Why Traditional Firewalls Can’t Keep Up with Modern Threats

The online security threat landscape has changed exponentially over the years. Not only are data breaches an everyday occurrence now, breaches can take months to identify. And if that isn’t scary enough for you, consider that the average cost of a serious data breach costs businesses roughly $4 million.

It’s not just data breaches you have to worry about. Even old-school methods like phishing scams make their way around again every so often. As soon as you think your standard firewalls are capable of handling such basic attacks, new strategies emerge that make them more effective than they ever were before.

Much of that has to do with social engineering, combined with utilizing your own internal assets (such as your employees) against the best interests of your organization.

There’s also the threat of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. These attacks cause massive data loss and unplanned downtime – so much so that companies simply will never fully recover from them. Research conducted by Kaspersky shows that 26% of all DDoS attacks are successful in shutting down a business permanently.

You can never be too careful when it comes to protecting your organization. Your firewall is typically your first line of defense against random digital threats and direct cyberattacks. That’s why traditional firewalls are just not enough to protect against modern cyber threats.


Yesterday’s Firewalls Aren’t Enough for Today

Once upon a time, traditional firewalls were fully capable of handling incoming and outgoing connections from your company’s private network to the public internet.

That was also during a time you could count the number of internet-capable computers in your business on one hand.

These traditional firewalls were effective in controlling the web traffic that passed through certain points within a network. For the most part, they did their job efficiently.

Today, however, there are so many different types of connections happening within your organization that traditional firewalls simply can’t keep up. Firewalls are bombarded with incoming connections from mobile devices, laptops, desktops, fax machines, and the hundreds (possibly thousands) of different business productivity applications. Of course, all of this occurs on a daily basis.

Traditional firewalls just aren’t able to keep up with the nearly infinite network connections being made at any given moment. They’re great for blocking traffic from specific IP addresses, but even IP addresses can easily be spoofed anyone with rudimentary IT knowledge.

That’s why the next generation firewall is the next logical step in the evolution of network security at the enterprise level.

Next Generation Firewall Security You Can Count On

Gone are the days where you could block specific ports and services in an effort to control what applications have access to your network. Sure, you could implement certain internet-use policies, such as a “No Facebook” or “No Personal Email” rule, but let’s face it – they don’t really work. They only create unnecessary resentment among your workforce.

For complete control and transparency over your network, you to utilize next-generation firewall security. Your business will have more visibility into what’s connected to your network, and how it functions.

Built-in threat prevention reduces the pathways available for attacks, so there’s a greatly minimized risk of applications running amok on the network. Next-generation firewalls provide very best in enterprise-grade antiviruses, application controls, spam filtering, and deep packet inspection tools. You’ll also be able to quickly identify which IP addresses are tied to each device, and which users they belong to.

These tools are all you need in one convenient place – which provides you with the greatest ease of access and use.

Benefits of Next Generation Firewalls

All the tools and resources available with next-generation firewalls can provide unparalleled protection for your company. They don’t slow down your network operations and don’t add any unnecessary latency or complexity to your IT security operations.

In summation, with next-generation firewall protection from RWA you get:

–        Integrated Intrusion Protection

–        Ability to identify local traffic back to the user and device

–        Application visibility and control

–        Simplified security infrastructure (anti-virus, spam, packet inspection, etc. all together)

–        A more secure organization without slowing down business operations

Evolve Your Firewall Security With The Help of RWA

If your organization is still running on a traditional network security infrastructure, especially when it comes to firewall security, it’s time to put serious consideration into making a transition.

Organizations that haven’t yet made the transition to next-generation firewalls are low-hanging fruit for cyber threats. Hackers, cyberattackers, and all the looming digital threats aren’t waiting for your company to implement the next generation security tools, platforms, and strategies.

Rather, they’re more than happy to infiltrate your organization now, while you still haven’t made any necessary shifts to a more effective and comprehensive network security solution.

Luckily, you don’t have to wait for them to strike. Now is the time to speak with professional next-generation firewall consultants at RWA. We’ll help you determine the perfect solution for your business, and we’ll highlight how that will protect your most valuable company assets.

The Prescription for a Perfect Managed Service Provider

Managing the health of a network can be a lot like managing your own health. If you want to be super healthy, you’ll make sure to do the right exercises, take the appropriate vitamins, and avoid possible risks. The same goes for managing a network. Here’s our prescription for what to look for in the Managed Service Provider that’s right for you. Check off everything on this list and you’ll be closer to an ideal IT support solution.

Pick an MSP that has experience in your industry.

Every industry has specific business needs and challenges. Many IT service companies will offer solutions that are the network equivalent of those modular homes that popped up all over the place in the 1950s. Unfortunately, a one-size-fits-all approach to networking just doesn’t work when one business is a hotel and the other is a hospital. Often, the result of a makeshift network is large-scale data compromise.

