If you left your windows open and door unlocked, you might not be totally surprised if someone broke into your home. The same analogy holds for your company's cybersecurity. When you leave ports between your internal network and your firewall open, you shouldn’t be surprised when thieves access your valuable data and inflict costly ransomware.
To keep your business safe from these types of cyberattacks, you need to closely monitor the ports you use. By regularly evaluating which ports are open, which ports you use and which ports should be closed, you tighten your security and lessen your vulnerability attack. Keep your business firewall secure by implementing a port protection plan.
What is a Firewall?
A firewall is a security barrier between the internet and your private network. It protects your network’s software and hardware from unauthorized outside access and attack. A firewall operates on preset rules and will block out “packets” of malicious data trying to enter. Once data enters your network, an effective firewall can further filter it to ensure your safety.
Different types of firewalls - either via software or hardware - offer varying degrees of security:
- Packet filtering firewalls are the most basic firewalls but are still effective. They check the source IP against the destination IP, like a conductor checking your train ticket. They are limited in that they don’t examine the actual data being transferred.
- Circuit-level gateways perform similarly in that they conduct a single check but with a greater level of security. A circuit-level gateway acts as an intermediary that handles the data transfer and keeps the destination hidden from the sender.
- Stateful inspection is a higher-level firewall that examines packets more thoroughly. Like a bouncer, a stateful inspection firewall checks the source and destination, the connection and the state of the packets being transferred before allowing them to go through.
- Proxy server firewalls offer the highest level of security against internet attacks. They create a “proxy” firewall that accepts and examines packets before allowing them into your internal network. A proxy server is like a customs officer who carefully examines data before letting it pass through your gate.
What are Firewall Ports?
Your business doesn’t exist in a firewall-protected vacuum. To access the internet, exchange data and conduct business, you need “ports” between your internal network and the outside world. The way you achieve this is by opening ports through your firewall.
Firewall ports are necessary, but if not effectively monitored and managed, they can become vulnerable to outside malware. No matter what type of firewall your business uses, you’ll need a program in place to inventory the ports going through it. The ports you use need to be constantly monitored so that ransomware and other threats don’t get. Your program also needs to monitor and close unused ports before they can become a liability.
How to Protect Your Business Firewall Ports
Well-managed firewall settings need to be reviewed monthly. Unfortunately, many businesses don’t have the time or resources for a regular port management program. Others simply overlook this important task.
A proactive IT firm can monitor your ports to ensure your firewall isn’t breached via an unused opening. Good cyber hygiene requires diligence and a system of regular checks to prevent cyberattacks and ransomware from entering through your ports.
An IT firm will also track current cyber threats to proactively secure your business against them. They can close non-essential ports and secure those you do use. Only the IP addresses you authorize will be allowed. Without an in-house IT specialist, it can be difficult to achieve this level of protection.
An IT expert can also segment your LAN (land area network) so that if malware does enter your system, it can be easily contained without corrupting your entire network. They can also set up an IPS (intrusion protection system) that examines network traffic, identifies vulnerabilities and records threats.
Enforce Your Closed Ports
Firewalls require a diligent administrator to properly install and monitor them. To ensure that your business has a strong and effective firewall without vulnerable ports, contact Thriveon to assess your network today. We provide airtight cybersecurity and business firewall support for businesses.