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The Basics of Firewalls and Antivirus Software

In today’s largely digital landscape, implementing cybersecurity measures is absolutely critical. After all, it only takes one internal or external breach to cause irreparable damage to your company’s bottom line and reputation. Fortunately, there are easy, budget-friendly steps you can take to safeguard your company’s computer system from common cyberattacks, such as malware, spyware, viruses, and hacking, as well as the countless lesser-known threats out there. The first step is learning about the basics: firewalls and virus-protection software.

Filter Data with a Firewall

So, what is a firewall, anyway? A firewall is a security device that allows safe data to enter the network while blocking the bad stuff. It’s the first line of defense that prevents malicious data from hitting your system in the first place. Imagine the firewall as a physical wall that surrounds your computer network. The wall has plenty of doors, but each door is guarded. When data comes knocking at a door, the guard decides whether or not to allow it to enter. The guards can also redirect the data to an appropriate door if necessary.

Prevent and Remove Threats with Antivirus Software

Virus protection software differs from a firewall in that virus protection software can identify and block or remove specific threats by referencing its virus definition database. You can also use antivirus software to scan every nook and cranny of your computer to find threats that the firewall may have missed, then isolate or delete them. Using the same wall example, the antivirus software is the security guard that identifies troublesome patrons that the firewall guard may not recognize and denies them entry. The guard’s other main function is venturing inside the wall to find and eliminate nefarious data that managed to sneak past the first firewall door guard.

Use Both for Optimal Safety

As you can see, a firewall and virus protection software perform similar-yet-different tasks. Use them together to reduce the odds of getting infected with malicious cyberthreats. It may be tempting to stack multiple virus protection programs for added protection, but the reality is that different antivirus programs can interfere with each other, doing more harm than good. Just make sure you tweak and customize your firewall settings to provide plenty of protection without drastically interfering with your system, and update and run your antivirus software regularly to ensure that your network doesn’t have any underlying threats lurking in the shadows.

Prevention Is the Best Cure

The best way to avoid cybersecurity threats is not to put your computer in harm’s way in the first place. Never download something unless you’re positive that it’s safe. Never open or download email attachments from unfamiliar addresses. Keep your Wi-Fi protected with a password, and use strong passwords for all of your sensitive data. Make sure you have a backup plan in case your data is compromised. Communicate the importance of safe computer use to your employees; internal breaches are incredibly common, and they’re usually accidents caused by uninformed or negligent employees. As long as you have a solid firewall and reputable virus protection program in place, you can significantly mitigate the risk of cyberattacks. Don’t wait to get started; line up your defenses today.

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