Cybersecurity In-Depth

The Edge

If My Organization Is Mostly in the Cloud, Do I Need a Firewall?

A firewall is still a valuable part of the IT security stack, but businesses need to consider all of their attack surfaces.

Question: If most of my organization's data and applications are in the cloud, do I still need a firewall?

Heather Paunet, Senior Vice President, Untangle: With a changing workplace landscape and rise in cyberattacks, businesses need to take a multilayered approach to network security. A firewall is still a valuable part of the IT security stack, even if most of an organization's data is in the cloud. However, just a basic firewall that simply enforces block and allow rules is not going to be enough to provide robust end-to-end protection.

Businesses need to consider all of their attack surfaces as the trend of putting more of the IT stack into the cloud continues and as hybrid and remote working styles remain with us.

Without the right protections, bad actors can find vulnerabilities to hack a business network across multiple entry points. Employees can still inadvertently download malicious files or come across dangerous websites that have hidden malware in them. For example, while the cloud may protect documents and applications, protection is still needed as employees access the Internet.

Businesses must provide protection as employees on a hybrid work schedule rotate in and out of the office, bringing various devices onto the network. They will also need to consider what else they need to ensure all their attack surfaces are secure, which may include Web application firewalls and endpoint security.