Why Small Businesses Need Firewall?

By Chan Wern Shen

4 Minutes Read

  • Small businesses are often targeted by cyber criminals because they have weaker security measures compared to larger companies.
  • Firewalls are an essential tool for protecting your business from cyber attacks by controlling incoming and outgoing traffic on your network.
  • Choosing the right firewall for your business can be difficult, but there are many options available that offer robust security features at an affordable price point.

As a small business owner, you might not think that cyber threats are a major concern for you. After all, why would a hacker waste their time trying to target your business when there are much bigger fish to fry? Unfortunately, this kind of thinking is what makes small businesses particularly vulnerable to cyber attacks. 

Statistics from the Malaysian Digital Economy Corp (MDeC) estimates that cyber attacks are costing local SMBs up to RM51 billion in losses, and with 84% of SMBs reportedly experiencing cyber threats in the past year, it's fair to say that cyber attacks are an incredibly common occurrence. In fact, 76% of respondents in their study indicated that they have been attacked more than once in the year!

Without adequate protection, your business could become the victim of a devastating data breach, causing damage that could take years to repair.

What is a firewall? 

In its basic form, a firewall is a network security system that monitors and controls incoming and outgoing traffic from your computer network based on a set of rules. In other words, it acts as a barrier between your internal network and the outside world, filtering out any traffic that doesn't meet your security requirements.

For example, if an unauthorised person - like a hacker - is trying to access your files, he will be denied entry by the firewall.

Firewalls can be hardware-based or software-based. Hardware firewalls are standalone devices that are installed between your network and the internet, while software firewalls are installed on individual devices, such as laptops or servers.

Firewall in Cyber Security

Firewalls play a crucial role in protecting your business from cyber attacks. By controlling incoming and outgoing traffic, they can prevent hackers from accessing your network and stealing valuable data. Firewalls can also be used to block access to specific websites or applications, helping to protect your business from a wide range of threats, including malware, and phishing attacks. 

Malware is the most common type of cyber attack and its attacks can range from sending annoying pop-ups on your screen, to causing file corruption. However, in 2021, ransomware attacks became increasingly potent and hit the SMB circle hard.

When infected with ransomware, you’ll lose all access to your computer. Your files will get encrypted by the hacker, and most functionality will be lost. The only way to recover your data will be to pay outrageous amounts of money to the hacker through untraceable methods. 

By ignoring the use of firewalls in your cyber security plan, you could potentially risk losing confidential customer data, sensitive financial data and worst of all - any digital IP that’s stored on your machines!

FIrewall in Network Security

Besides looking after the security needs of individual machines, firewalls also work to protect your office network from threats and attacks too.  

Network attacks like DDoS attacks are designed to flood your work network with unreadable data, causing your network to slow down significantly while it tries to understand the foreign data and translate it into something meaningful. In some cases, this overload of data can be so intense that it shuts down your entire business network, leaving all the connected devices rendered useless for the duration of the attack.

A network firewall is a type of firewall that is designed to protect an entire network from such attacks, and it can be used to control traffic between different parts of your network, as well as between your network and the internet. Network firewalls are typically hardware-based, and are installed at the edge of your network, where they can filter out any traffic that doesn't meet your security requirements.

They are more complicated to set up than software firewalls, as these devices interface with physical elements in your office like network cables. They are also often targeted at enterprise customers who have dedicated IT resources in-house to maintain these hardware. This makes it rather difficult for SMBs to justify using them due to the obvious cost and manpower constraints attached with them.

The Best Firewall for Small and Medium Businesses

Choosing the right firewall for your business can be a daunting task. There are many different software and hardware options available, each with their own set of features and price points. 

When selecting a firewall for your business, it's important to consider your specific needs and budget. Look for a firewall that offers robust security features, such as intrusion detection and prevention, malware scanning, and content filtering. You may also want to consider a firewall that includes additional features, such as virtual private network (VPN) capabilities, which can help to secure remote access to your network.

When we created Audra Business, we focused on the specific needs of SMBs. We understood that introducing a new solution to the mix - no matter how essential it was to cyber security - would be a daunting task. We also realised that most SMBs did not typically have a dedicated IT person to install, set up and maintain a firewall.

That’s why we created the Just One Tap philosophy when setting it up.

  1. Plug and play setup

    Opening the Audra Business box, you will see the Audra device, an instruction manual and a power adaptor. Setup is easy, and can be done in a matter of minutes by following the handy instruction guide. No server racks needed - just a small space next to your router will suffice.
  2. Block unauthorised access

    The first step towards protecting your network is turning on the security. Log on to the Audra Dashboard (via mobile app or browser), and navigate to the Settings menu. Enter the Security submenu and turn on features like Strict Blocking Mode and Prevent DDoS for maximum protection. If you use VPN in your network, then turn on VPN Passthrough to allow specific allowances in the firewall to accommodate this need.


  3. Create groups

    Group office devices into the appropriate groups for easy group-wide rules management. At Audra HQ, we have separate groups for our sales and marketing teams, our admin and finance teams, our management team, and a single group for all our IoT devices. This allows us to quickly set and manage group wide rules which we will discuss next.
  4. Create rules

    The most important element of owning a firewall is using the features to their full extent. Setting up specified rules is an example of this as it lowers instances of malware / ransomware downloads and can minimise phishing attacks.
    In the Groups menu, pick a specific group. Now you can set detailed rules such as category blocking, website and app blocking and whitelisting with Just One Tap.
  5. Analytics

    Not convinced that firewalls are protecting you? Just take a look at the Audra Dashboard Highlights section, and you might be shocked to see the amount of threats that Audra prevents on a daily basis. We further break this number down by amounts of Adware, Malware and DDoS attacks.
    For a more granular report, navigate to the Reports tab and you can quickly identify if there is an infected machine on your network, or if one of your employees is deliberately trying to access blocked content.

In conclusion, if you own a small business, it's essential to take cyber security seriously. While you may not have the same level of resources as larger companies, there are still steps you can take to protect your valuable data. Implementing a firewall is a crucial first step in safeguarding your network from cyber threats.

By controlling incoming and outgoing traffic, firewalls can prevent hackers from accessing your network and stealing sensitive information. They can also block access to dangerous websites and applications, reducing the risk of malware infections.

When selecting a firewall for your business, it's important to choose a solution that meets your specific needs and budget. Look for a firewall that offers robust security features and is easy to manage and maintain. With the right firewall in place, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that your business is protected from cyber threats.

So, if you're a small business owner looking to improve your cyber security posture, consider investing in a firewall today. With the right solution in place, you can rest assured that your valuable data is safe from harm.

You can learn more about Audra Business by clicking here.

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