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Recommended Host for Firewall Protection
Firewall Protection Hosting
For website owners who want serious security without the hassle of managing their own firewall, dedicated firewall hosting can provide real-time monitoring and protection for sensitive data and reduce or even prevent Denial-of-Service (DoS) and other attacks.
Why You Need a Firewall
Chances are you're familiar with firewalls, the hardware and software systems designed to protect your computer and the information flowing to and from it from prying eyes and malicious attacks. The same principle applies when it comes to your website; both the content you provide your visitors (in the form of multimedia content, blogs, online shops, etc.) and the information they submit to your site (including very sensitive information such as credit card numbers, purchase histories and correspondence) need to be monitored and defended from the less savory denizens of the electronic ether.
For many website owners (particularly those using shared hosting), a passive or self-managed firewall solution may not be enough. The same level of technology you rely on at home to keep your WiFi secure may not be up to the task of guaranteeing your customers rock-solid security for their financial information and online purchases. Consequently, many people turn to dedicated firewall hosting from their hosting provider.
How it Works
Dedicated firewall hosting boosts your site's security by providing a combined hardware and software firewall that's solely for your server (or partition of a shared server, if you use shared hosting or Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting). It often includes round-the-clock monitoring of traffic to and from your site by both the software itself and actual human staffers trained to handle suspicious activity.
Many hosts offer a choice of hardware and software configurations that are scalable based on how much activity your site sees in a given period, and plans are often adjustable "on the fly" to meet sudden surges in traffic to your site. As a rule, they'll also include monitoring of specific ports, packet filtering and protocol filtering.
Packet filtering examines each piece of data moving through the system and only lets it through if it meets pre-defined criteria set by you and your provider.
Port monitoring and protocol filtering both involve managing traffic based on the way in which it is trying to interface with your server; port monitoring masks certain ports (the 'doors' through which data travels at various points in the network, including your server, other computers visiting your site, and various network hardware such as routers and switches) or restricts traffic to a specific range of ports.
Protocol filtering, on the other hand, analyzes traffic based on the format it's using to access the server. Examples include the ubiquitous Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and Domain Name Server (DNS, the language used to humanize the numeric information computers use to route traffic on the Internet). If incoming data seems suspicious or malicious, the software or a technician can stop it in its tracks.
What to Look For
One important factor to consider, depending on your level of expertise, is whether the host provides a fully managed firewall, or whether you still maintain a measure of control.
With a fully managed firewall hosting solution, the provider is responsible for managing every aspect of the firewall, including rules, filters, updates, and more. This may be ideal for individuals who lack the expertise or desire to manage the firewall themselves.
For the more advanced user, however, other hosting services allow the end-user to modify the firewall, setting up custom rules or opening and closing ports.
What it Costs
Some hosting providers include a dedicated firewall as part of their hosting packages, but others may charge additional setup or service fees, depending on your level of hosting.
Dedicated Firewall Pros & Cons
- Protects your website from hacks and DoS attacks
- Protects your customers' data when using your website
- May come at an additional cost
Points to Remember
With companies like Target and Home Depot in the news for data breaches, breaches that have exposed the data of millions of customers, there's no doubt that cybercrime is on the rise.
If you (and your customers) are serious about data integrity and safety, a dedicated firewall just might be worth looking into.