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Server Firewall Solutions 101

Staying current on types of attacks and deploying defenses helps protect a dedicated server from malicious attacks. Enterprise firewalls can help significantly in this area.

Server Firewall Solutions and Options

The server firewall solutions market has evolved in the last several years. Server firewall solutions have steered more towards outsourced and third-party managed services. They offer several solutions from “starter” or “base” packages to more advanced and complex security solutions.

  1. Some providers are offering more features at higher costs

  2. Others are offering more specific protection for a lower cost

  3. Some defend against larger attacks for mission-critical SaaS firms

Server firewall solutions are useless if (too much) access is granted from within a company that should not be allowed. A Ponemon Institute report revealed that privileged users had access to confidential data even though such access was not even required in their day to day job requirements. Even when their positions changed, their access rights stayed the same. The Ponemon Institute report for 2014 revealed that information most at risk are general business, customer and employee information at 56%, 49%, and 35% respectively.

Firewalls are not Dumb

In order to fight current threats, firewall vendors are including advanced threat solutions built into firewalls. As a result, hosting providers can make due with fairly good protection without investing in costly specialized hardware solutions and mitigate major attacks to the best of their abilities. Server firewall solutions alone are many times not adequate in stopping various attacks. Behavioral analysis and inspection is a key feature of any security service either it is in-house or via third-party services. “Traditional” firewalls, for example, are not always able to stop attacks. If given too many tasks, firewalls will be under too much strain.

Network appliances incorporate several features as a threat management solution such as:

  • intrusion detection

  • firewall

  • DDoS protection

  • network/traffic pattern analysis and prevention

If upfront cost is prohibiting a dedicated server provider from acquiring this proprietary hardware, the third-party solution is a viable alternative. Very similar services are provided at a fraction of the cost. One such service is SiteLock which starts with basic security and scanning features to more advanced options with the capability to stop larger attacks.

False Positives

Another factor to consider is if these services will in any way slow down connection speeds for users across the globe. Moreover, legitimate requests must not be blocked or denied. This leads to false positives. Serving users in today’s Internet requires intelligence allowing for content to enter and leave a server via several channels. If false positives happen, it’s important to fix the issue (and detect these false positives!) in a timely manner. This will minimize revenue losses in an e-commerce environment and not simply block visitors. Third-party services should be able to remedy these situations or prevent them from happening in the first place. If utilizing an in-house system, on-site techs should be knowledgeable in rectifying the problem.

Firewall services add complexity and time to resolve issues if it is not possible to administer changes efficiently.

Many vendors are price competitive therefore offering dedicated server providers with several server firewall solutions. Depending on the features required, a one-time hardware purchase or an ongoing monthly SaaS package price is available.

In conclusion, it is interesting to note, that many times it is possible to purchase a firewall on-premises on a physical appliance and acquire the same hardware via cloud deployment as a virtual firewall. Finally, it is also important to know if there are hardware limitations or third-party SaaS limitations on how much data can be protected at one time, either by the number of access requests or protecting data from being accessed at all on a dedicated server.

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