Times have changed and the shift towards cloud computing and the usage of mobile has transformed the traditional perimeter. The employment of perimeter-focused security strategies by a lot of businesses means the nature of network security has also changed. A firewall as a service solution transfers the firewall functionality to the cloud, allowing businesses to reap a series of security benefits.
Although you might want to cut costs in your business and keep the same firewall forever, this isn’t feasible and could leave your organisation wide open to attack. An outdated firewall, a vendor no longer supporting your firewall, a licence renewal, a need to support more remote staff or other changes in business needs are all indications you should upgrade your firewall.
Below is a look at the issue of replacing firewalls, what to consider when replacing a firewall and what can happen if you don’t replace your firewall in time.
Knowing when to replace your firewall
A firewall is an integral part of any network security system. An organisation should never try to drag out the life of the firewall. When it’s time for an upgrade, the business needs to get right on it, especially if it’s one that’s prone to cyberattacks or security breaches. Cyberthreats are becoming ever more sophisticated, which means businesses need a likewise sophisticated firewall to stand up to the threat adequately and shield them from it.
The question is: how long does a firewall last? The answer is anywhere between three and five years. While the firewall is serving out its shelf life, you’ll feel free of worries. As soon as it expires, it’s time to act. If you don’t, the worries set in. The cybercriminals won’t waste any time either, so even though sorting out a firewall upgrade may feel overwhelming, it won’t feel half as much so as the overwhelm a security breach could cause you. As the firewall moves towards the end of its useful life, get ready to upgrade.
What to consider when replacing a firewall
Cybersecurity is complex, which makes choosing the right upgrade complex as well. There are several things to consider when replacing your firewall. Here are some of the main considerations:
If you’re going to choose the right firewall, you have to understand the load the firewall is going to protect. How many devices are going to connect to the internet? Workstations, servers, VOIP phone systems, security cameras that use cloud storage and guest devices are all elements you’ll have to take into account.
If more devices connected to the internet than the firewall can handle, the network speed will slow down and connections will drop out… highly frustrating. If you anticipate your business is going to grow, it’s best to advise your firewall service provider so they can advise you on the right firewall for the organisation.
Your organisation’s internet service will determine the type of firewall recommended to you. If the firewall isn’t powerful enough, internet speeds will drop, especially if lots of devices have connected to it. Your internet service provider (ISP) and type of service (fibre, cable, etc) will also influence the recommendation. When arranging the upgrade, you may also have to provide details of your static IP address.
Firewalls must be placed in well ventilated rooms in which the temperature doesn’t exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit (26.6 degrees Celsius). They’re sensitive to heat, heavy dust and humidity. Ideally, air should be able to move freely around the unit.
Current network equipment
A firewall service provider will require all the credentials of your existing network equipment so that the firewall and the systems on your network can all communicate with each other correctly. Switches, routers, on-site servers, cloud servers, VOIP phone systems, IP camera systems are all elements of which a provider will need the details. If you have any prepaid contracts with vendors, the provider will require this information as well.
The consequences of not replacing a firewall on time
Failing to replace your firewall in time is not a risk you or any other business should run. Here are some of the risks and consequences of not replacing your firewall in time:
Firewall vendors are constantly adding new features to protect their customers against the evolving threats. These updates aren’t like the definition updates, which just update what’s already there. By not upgrading to the most recent updates, your organisation is running major risks of data breaches.
A firewall is just one element in the overall network security system. However, it must be able to interact with all the other elements in it. If it can’t, this can erode the value of all your other safety measures. Upgrades often contain fresh integration points with other products.
A battle against time
The longer you leave it to update your firewall, the more pressure you place on your cybersecurity team as the knowledge gap grows. This will have a ripple effect throughout the rest of your security strategy, leaving you more exposed to cybersecurity threats in the long run.
In a world in which organisations are under the constant threat of cyberattacks, it’s important to keep your firewall and other network security devices and systems, up to date. Not only will the firewall help you to protect your business, but also give you peace of mind as you operate. Hacker’s love nothing more than security flaws and an outdated firewall.