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Technology We’re Thankful For: Firewalls


Firewalls have become so commonplace that they are often overlooked for the amazing technology that they are. So, for Thanksgiving holiday week, we’re pausing to show our gratitude for firewalls and all that they do for us.

Making Your Life Easy

Firewall manufacturers continue to find new ways to defend against the bad guys. For that, we’re incredibly thankful because the more efficient they make firewalls, the fewer issues we’ll have with security.

For instance, Palo Alto Networks firewalls actually learn from your traffic, as well as every other Palo Alto firewall in the world. Yes. Let’s say your Palo Alto firewall comes across a file that it doesn’t recognize as being malicious, but it might be. It sends it up into the public cloud for Wildfire analysis. That’s something to be thankful for and is just plain cool.

And, we’re just as thankful for the little guys, too. You probably aren’t running Palo Alto on your home network, and that’s fine. We’re glad that manufacturers have made routers with plug-and-play firewall technology. They’re feature-rich for those who know the dark art of router firewall management.

Otherwise, you’d be spending even more time serving as tech support for your friends and family.

Protecting End Users from Themselves

We’ve all interacted with that one end user who pretty much exists as a living example of what not to do with technology. They open suspicious emails in blissful ignorance. They visit dubious websites, take the click bait, and probably even have their passwords on a Post-It note stuck to the underside of their keyboard.

This is why we’re thankful for firewalls.

Firewalls mitigate malware and viruses with an efficiency that makes our lives truly better, not to mention safer.

Whether it’s malware that originates from the outside, or one of your users that accidentally introduces a virus to the network, your firewall and router detect this malicious software at some level.

We love you, too, anti-virus software and email filters, but we’re really thankful for malicious traffic detection. Well played, team.

If you don’t have these most fundamental of features enabled (or you want to make your network more secure), Keith Barker has a CompTIA Security+ course that will get you squared away.

Protecting Your Data from End Users

Unfortunately, everyone seems to want to compromise your system. Everyone knows the rules, but it’s just so much easier to break them. You’re usually in a tough role because you not only have to protect your end users from themselves, but also your system and data.

For that reason, we have to thank SSL.

The past several years have seen a much higher adoption of SSL and encrypted data. What was once considered a requirement only for sensitive information, is now a must-have. If you support a server on SSL, then you have routers that support inbound encryption, but you also want outbound data encrypted.

Thank you, SSL. You’re the best.

If you really want to unleash the power of encryption, you might want to take a dive into Cisco CCNA Security training.

Protecting Your Remote Employees

While remote work is the on the rise, offsite employees still only represent less than half of the U.S. workforce — for now. We are especially thankful for firewalls for a couple reasons. First, they make remote work possible. Second, they enable you to fix stuff without being in the office.

Without firewall VPNs (or your VPN solution of choice), we wouldn’t be able to safely access sensitive company information offsite. Thank you, firewalls for unshackling us from the confines of the office.

That unshackling goes for you, too. It’s not easy being an administrator for a large corporate network, but secure access from anywhere makes your life easier during the holidays. Without it, you won’t be able to remote into your control center to identify issues.

But, seriously, why does everything seem to go wrong when you’re not in the office?

Remember, if you’re looking for an upgrade and plan to reduce overhead during the holidays, make sure you test and integrate early. If that’s the case, our (ISC)2 CISSP 2015 training is just the thing to ensure your upgrade goes according to plan.

There is an abundance of technology that makes our lives easier, but we are particularly thankful for firewalls this year.

Learn more about a variety firewalls including Palo Alto Networks Firewall, F5 BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager, Cisco CCNA Security, and Cisco CCNP Security.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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