The Little Box the ISP Gave Me Is a Firewall, Right?

The Little Box the ISP Gave Me Is a Firewall, Right?

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way most of us think about cybersecurity. Greater numbers of employees are working remotely and from devices that may not fully protect them (and their data) from cybercrime.

Understanding the protections available, as well as the nature of the cyberthreats out there, can help you make informed choices about cybersecurity for your devices—and those of your employees.

Is a Router a Firewall?

Chances are, when you opened your account, the Internet Service Provider (ISP)  in your area issued you a router or modem that allows you to connect to the internet. And yes, a wireless router does perform the basic functions of a firewall. By monitoring outgoing traffic, your router can recognize and discard incoming traffic from sources outside your network.

Laptop with a router security

Your router may also have come with pre-installed antivirus or other network security software. And while these, in combination offer some basic level of security, they likely won’t be enough to protect you from all forms of cybercrime—such as phishing scams, malware, password breaches, and interception of sensitive data from public Wifi networks.

An Extra Level of Protection

Today’s cyberthreats are many and varied. And with so much of the labor force working from home, cybercriminals have increased their efforts to breach your security measures.

  • Basic routers are able to protect just the devices currently on your network. But if a worker connects their laptop to an open Wifi network at a coffee shop, any transmitted data could be vulnerable, and your router can’t help. Your routers also can’t secure individual devices on your network. So if one machine gets breached, so does your network, potentially compromising all devices that share the network.  
  • Software firewalls offer a bit more protection, safeguarding individual devices (not just your network) from cybercrime. So remote workers receive the same protections as your in-house team. They also make it harder for malicious actors to access your sensitive information.
  • Hardware firewalls added to your router can better safeguard your online connections using…
    • Antivirus protection that checks for malware, viruses, and ransomware.
    • – App monitoring that records how and when apps access the internet.
    • – Web filtering to help you control which websites your workers can visit.
    • – Intrusion detection that recognizes and alerts you to any network breach. 
    • – Attack recognition that uses AI to recognize cyberattack patterns and block future incursions. 
    • – Advanced firewall rules to strictly regulate incoming traffic.
    • – Static IP masking that hides the IP addresses of devices on your network.

Such protections will safeguard any devices on your network, but be aware they will not address vulnerabilities from machines outside your network (such as those used by remote workers). To seal this vulnerability, off-network machines would have to be outfitted with the same cybersecurity protections as your in-house network.

Defining Your Cybersecurity Needs

 Before you make any purchases, you’ll need to define the precise vulnerabilities of your business and the machines your workers are using. One way to achieve this is to partner with an experienced cybersecurity consultant. A seasoned consultant can…

  • Evaluate the preloaded security software on your devices
  • Perform penetration testing on your network to expose hidden vulnerabilities
  • Close loopholes that cyberthieves can use to access your sensitive data
  • Recommend additional safeguards, such as the use of Virtual Public Networks (VPNs) to protect workers using public Wifi connections
  • Recommend the most appropriate and cost-effective products (hardware or software) to safeguard your business and your staff
  • Offer options for increasing overall network security
  • Train employees in cybersecurity best practices

At Waterdog Computer Works, we’ve earned our reputation by helping clients identify risks and close vulnerabilities in their computer networks. Our experienced technicians can critically assess your systems to identify vulnerabilities and close potential entry points. We can also test the strength of your security protocols and recommend purchases that meet your needs and fit your budget. Contact us today!

In Wayne, Pa, Waterdog Computer Works is a complete IT solutions and cybersecurity provider serving businesses throughout Main Line Philadelphia. Focused and responsive, Waterdog Computer Works offers a two-hour emergency response time guarantee, no-risk contracts and a team of technicians with over 75 years of combined experience. Call us at 484.580.8568 to speak to a member of our team. 




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