What? CEO’s, executives and business owners are protecting their network with a cheap home based firewall?

by | Nov/5/2008

Any successful business professional can become the target of people wishing to do them harm. Why would a business professional trust their family’s safety to a $30 home level router when they can get a much better firewall for less than $100? And a great one for less than $300?  How much is your family’s security worth to you?  Executives and owners always ask which is the best one to get at home.

The answer is simple – whichever one your local qualified IT professional recommends. Please note I said “qualified.” I hear so many stories from executives that start out with, “My brother-in-law who knows all about computers told me that I should do such and such and now nothing works right anymore!” Yes, brothers-in-law are often much more fun to work with than an IT professional, so I encourage you to find an IT professional who is both fun to work with and makes his living being successful at IT.  This is your family’s safety you are talking about here.

The important reason to go with the device recommended by your local qualified IT professional is that they are familiar with the device. That way, when your device stops working at some crucial moment and says something less than helpful such as, “error number 64553,” your local IT professional will know exactly what to do. They have seen that issue fifty times before and can fix it in their sleep. Even better, they have anticipated the issue and have already taken steps to ensure you never experience the problem in the first place.

What makes a good firewall good? Several things – and most of the answers are very technical. This blog is dedicated to business professionals who want to know about IT in plain English. Better firewalls examine the actual data being transmitted.

For one thing, to compare your network information to snail mail, better firewalls open up the envelopes and read inside before they decide to let the information travel on your network.

Better firewalls allow you to connect a secure tunnel to your office through a technology called VPN. VPNs can cause a lot of trouble if they are not set up correctly – such as allowing all your home computers to infect your office computers with everything your kids accidentally download. When set up properly, however, they can be a wonderful help in security.

More advanced firewalls can block material from web sites too. Think of parental controls. The better the service, the easier it is for you to configure. Technology can be simple and easy in many cases.

Better firewalls can also give you an experience of your information getting to you faster. In addition, through giving different types of traffic different priorities, you can make the most of your connection to the Internet.  In other words, if your kids are listening to online radio, you can give your connection to the office a higher priority.

Another example is that if your internet service provider is unreliable, you can get two providers, such as DSL and Cable. Then the router will load balance to give you the fastest connection at any moment. If one of the services fails, again, then the router will fail over to the service that is still working. The result is that your network connection experience on your computer stays good.

The bottom line is that you can invest a little bit more in your home router and firewall to gain big benefits.