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Evolved Firewalls

Similar to every technology, firewalls have also changed over the past few decades.

A firewall is a security device for the network that monitors both incoming and outgoing traffic over a network and allows or blocks the network traffic according to its programmed security rules. For a quarter of a century, these firewalls have served as the first line of defense in network security. Firewalls create a barrier between secured and controlled in-house networks. They also decide whether to trust an external system or not, such as the Internet.

In modern-day firewalls, you get to see more than just a packet inspection. Because of their proven ability to block malicious traffic from accessing the corporate networks and guard the most valuable assets of organizations, firewalls have become ubiquitous throughout their IT landscapes.

How Have Firewalls Evolved Over the Years?

Firewalls were invented as a software tool to regulate access from mainly free and non-targeted network security threats. Over the years, firewalls have evolved into exclusive hardware devices. As the appliances, firewalls are enforced to adjust according to the continually rising performance demands. With the increasingly sophisticated attacks, firewalls are also required to embrace additional security functionality. With the introduction of the public and private cloud services, a division of firewalls needed to get back to their software state and virtualized form.

The contribution of a firewall towards a cyber-ecosystem has been refined with evolution. Having progressed from a simple access guard, a few forms of modern firewalls act as a highly sophisticated cyber defense system. The evolved firewalls have taken on the extremely challenging, tough, and sneaky adversaries. Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) solutions and the multi-solution Unified Threat Management (UTM) are the two examples of evolved firewalls.

The Latest Trends in Firewall Security

Modern-day firewalls, also known as next-generation firewalls at present depend more on a similar analysis of the application layer. However, evolved firewalls are more focused on deep-packet introspection. To this extent, evolved firewalls can be highly effective in the execution of different security features such as detecting and preventing intrusions, integration of user ID, firewalls for Web applications. Another latest trend in Firewall security is the integration of Virtual Private Network (VPN) services into firewalls. This has become a common practice by most enterprises because it enables off-site employees of an organization access company resources while interacting over an unprotected network such as a public Wi-Fi.

Adaptive and responsive data services are our specialty. To gain a better understanding of your network performance get a FREE Network Assessment today!

COLOCATION: LOOKING BEYOND COST

It’s hard to decipher the specific cost breakdown of colocation unless you’re already in the contract phase. To determine the best course of action we’ve come up with a few essential colocation service requirements.

For most IT department heads, working within a set budget can be accomplished quickly. The short end of the stick with this process is that you miss out on the bigger goal for your business, like security, hardware, accessibility, connectivity, and support. All of which are essential when considering colocation services. Additional cornerstone items to consider are scalability, expertise, and uptime SLAs. Here’s why:

Security
Access to the data center should be controlled and monitored using security access cards, traps, visual identification checkpoints, and biometric fingerprint scanning. Additionally, the facility should be staffed 24×7 with security to monitor the physical entire facility.

Expertise
In the event of a problem, technical support should be available to you via email or phone at all times; twenty-four hours, seven days a week, all year round.

Uptime SLAs
Downtime is more expensive than ever, both regarding revenue and reputation. Colocation providers offer built-in redundancies across systems and applications ensuring 100% uptime SLAs.

Since we’re all about the transparency, below is our top 10 frequently asked questions… They may help you out!

  1. How long have you been in business selling colocation? 
    • 2001 (16+yrs)
  2. What is your minimum colocation arrangement (per U, ¼ rack, etc)?
    • 1/3 rack
  3. Do you offer managed colocation manage a client owned server?
    • Yes
  4. Do you offer managed services for colocation clients (i.e. tape backup, firewall, load balancing, etc.)?
    • Yes
  5. Do you offer 24×7 client access?
    • Yes
  6. Is your data center(s) SSAE 18 compliant?
    • Yes
  7. What bandwidth providers are available at your data center(s)?
    • L3, GTT CL , XO
  8. What is your bottom colo price point?
    • $125.00
  9. Do you offer roof rights at any of your data centers?
    • Yes
  10. What operating systems do you support?
    • Lynix and Windows

To learn more about colocation or our managed services, click here.

Compromised Data: Important Backup Service Inclusions

It’s no secret – businesses are prime targets for ransomware.

All it takes is one infected user to bring a department or entire organization to a halt. In fact, 72% of ransomware victims are unable to retrieve or access their data once it has been compromised for up to 2-days. Moreover, a lot can happen in two days.

Here’s the down low on compromised data…

How Infections Happen

Phishing attacks, unpatched programs, compromised websites, poisoned online advertising and free software downloads are common ways that users of your business systems are exploited and how an infection begins.

Examples of User Infections

Ransomware is hard to detect. Because user files are encrypted with the infection, an IT Admin may not recognize that the malware is already inside the network until the damage is done. There are, however, a few ways a user can detect it. Some examples of these are:

  • A user can no longer open normal files
  • A user gets errors such as the file is corrupted or has the wrong extension
  • Window pop ups appear to ransomware programs that the user cannot close
  • IT admins see files in the company directory with names like ‘HOW TO DECRYPT FILES.TXT’ or ‘DECRYPT_INSTRUCTIONS.HTML.’

Business Repercussions

Aside from losing time and money, your business reputation is scrutinized. Which, in turn, can affect sales goals. Regarding data – once your server is infected your mission-critical files and applications become inaccessible and your customer’s data is no longer secure. This too can wreak havoc on your margins.

Compromised Data Solutions

IT admins can remove the machine from the network and reset the bios time to contain and eliminate the malware. For a company wide containment, especially when your anti-virus, firewall, and employee education programs fail, your best bet is to rely on a backup solution.

Not all businesses are built the same. Therefore a backup service should provide much more than just a simple file backup solution. However, there is a range of standard options that your IT staff should become familiar with when considering a backup service. Because backup services are a dime a dozen, we’ve come up with a list of items to be aware of during your review of backup providers.

Important Backup Service Inclusions To Consider Are:

  1. Limited versus Unlimited History

It is important to know the difference. A backup service that only retains a limited history may not be able to restore all of the critical files your business needs to clean up the infection. A proper enterprise-grade cloud backup service should maintain a complete history of your data, that way you can retrieve a recovery point that is reliable.

  1. Detection Ability

Some Cloud Backup Services include Anomaly Detection that alerts your IT admin when the number of “new” or “changed” files increase dramatically. This feature is important to have so you can quickly isolate a ransomware infection and recover data before the entire network is frozen.

  1. Backup Protection Coverage

An infection is not limited to just one device. To protect all of your data and all your devices from mobile phones to Exchange Servers, you should select a program that offers backup services from device-to-device.

  1. Compatibility

Not all cloud backup services are created equal. In fact, many of them have limitations. Some services do not allow file sharing or storage. So, before you pull the trigger on a service you selected, make sure your IT staff does a system compatibility check to avoid any “ooppss” moments after you have signed the contract.

  1. Fees

Some backup service plans include retrieval fees per GB. Most of the time, the service provider will maintain an uptime of nearly 100 percent; however, as part of their service agreement, you can receive credit for those occasions when you get less than 99.9 percent. Be sure to keep an eye on any notifications about interruptions.

  1. Accessibility

Accessibility is important. Being able to manage all of your settings quickly and easily provides flexibility. Most service providers offer a web browser interface giving you the ability to view alerts, load balancing, status checks, manage groups and tags, deploy app versions, view configuration details as well as events. Be sure to inquire about what monitoring systems are available.

To protect your company from data corruption invest in a cloud backup service that is scalable based on your businesses requirements.