Routers and Firewalls
Infrastructure – Part 6 of 7
A router is a bridge between your network and the internet
A router is the device that connects your building’s network infrastructure to the internet. It is imperative that this connection be monitored and secured to prevent unauthorized access to your network from the outside world. This task is managed by a firewall.
A Firewall is Your Network’s Security Guard
Some routers include built-in “firewall” capabilities which provide some very basic security features. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. This little box your ISP gave you is not enough. It is always best to install and maintain a separate firewall to adequately protect your internal IT network.
No matter how boring and unimportant your patient data may seem, the “bad guys” want it and they’ve figured out that they can steal this data from you and sell it for big bucks!
What are some reasons why you might want to consider installing a firewall on your network?
HIPAA and PCI Compliance
In order to meet minimum compliancy requirements for HIPAA or PCI your network MUST be protected by a firewall. While HIPAA doesn’t specifically mention the word “firewall,” a physical firewall is the only way to adequately protect patient & customer information.
Limit Inappropriate Access
Your receptionist may need to have access to email and health insurance websites but it may not be necessary to browse Facebook, post to Twitter, Pinterest, or other social media sites. A firewall can enforce user-specific access rules.
Maintain Internet Speed
A firewall can help you prioritize the speed of your Internet connection. For instance, you wouldn’t want Sally’s YouTube and Pandora activity to slow down your office manager’s connection to Quickbooks. By setting the appropriate rules, your firewall can ensure this never happens.
Secure “Work from Home” Access
Only allow the appropriate users to access your network remotely. Even if someone has the password to connect to a desktop computer on your network, a firewall can prevent the wrong people from connecting by implementing extra security precautions.
Secure “Guest” WIFI
As we already discussed in our previous blog entry, WIFI networks should NEVER be left “OPEN”. Guests should authenticate with a password and their access shouldn’t include access to your company network.
Network Activity Logging & Monitoring Capabilities
Firewalls meet HIPAA requirements for record keeping. A secure record is kept of all activity IN and OUT of your company network. In addition, your IT provider can set alerts / triggers that help them identify when / if your network is under attack. By closely monitoring your firewall, network security can be pro-actively improved and enforced.
Let’s keep the doors locked… and we’ll hold the keys!
Most businesses would never choose to leave their door unlocked when they leave their office at the end of the workday. In fact, many times, the office is protected by not only locked doors, but security systems and alarms. It is equally important that your company’s data be protected. The Internet connection should be considered an “open door” to your company’s critical data and applications. Implementation of our TechWorks IT best practices will ensure that your company network is proactively secured and monitored 24×7.