The Ponemon Institute found that 64 percent  of patient medical files were successfully targeted by cybercriminals in 2016. Since medical data is not the only type of information commonly compromised, a healthcare company would want a Managed Service Provider who understands their special risks and vulnerabilities. An MSP that has worked with companies in your industry is far more equipped to build a customized solution that will meet your every need and protect your data

Pick an MSP that offers full-service support

You all have a friend that has “a guy” for everything. He has one “guy” who will come over and spend time physically connecting a network. He’ll have another “guy” who pops in for repairs, and yet another “guy” for those late-night server issues. When you pick an MSP, you want to just have the one “guy” to call – one who is backed by a team of specialist “guys” who can handle whatever you need and guide you through challenges.

Think of your MSP as your morning multivitamin. Instead of swallowing 19 pills, you’ll just have the one to keep you healthy and strong. The best MSP for your business should offer security and threat management, networking monitoring, and cloud services.

Pick an MSP that is available for you

A managed service provider may have all of the capabilities you are looking for, but it won’t do you much good if certain technicians are only available during limited hours. High on your checklist should be a company’s ability to support you after hours, during an emergency and just whenever you need some planning assistance. The best MSPs are just like the best doctors; they work on a preventative basis to stop problems before they happen. That being said, just like you’ll sometimes need to make an urgent appointment, you want to make sure your MSP is set up to give you the right assistance during on-call situations.

In any industry, downtime is a disaster. A survey by ITIC reports “98% of organizations say a single hour of downtime costs over $100,000; 81% of respondents indicated that 60 minutes of downtime costs their business over $300,000. And a record 33% of enterprises report that one hour of downtime costs their firms $1 million to over $5 million.” These are the numbers you want to think about when you are considering your MSP’s availability.

We’d be happy to give your network a check-up. Please give us a call or send us an email to see how we check out.

The Difference Between Managed Services and Break/Fix

When it comes to IT support, there are two main schools of thought. You wait for things to break, and then subsequently fix them – a service model known as “break/fix”.

With managed services, you employ the services of a managed service provider who watches over your IT infrastructure for you. They actively maintain and monitor your devices and software before they break.

There are several differences between the two styles. Wondering which one is the right one for you? Let’s go over what they can do for you.

The Break/Fix Method

There’s not much to misconstrue when it comes to break/fix because it works exactly as the name implies. When something in your IT infrastructure malfunctions, it’s up to you to contact your service provider. From there, they must then fix the problem while you wait.

Break/fix was the old way of doing things.

Back in the early days of IT, most businesses simply didn’t have a need for constant support because they didn’t have that much that could break. Obviously, that has dramatically changed. However, some companies still insist on the tried-and-true method – mostly because they’re too stubborn to change.

Choose Break/Fix if:

  • You have plenty of money to spare on expensive issues
  • You don’t really have any technology in your office that needs maintenance
  • You are okay with suffering from downtime, whenever it strikes
  • You have a full team of IT experts on-site that can fix issues as they arise
  • You can wait around for technicians to troubleshoot and then resolve whatever issues arise

The Managed Services Model

When your IT infrastructure is actively monitored 24/7, there’s not much that can go wrong. Anything that does go wrong is quickly dealt with. Rather than being reactive, like break/fix service, managed services chooses to go about a proactive service model.

With the rise in usage of various devices, multiple specialized programs, and a generally more advanced IT infrastructure, managed services have become far more popular than break/fix. Forbes highlighted four ways managed services transform small and medium-sized businesses: “improved operational performance, reduced operational risk, cost avoidance and accelerated innovation.”

Managed services are more reliable and cost less as a whole, providing a win-win for both modern businesses and managed service providers.

Choose Managed Services if:

  • You want set, flat, agreed-upon fees that occur on a regular monthly basis
  • You want access to experienced technicians around the clock
  • You want to outsource your IT department to save money (or even keep your IT department, but supplement them with managed service technicians)
  • You have guaranteed system uptime backed by a binding SLA
  • You want a constant sense of stability for your organization’s IT infrastructure

Managed Services for the Future

When stacked against one another, the victor is in plain sight. Break/fix approaches are simply not fit for the modern technological environments of most businesses. With managed services, companies can get the ongoing maintenance and support they need at an overall lesser price.

The IT partner you choose to work with is just as important.

At RWA, we’re ready to show you how much better managed services can be. We’ve got a staff with plenty of industry experience and IT know-how, and we want to use it to help your organization. Learn more about us by visiting our website. Or if you’d like to see how we can start working together now, reach out to us today.

Why Business Technology Cannot Be a One-Size-Fits All Approach

You’ve personalized your smartphones to your preferences. You’ve taken the time to select the different applications that you wanted, and you’ve likely customized their settings to match your preferences. In other words, your phone is completely your own.

