5 Reasons a Stateful Firewall Is a Must-Have for Business

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If you’re tired of playing cat and mouse with digital intruders, then you should probably look into stateful firewalls.

The “state” part of this particular term refers to the current status of a connection on a given network. In this case, a stateful firewall takes the information and stores it. After that, it determines if traffic should be allowed to come through—or barricaded out.

A stateful firewall has the brainpower to think beyond the surface when it comes to analyzing incoming traffic. In particular, it can analyze the context of a connection and make more informed decisions on whether or not it’s safe. 

Furthermore, businesses can take advantage of stateful firewall capabilities like traffic filtering, intrusion prevention, and packet inspection. Together, these features create a robust layer of protection against cyber threats.

Of course, a lot of this may seem vague, so it’s worth taking a closer look at what stateful firewalls do exactly. 

1. Stateful Firewalls Track Activity

Perhaps the biggest benefit of a stateful firewall is that it’s able to keep tabs on all the activity going on within your network. If you fail to do so, it’s like leaving the doors of your house wide open and expecting nobody to walk in, helping themselves to your stuff. 

As an administrator, a stateful firewall gives you a bird’s eye view of what’s happening, including who’s accessing what and when they are doing it. Immediately, this means no more unauthorized users or hackers slipping through undetected. (They may still slip through, but at least they’ll be detected.)

Anyway, in addition to providing some key security benefits, a stateful firewall also gives network administrators the option to view important information about the network’s performance and usage. From tracking patterns of bandwidth to pinpointing bottlenecks and other performance issues, this kind of firewall makes it possible for you to make educated decisions for optimizing your network infrastructure.

With firewall logs, for example, you can conduct a thorough analysis of any incident to discover the root causes behind it. 

2. They Ensure Regulatory Compliance 

Many industries are highly regulated and monitored, and that means today’s businesses need to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and regulations—and follow them to a T.

While most business owners have good intentions, they can’t always stop breaches from happening. If you’re dealing with sensitive customer data or highly classified customer information, you simply don’t have room for accidents. That’s where a stateful firewall can come in handy.

Essentially, a stateful firewall will help make sure you are in compliance with any and all regulations by guarding against unauthorized access to data, controlling network traffic, and blocking content that could potentially be malicious.

Depending on the type used, a stateful firewall can also protect against specific threats. For instance, a next-generation firewall can inspect traffic beyond the IP and TCP layers, helping it detect and stop persistent threats and other sophisticated attacks. 

3.  They Offer a High Level of Customization

The beauty of stateful firewalls is that they’re designed to differentiate between types of network traffic like HTTP, FTP, and SMTP. By examining the content of each packet, stateful firewalls can filter out malicious traffic and clear the way for legitimate traffic to pass through. 

Not only does this improve security, but it also reduces network congestion and boosts your overall network performance.

Additionally, stateful firewalls can be configured to block out specific types of sites, such as social networking and peer-to-peer file-sharing sites. This can be good for quelling non-work activities on company networks and reducing the risk of picking up malware due to visiting shady websites on company machines. 

Similarly, a stateful firewall can protect against all kinds of different threats, from viruses and worms to trojans and spyware. They can even be configured to block traffic from specific, targeted IP addresses and certain geographic regions. 

4. Stateful Firewalls Can Increase Network Performance

Think of your network like a busy highway. It’s often congested and noisy from cars coming in and out, honking their horns whether necessary or not.

A stateful firewall is like a traffic cop that’s there to direct the flow of vehicles. By blocking out malicious traffic and only letting legitimate data come through, the firewall helps your network operate at full speed without any unnecessary delays or bottlenecks. 

5.  They Ensure System Continuity 

If your business has ever suffered the misfortune of a data breach, you know how frustrating, costly, and time-consuming it can be. Even if you’re able to get back up and running shortly afterward, the reality is that breaches cost businesses time, money, and (in most cases) trust. 

Implementing a stateful firewall can greatly reduce your potential for data breaches—which is great for businesses that have little or no room for errors. 

With a firewall, your network is protected from all kinds of attacks, including DDoS and other intrusion attempts. This makes it easy to keep things running smoothly without disruptions and without worrying about sensitive information or data falling into the wrong hands. 

Furthermore, the benefit of system continuity extends into other areas as well. For instance, since stateful firewalls operate at the network layer, they have the unique ability to protect multiple devices simultaneously. Thus, even if one device on your network is compromised, the firewall can prevent the problem from spreading to other devices. 

6. They Are Able to Perform Dynamic Logging

Dynamic logging, though it sounds totally wild, doesn’t have anything to do with lumberjacks. (Sorry to disappoint.)

Instead, dynamic logging is really just a fancy way of saying that your firewall is keeping track of all the traffic that’s going in and out of your network in real time, with no lag or waiting period. 

It also means that the system is constantly evolving and learning from past attacks so that it can protect your network better. In comparison with stateless firewalls, though those offer countless benefits in their own right, they only provide the kind of data for auditors and IT teams to use much later on.

Final Thoughts

The business benefits of having a stateful firewall to monitor and protect your network are pretty undeniable. Without one, you’re leaving yourself open to all kinds of threats—from phishing scams to ransomware attacks. 

If any of those attacks are successful, the consequences you face can include lost revenue, damaged reputation, legal liabilities, and even regulatory fines. 

Thus, if you run a complex business with multifaceted security needs, a stateful firewall is potentially a must-have. 

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