Whether you have a T1, Cable or DSL connection, chances are that you have some sort of device that connects you directly to the Internet via your Internet Service Provider (ISP). That device is known as a router. Control of it, most likely, belongs to your ISP. Control of your company's network really begins with your firewall.
The firewall is where you gain control over your Internet connection. This device allows you to control what comes into your network and what does not. It also allows you to control what flows out of your network and what does not. This is the most important part of your network. Operating without a robust firewall is similar to leaving the front door to your business unlocked and wide open while no one is there to mind the store. Firewall's are also responsible for many other purposes. For instance, they can be programmed to allow remote access to your network and data for remote workers or branches.
DMEx uses the pfSense firewall to control access in and out of your network. pfSense is an open source project aimed at creating a complete, firewall software package that provides all the important features of commercial grade firewall boxes at a fraction of the price. pfSense is based on a bare-bones version of FreeBSD, along with a web server, PHP and a few other utilities.
In addition to pfSense being a powerful, flexible firewalling and routing platform, it includes a long list of related features and a package system allowing further expandability (i.e. Intrustion Prevention Systems and Intrusion Prevention Systems) without adding bloat and potential security vulnerabilities to the base distribution. pfSense is a popular project with more than 1 million downloads since its inception. It has been installed in networks ranging from a home PC and an Xbox to large corporations, universities and other organizations protecting thousands of network devices.
An Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) offers the prevention of malicious activity on your Network so it does not come through the Firewall.
Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) provide detection and prevention of malicious activity on your Network that did not come through the Firewall. An example of this can include a laptop that may have picked up a virus on a different network than yours. Once that laptop connects to your network, the virus can permeate the network from the inside. An IDS/IPS implementation detects and prevents this virus from spreading to other devices on your network.
After the firewall comes the routers, switches and cables that connect everything together on your network. It is important to inspect these items regularly. Outdated switches and broken cables can seriously degrade the performance of your network. Wired networks are traditionaly the safest and speediest ways to connect various items on your Network.
Wireless technology is growing up fast. You can achieve near wired safety and transmission speeds with the latest in wireless gear.