A Gateway is a hardware device that sits between two networks, acting as a “gate”. An example of a gateway is a router, firewall, server, or anything that allows traffic to flow in and out of a network. The gateway sits at the outside of the network, so all data and information must go through it before coming in or going out of the network. The most common type of gateway inside a company network is a router. The most common gateway between internal company networks and the Internet are firewalls and proxy servers. A Wireless Access Point or WAP is also known as a gateway between wired and wireless traffic.
What does this mean for an SMB?
As an SMB, it is important that you have a firewall in place for all Internet connected locations. A firewall is an essential security solution all SMB’s must have to prevent attackers from breaching your systems, network, and data. Just as important as having a firewall is enabling the advanced security features they contain to provide additional protect to your company and its infrastructure and data.
Network segmentation is an important security protection often created using gateways. distinct network segments based upon the systems work function. Segmentation can slow or limit the spread of malware or hackers who breach one area of your network preventing them from scanning and accessing other network segments.
Firewalls are commonly deployed in SMB’s with Wireless Network capabilities that allow you to physically and logically segregate guest WiFi networks from trusted WiFi networks. Make sure you tie your Trusted WiFi network into your Active Directory user accounts (using Radius) instead of a static password. This eliminates a common risk of terminated employees sitting on your trusted WiFI network in the Parking lot to siphon off sensitive data or cause additional harm to your company.