As a business owner, you know that a firewall is a must have for a secure network. In all likelihood your business network is equipped with at least one firewall. What you may not realize is that it is also important to keep your firewall up-to-date to avoid problems and maximize your security.

How Your Firewall Protects Your Network

Your firewall is the device that bridges the connection from your internal network to the outside world. Anything you do that connects to the outside world (e-mail, accessing the internet) goes through this firewall before your data reaches its destination. Conversely, anything received from outside your network (e-mail, remote access, and handheld device communications) goes through the firewall before the data reaches your network.

Your firewall is configured with a set of rules which, depending on the configuration, allow communications in or out, or block them altogether. Essentially, the firewall acts as a security guard, checking everyone’s credentials before authorizing access in or out of your network.

Old Firewall = Lowered Productivity in Your Business

An older firewall can cause slowdowns in all of your day-to-day business functions that rely on the internet (e-mail in, accessing websites, handheld device usage, cloud / hosted applications). This is because the demands put on firewalls to perform their “security guard” jobs are ever increasing due to faster internet access, faster computers and increased internet usage.

Think of one club doorman checking IDs for 100 patrons a night, 3 years ago. Now he suddenly needs to check for 500 patrons – it’s going to take him a lot longer to determine who is eligible to get through the door.

Essentially firewall hardware gets faster concurrently with the processing power of desktops. So a computer built 3 years ago, is much slower than one built today. Similarly, firewalls built 3 years ago are much slower than those manufactured today.

As your firewall ages, these slowdowns will become increasingly noticeable, affecting the productivity of your staff who rely on the internet to do their jobs.

An Old Firewall Is Inching Your Door Open to Hackers

The software of older models can’t provide the same level of security as the newer models. Further, hackers are constantly finding new techniques to attack your network and these older firewalls have a harder time keeping up or may not be able to detect the latest attack on your network. This can result in stolen data and disabling viruses.

How to know if it’s time to upgrade

  • Is the latest security against hackers and infections important to you?
  • Is it important that your staff have the very fastest possible access to the internet (this would include e-mail flow, downloading of attachments, and access to hosted applications).
  • Are you paying good money to your internet provider for fast service? If you want to get the most from your current internet service, you may be unable to due to the age of your firewall. So if you are paying for 15mbps download (which is reasonably fast) this speed could be considerably compromised while your network is at its busiest because the older firewall hardware can’t keep up with demands.

If You Use Video, that is a VERY Good Reason to Upgrade Your Firewall

If your company relies on video via training or video conferencing, the load of these types of applications is quite intense and puts a lot of load on your network. Video usage is where you’ll see the biggest improvement with an upgrade to a newer firewall.

If security and the best possible performance of the internet is important to you and your business, Technical Action Group is here to help. Just give us a call at 416-489-6312 to discuss your network options.