must change along with thieves’ strategies.

With managed firewall services, you can be confident that the most recent hardware and software updates are being made on time. This provides crucial defenses against the most recent types of cyber threats that keep emerging.

You get 24/7 Personalized Support.

The major downside of having an internal firewall team is that they may not always be available to protect your systems. This could be because of the various time-consuming tech-related distractions like email difficulties and computer problems that a typical business’ in-house IT people constantly must handle.

But with Managed Firewall Services, and without having to pay for full-time IT workers, you can access a whole team of experts that are committed to protecting your network.

Members of the MSSP team often have extensive training and experience in the field of computer network protection. They are able to focus exclusively on providing network security. They also ensure that cybersecurity for businesses is taken care of around the clock.

Advantages of utilizing a managed firewall

  • Simple to Install and Manage
  • SD-WAN and firewalls are frequently used separately, however, some businesses provide integrated solutions that combine the two features into a single device. Naturally, since a managed firewall can be simply configured to run off the same box as the SD-WAN, this can save time during setup.

    With just one box and a little amount of hardware, a WAN connection and managed firewall security may both be provided.

  • Undisputed Expertise and Experience
  • First, with managed firewall services, you can feel secure knowing that your firewalls are safe and maintained by professionals. This also takes away the weight that comes with scaling and upgrading firewalls. Most businesses may find it challenging to upgrade and manage their firewalls, particularly if they lack an IT team or prior IT knowledge.

    Luckily for you, managed firewall services are here to manage all these processes for you.

  • Rapid Action
  • Threats and online attacks can be stopped in their tracks from accessing your data with the help of a controlled firewall. An expert is notified when a threat is identified and is accessible to address it at any moment during regular business hours.

    Before data is exposed to new threats, certain managed firewalls can also block so-called zero-day vulnerabilities at the edge. A zero-day vulnerability occurs when an attacker identifies a weakness and uses it to launch an attack that is not immediately noticed.

  • Advantageous in a distant working environment
  • Because of today’s dynamic remote work environment, a controlled firewall may also be quite useful. Naturally, security to keep all data and information safe is crucial when working remotely or online. Your business needs to take in securing business networks with managed firewalls.

  • It provides assistance for larger enterprises with numerous firewalls
  • For larger enterprises that might have multiple firewalls, managed firewalls might be useful. A managed firewall can assist in firewall monitoring and maintenance inside a single corporation because having many firewalls means having multiple more to handle.

    A managed firewall can also make it simpler for a company to set up fresh firewalls in several additional areas. This is advantageous for a firm that is expanding and needs more network security than ever.

Which firewall is best for your enterprise?

When choosing the appropriate kind of firewall, consideration must be given to what the firewall is protecting, what resources the company can afford, and how the infrastructure is laid out.

Finding a firewall that perfectly fits into any one category is uncommon because many firewall implementations combine features from many types of firewalls. An NGFW, for instance, might combine new capabilities with a few from stateful inspection firewalls, application-level gateways, and packet filtering firewalls.

A firewall that works well for one business might not be appropriate for another. Regardless of the type of firewalls you select, bear in mind that a poorly designed firewall may, in some cases, be worse than having none at all because it creates a dangerous false sense of security while offering minimal to no protection. Here are some major questions that you should ask yourself before anything:

  • What do the firewall’s technical goals entail?
  • Can a firewall with fewer features and capabilities perform better than one with more features and capabilities that might not be required?
  • How does the architecture of the company itself relate to the firewall?
  • Is the firewall meant to defend a web application or a low-profile service exposed on the internet?
  • What types of traffic checks are required?

Some programs might just need to categorize packets by their source/destination addresses and ports, while others could require monitoring every packet’s content.

Understanding the structure and requirements of the private network to be secured is the first step in selecting the best firewall. Additionally, it requires knowing the various firewall configurations and firewall rules that work best for the organization.

Telco ICT Managed Firewall Services

Your business must keep ahead of the curve when it comes to safeguarding its sensitive data from hostile attackers. These attackers are always trying to exploit weaknesses within networks or systems connected to the internet in any manner.

Threats are more likely to keep you awake at night because of the constant safety of your systems. However, by investing in a reputable managed firewall service provider like Telco ICT, you can rest easy knowing they have complete control over their network security. You can also access cutting-edge features like intrusion detection/prevention systems (IDS/IPS) and web filtering capabilities designed specifically for you.

This makes it easier than ever for companies all over the world to stay ahead of cybercriminals looking for easy targets online.

We offer managed firewall services that are consistently reliable and up-to-date so your company can concentrate on what it does best. You can feel secure knowing that Telco ICT is watching your traffic. If you are looking for managed firewall solutions for SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises), talk to an expert today for more details.

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