Firewalls vs Antivirus – What’s The Difference And Do You Need Both?

Cyber security is a hot topic. As cyber threats continue to increase and become more sophisticated, protecting your systems and data has never been more vital. Even if you don’t know much about cyber security you have probably heard of firewalls and antivirus software – you might even have one or the other, but what’s the difference and do you need both? Let’s give you the lowdown so that you can better protect your business. 

In simple terms you can think of your firewall as your protection from external threats and your antivirus software as protection against both internal and external threats, but if you want to know more, read on. 

What Is A Firewall? 

A firewall is a shield that protects your network from the big world wide web. It monitors incoming and outgoing electronic data and stops suspicious packets from entering your network. A firewall acts as a gatekeeper, preventing cyber thieves from accessing your computer, workstation or server. It can protect the hardware and software on your network and examines data based on a set of predefined rules – allowing data that meets those rules to pass through the gate and into your system and blocking any data that doesn’t. 

You can choose to protect your system with either a hardware firewall that is a physical device or a software firewall which is an internal programme on your computer. Cloud firewalls are also popular nowadays with the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the fact they have been designed to work with dispersed workforces. 

Managed Firewall – typically many businesses will opt for a managed firewall as this ensures the security of a firewall with all the necessary updates for continued protection. Managed firewall services are provided to implement, operate, monitor, update and report on your firewall. They can help your business to adhere to industry specific security standards as well as wider mandates such as GDPR. The benefit of a managed firewall as opposed to installing and maintaining yourself is that an IT security professional will be carrying out regular vigilance on your firewall set up to ensure that it protects your system against the latest threats, freeing up your time to focus on your core business activities. 

What Is Antivirus? 

Antivirus is a type of software that has been specifically designed to protect your computer against malicious software. It can scan, detect and remove viruses and other types of malware such as trojan horses, worms and spyware. Antivirus programmes scan web pages, files and applications for known threats as well as logging behaviour to detect if something is suspicious. As new threats are emerging all the time, antivirus software can be updated automatically to help protect your systems from the latest cyber threats. 

Do You Need Both? 

In short, yes. As cyber threats evolve and become more sophisticated, you don’t want to leave your computer or wider network vulnerable. Any chinks in your armour will be easily detected by cyber criminals looking for a way in to steal your personal or business data. 

Managed Firewall Services From Matrix IT 

We provide fully managed firewall services to help safeguard your business against the latest cyber attacks. With constant updates to ensure minimal exposure and a highly available system to ensure minimal downtime to your business, look no further than Matrix IT to protect your systems. We also offer a full security audit and can advise on the other forms of protection you need in place, including antivirus software and multifactor authentication.

Call Matrix IT on 01329 888 444 or click here to contact us for more information on our IT security services.