But imagine if you were suddenly handed another person’s phone, and you were told to use it.

You would be baffled. Sure, some things would be the same, such as the basic features and options – but you’d have to sort through the vastly different customizations. Since it’s not your phone, you’re probably going to find yourself frustrated with the lack of options that cater to you.

Of course, that’s thinking in a small-scale scenario. Imagine the same type of scenario, but with a corporation’s business technology. Handing two separate businesses the same set of software and hardware solutions simply is not going to work.

There are plenty of things in this world that are one-size-fits-all. However, business technology is just not one of them. Each company has their own unique requirements for their technology, based on several different factors.

Let’s explore some of them.

Difference in Size

Naturally, the sheer amount of physical machines and number of software licenses will vary greatly depending on the organization’s size. Smaller companies typically require more robust machines that can handle multiple jobs (such as multifunction printers). These hardware solutions cut down on costs and increase efficiency. Larger companies may need hundreds of machines, where cost per unit is not necessarily as much of an issue.

In a similar vein, you must also consider software licensing. Many software applications operate on a per-user basis, which means that they are tiered differently depending on the number of users. This is a major reason why a singular solution for businesses of different sizes will simply not work.

Difference in Compliance Regulations

Different businesses must comply with specialized regulations. For example, companies working within the medical industry must take great care to meet the requirements set by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Certain software is geared towards being compliant with HIPAA, and is therefore highly beneficial to medical businesses.

Such software would probably be useless to someone in an accounting firm. Instead, accountants will likely value a software that ensures consistency between financial statements and adheres to the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).

The accounting and healthcare fields are wildly different, so no two software application will fully match their compliance needs. They need individualized business technologies that can keep them compliant in their own respective fields.

Difference in Allocatable Resources

Perhaps the most apparent reason that companies cannot have the same business technology is their available resources. Each business has a set budget that they can allocate to business technology. Therefore, a one-size-fits-all plan would be unfeasible for two companies of different budgets.

Customized Business Technology with RWA

Having the proper business technology in place that meets your company’s needs is critical to your overall success. We’ve gone over three good reasons as to why a one-size-fits-all plan simply won’t work.

But what can you do about your business technology needs?

For starters, you can partner with us. We’ll work to build you a truly custom technology infrastructure that meets your specific needs. Let’s have a chat today to talk about improving your business technology.

Who Provides IT Support for Your Business When Your IT Guy Is on Vacation?

It’s 9:30 in the morning and your computer is already giving you trouble. Unfortunately, your trusty IT guy left yesterday for his Alaskan cruise – and there’s no WiFi on the ship.

What do you do now?

If you have nobody else to turn to, you are completely on your own. However, there’s a much smarter IT support option for you and your company.

A skilled managed service provider.

A managed service provider can give your organization the IT support that it needs, with several major benefits. Let’s take a look at exactly what these benefits are and how they affect your business.

Cost savings.

It may be surprising to learn that having outsourced IT can save your company a lot of money. Outsourced IT support technicians don’t require individual salaries, benefits, or holidays. They also skip any training costs, which can be very expensive.

How it benefits you:

Hiring a managed service provider for IT support gives you the power to leverage IT experts for a fraction of the price of actually hiring them. You’ll receive higher quality IT support, and you can use the money you save to invest in parts of your business that are more growth-oriented.

Around-the-clock support.

Much like the scenario listed at the beginning of this post, you may run into this problem with in-house IT support. With a managed service provider, you have a guarantee that IT support is available to you at any time that you require it.

Why it matters to you:

Having IT support at any time means that you and your employees gain more control over both your company and your work. Now you’re free to work at any time without fear of being stopped by after-hour errors. With a managed service provider, you can improve your organization’s productivity and gain peace of mind knowing you have IT support whenever you need it.

Always compliant.

Compliance is a big issue in the world of business. Keeping policies current with changing regulations is the number one challenge for 47% of organizations. A skilled managed services provider will follow a strict set of guidelines to keep your IT compliant and in line with recent regulation changes.

What it means for you:

Not following compliance rules can lead to costly fines and lawsuits. With a managed service provider, the burden is lifted off of you. You can focus on growing your business and doing what is important to you.

Finding the perfect IT support for you.

Locating the best-managed service provider to meet your needs can be difficult. You’ll need to find one that is knowledgeable, experienced, and honest.

Your managed service provider should never attempt to oversell solutions you don’t need just for the sake of selling technology. They should also have a track record of under-promising and over-delivering – on time and on budget.

RWA is that kind of managed service provider. Working with us will guarantee the best IT support possible, while giving you all of the benefits that come with a great IT partner. Contact us today to learn how we can help grow your company and better your IT infrastructure as a whole.