Cybersecurity Insight

Shifting Thoughts on Firewalls

15 Jul

Firewalls are par for the course when it comes to discussing cyber security protection. From households to businesses, they’re considered to be fairly simple and easy solutions to combat cyber security attacks. The types of attacks are becoming more unique and greater in quantity, meaning that groups are realizing they need more protection than just a firewall, and have also begun to question the real benefit it brings when used as the only point of cyber security protection on a network.

Let’s start with the basics – what exactly is a firewall, and what does it do? A firewall is a piece of equipment that blocks any incoming actions it deems malicious while allowing verified network users to interact as they so choose. And, for a time, this system worked – the same attacks would move across the Internet, meaning a firewall didn’t have to learn anything new and take time to mold itself accordingly. Once the attacks became more vicious and unique, firewalls were unable to provide the security from the past. So while firewalls are a good first step in any cyber security plan – big or small – they don’t learn from new attacks or protocols.

However, there is a new standard being set for firewalls that will really change the game in the cyber security world. Artificially intelligent machines are becoming more popular, though they are still very much in their infancy, and companies are banking on their continued growth. One virtual machine that takes its firewall capabilities a step further operates by essentially creating a new “space” for each action taken by a user on the network. If, within that space, a link is clicked on that is deemed malicious, the attack itself cannot go any further and is contained. It is a small but significant difference from the way a firewall operates and could pose a major shift within the cyber security industry.

This article is not saying that firewalls are unnecessary; instead, it is instigating a shift in the thought process of anyone implementing a cyber security protection plan. Firewalls are absolutely an important part of any plan for companies big or small. However, to say that they are able to protect an entire network on their own is not a valid statement by any means. Combined with an experienced and trained team of professionals, along with other points of protection mentioned in past posts, networks can be safer and more secure with multiple safeguards in place.