SMBNation – Session 3 – Firewalls – What to choose

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Session 3 brings with it the one and only Amy Babinchak – ISA Goddess. Amy’s extremely quiet manner often puts people at a sense of false impression. Her quiet voice makes them think she does not have much to say, nothing could be further from the truth. Amy has forgotten more than most of us know about ISA in the SMB space. Therefore her presentation on Selecting a Firewall in the SBS 2008 era is certainly one not to be missed.

She’s started off by giving a history lesson of the firewalls that have been in older versions of SBS, from SBS 4.0 with it’s Proxy 1.0 firewall… ahh yes – those were the good old days… the days of dialup internet access… She then brought us all the way through to SBS 2008 which has NO Internet facing firewall. With SBS 2008 you are required to use a third party firewall to secure your SBS server from the Internet. It does not mean though that SBS does not have a firewall – in fact it does, but it’s designed to protect the SBS 2008 server on the INSIDE of your network from attacks against it from compromised computers. Ok – so what are we looking for in a firewall? I don’t think it’s the same for all of us as we all serve different client requirements. Here’s my list of a few things that I want.

  • Based on Microsoft OS – I don’t want to have to learn Linux just for my firewall, and I don’t want to have yet another system that I need to patch that I can’t tie into WSUS.
  • Stateful packet inspection
  • Ability to monitor both inbound and outbound traffic
  • Ability to report on usage patterns and dig down into
  • Value for money – I’m not saying low cost here, I’m talking VALUE

One of the things Amy mentions though is that our role in this discussion with the clients is the Trusted Advisor. Achieving that level of of trust with a client is not something that happens overnight. It’s a result of you investing time to understand the clients business requirements and then providing solutions of VALUE to meet those needs. It does not involve spamming the customer with the latest special just because it’s there. It does not involve selling the client things they do not need. Those type of resellers are the ones that won’t be here tomorrow. Those types of resellers are the ones that you actually WANT to have around – YES – YOU WANT them around.  Sounds strange right? Well – if we don’t have the bad guys around, how does the customer know you are the good guy? When you pickup a customer that has been at the mercy of this type of bad guy for a while, they are initially suspicious of you. Take your time, earn their trust and do the right thing but them and you will find you have a customer for life. Not just a customer for life, you will earn the place of Trusted Advisor with them. They will in turn earn the place of Trusted Advocate with you – they will sell your reputation at every chance.  Cheap marketing really when you think about it.

Category: Conferences
Published: 5/10/2008 5:01 AM

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