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Choosing the right firewall solution

NetworkTigers on the importance of choosing the right firewall solution for your small business.

Just because your business is small doesn’t mean you should take cybersecurity any less seriously. Cybercriminals and hackers often target small businesses. These attacks may result in higher levels of personal loss than larger corporate hacks do and may see fewer resources and engagement from local law enforcement. 

According to recent data from NPR, 70% of ransomware attacks target businesses with fewer than 500 employees. This means that even small businesses are at risk from sophisticated bots, bugs, and malware designed by hackers from all over the globe. Impersonations, AI hacking, Business Email Compromise (BEC), and other evolving threats can jeopardize your hard work as a small business owner. 

Understanding small business vulnerabilities

The first step to choosing the right defense for your small to midsize business lies in understanding the threat. Cybercriminals target small businesses because of some of the following vulnerabilities

  1. Less employee training: Many smaller businesses lack the budget for a dedicated IT department, let alone regular supplemental cybersecurity training for employees. Employees may be your company’s greatest asset, but when it comes to cybersecurity, they’re also one of the biggest weaknesses. According to a study by IBM, around 95% of hacks succeed because of human error. 
  2. Limited resources: Cybercriminals may sometimes get away with their attacks because of a lack of law enforcement resources. In one 2021 case, the non-profit organization One Treasure Island had $650,000 earmarked to build affordable housing stolen from an email compromise scam. However, the US attorney’s office in the company’s hometown of San Francisco declined to open a case to investigate the theft. Cybersecurity experts explain that the FBI and government investigators are less likely to intervene when losses involve under half a million dollars. These decisions are made to triage the amount of cybercrime reported to the department. As a small business, what may be a catastrophic loss to you may be under the threshold for investigation by major players, especially once funds have been transferred abroad. 
  3. Less cybersecurity investment: Small businesses are often seen as easier to hack because of limited investment in data protection. However, an appropriate firewall can help insulate your business against many breaches. 

Why do I need a firewall solution? 

A firewall is a crucial component of your network security architecture. A firewall is precisely what it sounds like, a way to block unwanted traffic from entering the network in the first place. A firewall can also inspect incoming traffic for malicious design, analyze sensitive data leaks, and more. When investing in a firewall, a threat avoided is a threat neutralized. 

Considerations for small business firewalls

There are many kinds of firewalls, from packet-filtering to proxy service, Stateful Inspection to Next-Gen. Even though every small business needs a firewall, how you choose one likely will vary according to several factors: 

Hardware vs. software firewalls

Software firewalls are standard on most laptops and are fine-tuned to block malware, trojans, and viruses from spreading. However, they are often less efficient at blocking hacking attempts from entering your system in the first place. On the other hand, hardware firewalls require more upkeep and can be more expensive, but they scan every data packet from the Internet. 

Another evolving option to consider is cloud-based firewall technology. A cloud-based firewall service may be an appropriate solution for businesses with remote workers or multiple office spaces. While many companies traditionally implemented physical hardware firewalls onsite, a cloud-based solution may provide the flexibility your employees and clients need. Cloud-based firewalls can offer improved user experiences than routing all traffic back and forth through a uniform corporate security setup. 

Number of users

A SOHO (Small Office Home Office) firewall has a capacity of up to 50 users before it is overstrained. With a larger staff, or if your business requires extra data capacity and computing power, you should consider an enterprise-class firewall designed for larger-scale defense. 


Choosing the right form of RAM is crucial to ensuring your firewall will be compatible with your existing system. DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory) may be enough for smaller systems to implement your firewall. However, larger systems may need the secondary memory format SRAM (Static Random Access Memory). Selecting the right RAM can save headaches down the road and improve coverage. 


Having a VPN is not the same as having a firewall. A VPN encrypts your data and scrambles your IP address, making it a popular choice for network security when performing remote work. However, a firewall can be an important complement to a VPN. A firewall blocks unwanted intrusions into the VPN-encrypted network. A VPN may be the best choice for data privacy, but a firewall is important to data security. If you have remote workers, choosing a firewall compatible with a VPN is essential. 

In-house vs. managed

Like most network security infrastructures, firewalls need to be regularly maintained, screened, and updated. You may consider a third-party cybersecurity service if your small business is not large enough for a dedicated IT department. Certain firewall managers may be able to offer one-on-one support in case your company is hacked or if they detect an alert across the firewall’s defenses. 

Finally, when choosing your firewall solution as a small business, consider your user experience. If installation is a concern, you may want to select a security service or vendor who seems responsive to your questions. If response lag time is one of your worries, prioritize firewalls with clear attack alerts that will send Indicators of Compromise (IOCs) to authorized users. If your company primarily performs remote work, a firewall that supports VPN use may be a top priority. Your small business deserves the best protection. Customizable cybersecurity can extend even as far as firewalls to ensure that you keep your investment safe.

Gabrielle West
Gabrielle West
Gabrielle West is an experienced tech and travel writer currently based in New York City. Her work has appeared on Ladders, Ultrahuman, and more.

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