A firewall helps keep a multitude of malware at bay, writes Ian Burns, Director at Inspired Technology Services. The network security system acts as a shield between trusted internal data and external network sources such as the internet, helping filter traffic and thwart potential breaches and cyber-attacks. Whether the network is required to power business or domestic activity, it’s vital to select an appropriate firewall system as a safeguard against nefarious practices.

The firewall selection process should be very much tailored to the user environment. For example, with 30% of UK office workers reportedly more productive when working remotely, this type of workspace relocation incurs additional security risks.  In such instances, according to networkcomputing.com, a hardware firewall solution that integrates VPNs within its framework acts as a cost-effective defence.

The same website outlines the importance of firewall solutions which alert administrators to the occurrence of largescale attacks. By notifying users a breach is in progress, firewall and router logs can be monitored to ascertain the precise nature of the attack in order to negate it and reduce the risk of revenue loss due to enforced downtime.

Increases in Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks – in which multiple compromised systems are used to target and debase a single system – present another serious security challenge. These attacks are as random as they are damaging, with administrators only becoming aware of the intrusion when bandwidth and performance are reduced and the problem has escalated to the network’s detriment.

Thankfully, firewalls can prevent DDoS violations, and when coupled with an intrusion detection system, a proven and heightened security solution is at hand. Therefore, it’s advisable to choose a firewall containing DDoS detection and mitigation functionality.

Finally, the importance of specialist support is an often overlooked consideration, particularly when it comes to firewall configuration. Incorrect installation of this must-have system leaves a network open to all manner of invasive action. Easy access to a firewall vendor is essential to effective firewall implementation. It means glitches, potential or otherwise, are quickly diagnosed and remedied before security is compromised.

Taking time to construct a firewall which is appropriate to a user’s needs is likely to provide better protection than one selected at random. With cyber-attack prevention now a matter of national security, the consequences of network security failure have never been as serious.