In talking with our customers there is a misunderstanding that just because their network or computers have a firewall that they’re safe from malicious attacks. Sadly, this is far from accurate. Firewalls and anti-virus software have different purposes and should always be used in conjunction with one another to ensure a high level of cyber security. Here is some basic information to help you understand what they are and how they differ.

What is a Firewall?

A firewall monitors network traffic. It attempts to block unauthorized access to your network. Sometimes called a packet filter, a good way to think about it is picturing a coffee filter. The good stuff comes through while the bad is caught in the filter.

Isn’t That What Anti-Virus Software Does?

Anti-virus software catches malicious programs that make it through the firewall. Perhaps attached to an email or a downloaded file. Instead of stopping it from getting it to your network, it quarantines or removes suspicious files. Because hackers are always evolving, it’s important that you continuously update your anti-virus software.

Yes, both are Necessary

Because they have different purposes and do different things, they’re both important. Think of your firewall as a preventative measure and your anti-virus software as a protective measure. This is where the term Layered Security comes in. Your firewall is one layer and your anti-virus is another layer.

Beyond these two layers of security is anti-malware which is included in most good anti-virus programs. Many companies use these terms interchangeably, although they are different. Anti-malware protects your computers from most of the newer dangers where anti-virus focuses on the traditional Trojan-like threats.

As you work with your IT department or outsourcing company on cyber security, ask what protection you have in place. Ideally, they’ll talk about your various firewalls, because there are three kinds, your anti-virus software, and your malware software. If they don’t, find out what improvements you should invest in to improve your cyber security. It only takes one chink in the armor to bring down a company. No business is too large or too small for today’s hackers.

If your business has grown and you’re not sure how your network is protected, contact Toucan Technology. We’re an Indianapolis based mobile IT company and we install firewalls, anti-virus, and anti-malware software on your computers and network. We offer many other services too. Call 317-376-4874 or fill out our contact form to learn how we can increase your cyber security.

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