Firewall as a Service solutions might be the answer to all your cyber & network worries, but how do you separate the good from the bad…

WAN (Wireless Area Network) & LAN (Local Area Network) are increasingly becoming an important part of every superyacht. The fast-growing demand in services requiring internet access mean that cyber security best-practices can’t be ignored. And this high-pressure situation has lead to lot of ETOs/ITOs finding it is harder and harder to maintain the networks on their superyachts.

As network maintenance and control becomes ever-more complex, ETOs need an easier way to keep a constant eye on security and network availability. When budget exists, some yachts are now choosing to hire external parties to handle their IT-Maintenance activities. However, others may believe that they can get by without outsourcing, or are forced to because they lack the budget.

Today, it is not enough to leave this massive responsibility down to just one or two people. Furthermore, it is an investment which is fundamental not only to the enjoyment but also to the safety of a yacht. Firewalls are the place to start, but in the past, some were a job in themselves to maintain. This meant that too often they were chosen based on how easy they were to install and manage onboard, instead of their quality and reliability.

Luckily, today’s managed Firewall as a Service (FaaS) solutions mean yachts can now have a state of the art firewall without having to worry; hardware, software and necessary support and maintenance activities can all be off-loaded to experts, leaving ETOs with less to think about. Here are four key things to look for in a modern firewall service:

The entire process handled off-yacht

A good FaaS solution should connect your firewall to the provider’s operation centre, so that their team can pro-actively manage it 24/7 365 days a year and prevent any failures and interferences. Remote monitoring from a reliable Network Operation Centre (NOC) means that everything falls under the central direction and takes the responsibility away from you. This way, the solution-provider can perform capacity and performance analyses to allow for a continuously optimised, fully-functioning firewall.

Expert process and technical knowledge

Regulated updates and screening of your firewall should be undertaken by a certified engineer. Check with the company before you sign up with them which certification they require from their engineers, and make sure it’s one you trust. Your yacht’s safety is important, and although it is great to be able to outsource responsibility of the firewall, there is no point if it is to someone less experienced than you.

Regular insightful reports

 A good managed firewall service should also offer you frequent reports on its progress. These reports are an easy way to stay up to date with the yacht’s application and webpage usage, and keep alert to any malware that has been detected and fought off, without having to constantly check progress yourself. Experts should also be on hand to answer any queries you have about these findings.

Firewall based around proven technology

The proven stability and functionality of the firewall technology is also very important – no matter how good a support and maintenance team are, if the security technology isn’t good enough they will fail at the first hurdle. That is why it’s important to choose a firewall service whose technology you are convinced by. For example, Infotheek’s FaaS solution is partnered with Fortinet, a leading US cyber security and malware protection business with a wealth of network and security experience.

More time for onboard innovation

It is now possible to have a state of the art, safe and reliable firewall that supports you in achieving your business goals whilst being hassle free for everyone onboard. To minimize your efforts in deploying, maintaining and managing your firewall, and spend more time focusing on your primary processes. And with firewalls proving a very competitive market as we near the end of 2017, prices are competitive to match. However, it is important to not get suckered into just any FaaS. Make sure to check for the above key features before entering into any contracts – and enjoy your newfound free time!

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