How does a firewall work and why is it used?

06 February 2023

A firewall is a fundamental part of your network, designed to protect your system from malicious attacks. But how does a firewall work, and what do you need to know in order to ensure that you are fully protected? In this article we’ll explore why a firewall is used and explain the methods it employs to prevent cyber breaches.

What is a firewall?

A firewall is a form of cyber security that prevents attacks from propagating to your private network. Just like a physical wall, it is used for security, to provide intrusion prevention, blocking hackers and malicious traffic from gaining access to your private network.

A firewall is an important part of your cyber security toolkit and is included in our Managed Cyber Security Services.

Why is it needed?

Unfortunately, cyber security threats are an ever present risk for all businesses, with cybercriminals developing increasingly sophisticated methods to breach the security of private networks. That’s why a firewall is used, together with other cyber security tools, as a preventative measure to defend your network from attack. Without protection, your business would be extremely vulnerable to a data breach, the consequences of which are likely to be severe.

How can it protect your business?

Your firewall is a preventative measure designed to stop harmful, unauthorised traffic from infiltrating your network in the first place. This first line of defence is an essential cybersecurity tool, especially with the rise of home and remote working.

Croft infographic explaining how firewalls work

A firewall will protect your business by:

  • Preventing unauthorised access to your network
  • Protecting your business from malicious code that could cause harm
  • Stop hackers from exploiting software vulnerabilities

The latest, next-generation firewalls offer additional functionality, such as providing a virtual private network (VPN) for an encrypted connection that your staff can use even when working remotely.

How much is firewall protection?

 Firewall costs depends on a number of factors:

  • The size of your network, and how many devices are connected
  • Whether you purchase your own firewall or use a managed service
  • Whether your firewall is part of a wider cybersecurity package

Typically, the cost to a small or medium-sized business will be in the thousands of pounds, but prices can vary widely. When weighing up how much you are prepared to spend, it’s worth reflecting on what level of protection you require for your business, and how much a good cybersecurity package is likely to save you, by preventing a devastating data breach. 

What other cybersecurity do you need to be protected from cyber threats?

A firewall is an essential preventative tool in your cybersecurity arsenal. But it can’t do the job on its own: think of it as just one layer of protection. In addition, you will need protective measures including (but not limited to):

  • Antivirus protection
  • Anti spam solution
  • Advanced Threat Protection (ATP)
  • Full Endpoint Protection (EDR)
  • Password management
  • Multi-factor authentication (MFA)
  • Data backup and disaster recovery planning
  • Cyber Essentials Certification

While your firewall is the first line of defence, these other layers reduce your risk in other ways: antivirus protection can act quickly to protect you from malware that has managed to infiltrate your network, while data backup and disaster recovery is a ‘just in case’ measure to help you recover should the worst happen.

With managed cybersecurity services from Croft, these are all part of the package. We’ll protect your network using the latest technology, so you can focus on running your business without cyber threats. Contact us to find out more.