Business & Technology

FIREWALL

In our last newsletter, we started the data security series, detailing the importance of backup systems. In this edition, we continue the series, with the focus on explaining the significance of firewalls.

A firewall is a network security device that monitors incoming and outgoing network traffic and decides whether to allow or block traffic based on an organization’s established security policies. It typically establishes a barrier between an internal network and an external network.

Firewalls can either be hardware or software.

TYPES OF FIREWALLS

Proxy Server Firewall- is a type of gateway that hides the true network address of the computers connected to it. It is a mediator server that separates end-user clients from the destination that they browse. It connects to the internet, makes requests for pages, etc., and receives this information or data on behalf of the computer or user behind it. For example, if a user wants to visit an external website, then packets are processed through an HTTP server before they are forwarded to the requested website, packets from the website are then processed through the server before being forwarded to the user.

Packet Filters- This is the oldest and most basic type of firewall. It is a system that examines each packet (pieces of data that are formatted for internet transfer) entering or leaving the network. It checks information such as the destination and origination of an Internet Protocol (IP) address, packet type, port number, etc., and either accepts or rejects them based on the established policies. If the packet passes the test, it is allowed to pass, if it does not pass, it is rejected.

Stateful Inspection- is also known as dynamic packet filtering. It is a kind of firewall that keeps track of the state of active network connections while analysing incoming traffic looking for potential risks. Stateful firewalls can detect attempts by unauthorized individuals to access a network, as well as analyse the data within packets to see if they contain malicious code. It works by examining the contents of a data packet and then comparing them against existing data packets that have previously passed through the firewall.

Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW)- this is the combination of traditional firewall technology with added functions. It allows or blocks traffic based on state, port and protocol and filters traffic based on administrator-defined rules. A next-generation firewall (NGFW) does this, and so much more. In addition to access control, NGFWs can block modern threats such as advanced malware and application-layer attack. It performs roles beyond a stateful network firewall by conducting a deep packet inspection to identify and control applications regardless of the IP port used by the application.

BENEFITS OF A FIREWALL

Understanding the benefits of firewalls will help your company or organization effectively protect data in this digital age. Firewalls are beneficial to all businesses irrespective of size because they serve as the first line of defence against malware, external attacks, and hackers.

Promotes Privacy

A firewall offers services that can block the name of your website and Uniform Resource Locator (URL), hence protecting the user and the organization or company. Protecting your data and that of your client builds trust and credibility because nobody likes their private information stolen, since hackers are always looking for ways to get private information about an individual or organization. This would give an organization a competitive advantage over other companies or organizations.

Prevents Hacking

Hackers are constantly looking for ways to spread malicious content such as viruses, steal data and hold systems hostage. Hacking activities have made it important to use a firewall because they prevent hackers from gaining unauthorized access to emails, data and systems.

Monitor Traffic

Firewalls monitor the traffic that passes through them because incoming or outgoing traffic creates opportunities for threats to affect your operations. If the firewall identifies these threats, it blocks them immediately.

Stops Virus and Trojan Attacks

Viruses and Trojans can shut down digital operations fast and with new threats developed daily, you must have a healthy defence system. Firewalls control all system’s entry points and can stop viruses and Trojan attacks and block them before they cause any damage to your system.

A Firewall is essentially a must-have for any business or individual because they protect your private information, guard against threats, malware, and viruses prevents hacking and most importantly monitor traffic.

In our next data security series, we will explain how data encryption is used for data security.

For advice on how to install and use a firewall, which firewall works for your organization, how to upgrade your firewall software and other inquiries, please contact ePareto at [email protected].

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App Your Business Game

With this month edition we will talk about mobile apps in connection with business and why you should envisage building a mobile app for your business. Mobile apps are currently popular in the Ghanaian banking industry, but they are not solely for the banking sector. Companies in other sectors both small and medium sized can adapt mobile apps to enhance their business too.

Be Visible to Customers at All Times

The average Ghanaian spends more than two hours a day on his or her mobile devices. Users of mobile devices have to unlock, scroll and scan for apps they are looking for. Being in the way can be an advantage to your company, as our mind unconsciously record every image and text (in this case your well designed app icon) it comes across; even if it happens unnoticed.

Create a Direct Marketing Channel

One of the biggest benefits of having a mobile app is that all the information you’d like to provide to your customers – including special sales and promotions – is right at their fingertips.

Provide Value to Your Customers

Talking about on-hand information, how about digitizing that loyalty program you have in place? Instead of sticking to the old point-collection card, make it possible for your customers to collect their rewards via your mobile app. The result? More downloads and more return customers.

Build Brand and Recognition

A mobile app for your business can greatly contribute to your brand awareness. A mobile app is like a well branded billboard on the finger tips. But what you really want to do is create an app that has features your customers will love (making it more interactive) while not compromising on your brand identity. You will find your audience frequently using your app as a result building your brand recognition.

Improve Customer Engagement

No matter whether you are selling flowers or spa services, your customers need a way to reach you. Having a messaging (or help desk) feature within your app can really make a difference in the way you communicate with your customers.

Stand Out From the Competition

These days mobile apps at the small business level are still rare, and this is where you can take a big leap ahead of your competitors. Be the first in your industry to offer a mobile app to your customers. They’ll be astonished by your forward-thinking approach!

Cultivate Customer Loyalty

Last, but not least, the most important reason why you should consider building your own mobile app is customer loyalty. We slowly lose our impact on customers because of the immense amount of advertising surrounding us all. It’s time to go back to making a true and sincere connection with your customers, and making them a loyal lover of your product and/or service. A mobile app is not all you need to save your business, but it can be a way of staying closer to your customers, being just a “fingertip” away at all times.

A mobile app is going to be a standard component of any business in the future. The choice you make today is going set the foundation for the future of your business. It’s on you to decide whether you’d like to be one of the first. Do not hesitate to contact ePareto if you need for information about building apps.

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