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How to choose the right firewall for your middle market business

ARTICLE | March 12, 2023 | Authored by RSM US LLP

Most middle market businesses know they need a firewall but don’t always know where to start. A firewall is your company’s first line of defense against breaches. It is the first step in a necessarily layered approach to security. The firewall helps close security gaps by blocking threat actors who try to get unauthorized access to your network and internal systems.

To protect against ransomware and other targeted attacks, small and medium-sized businesses need to choose the right kind of firewall for their unique business and technical requirements,

Right-sizing your firewall

Typically, middle market businesses don’t have the in-house experience to choose the correct firewall. Specialized knowledge is needed to understand which type of firewall fits a company’s budget while still allowing for investment in other security layers.

Middle market companies need to right-size their firewalls to reduce complexity. A larger, more complex firewall, for instance, makes it difficult for small and medium-sized businesses to gain visibility into whether it is operating as it should.

Before selecting a firewall, companies should consider how many users are connected to their virtual private network (VPN). The size of their internet connection is also a consideration because smaller firewalls may not be rated for larger connections.

Firewall management

Once size and pricing have been considered, decision-making comes down to management. Middle market companies need to determine who will be responsible for firewall management: the company, a managed service provider or another third party.

Management is an aspect of firewalls your company doesn’t want to get wrong. The right rules and policies need to be set to prevent specific threats, such as ransomware. Middle market companies need a firewall that is simple to set up and manage. Cloud-based firewalls provide ease of management while delivering the levels of bandwidth and reliability companies require.

Management concerns also include updates. The firewall should be easy to upgrade without the need to do a lot of research. Some firewalls make it possible to set up update windows for automatic upgrades.

Meeting firewall challenges

Middle market companies may want to explore next-generation firewalls (NGFWs) as challenges to traditional firewalls increase. One of those challenges comes when companies create hybrid workplaces that allow employees to work both remotely and in the office. Remote workers may need a VPN, but as companies move more applications to the cloud the need for a VPN dissipates.

NGFWs address the limitations of traditional firewalls by replacing a physical appliance with firewall as a service. Updates and management are handled through a provider in the cloud, eliminating hardware costs.

Remote workers can connect to a cloud firewall, and the NGFW provides additional features that aren’t available through a traditional firewall. Because of its extra features and anti-ransomware capabilities, an NGFW is often a requirement for obtaining cybersecurity insurance.

Don’t handle your firewall alone

Due to the complexity and severity of cyberthreats, middle market companies should know if their firewall is operating effectively. Firewall as a service through a managed service provider means companies can have advanced capabilities and don’t need to go it alone.

With firewall as a service, a managed service provider manages the firewall on your behalf. The provider can assess the firewall to make sure it is configured properly, and you can focus on the business and won’t be solely responsible should a breach occur.

RSM can help your company choose, configure and manage your firewall. We have experience working with companies in many industries, so we understand how to set up firewalls to meet the security requirements of banks, schools, manufacturers and more.

As a certified Cisco partner, RSM can help you with leading solutions including Cisco Umbrella cloud and on-premises firewalls as well as easy-to-manage Cisco Meraki.

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Call us at (541) 773-6633 (Oregon), (208) 373-7890 (Idaho) or fill out the form below and we’ll contact you to discuss your specific situation.

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This article was written by RSM US LLP and originally appeared on Mar 12, 2023.
2022 RSM US LLP. All rights reserved.

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