ANDY:  Last week you talked a bit about phishing attacks.  I take it that that isn’t the only kind of malware out there that you work to protect clients’ networks from.

CHARLIE:  You’re right there.  We work to protect our clients’ networks from a whole host of malware including ransomware, viruses, spyware, worms, trojans, adware, keyloggers, malicious mobile code and other dangerous applications and web content.

ANDY:  Wait a minute Charlie…that’s a whole bunch of bad stuff.  How do you manage to do all that protection?

CHARLIE:  Dave Gleason helps me.  Dave has been working with me for more than 18 years and he is very knowledgeable about the installation and configuration of firewalls in both homes and businesses.

ANDY:  So do I need protection from all the malware that you mentioned in my home?

CHARLIE:  Usually not.  You do need a good firewall but the protection requirements are a lot stronger for businesses and this is where Dave has a lot of expertise.  We work with small to medium size businesses and a lot of hospitality properties too.  In this arena the threats have been increasing dramatically.  For instance, over the 5-day Thanksgiving Shopping period this year while malware attacks were down about 34% from last year, ransomware attacks were up 432% and phishing attacks increased about 45%.  These numbers were compiled by SonicWall from their world-wide monitoring system.

ANDY:  That ransomware increase is big.  How so you help businesses protect themselves for the various kinds of malware and ransomware?

CHARLIE:  We depend on firewall appliances and protection software from SonicWall.  As an example, for a small office or home office we might suggest a SonicWall TZSOHO firewall with their Comprehensive Gateway Security Suite or CGSS.  The CGSS provides a single integrated bundle of security protection to stop known threats at the gateway to your network.

For our larger clients we would suggest a security appliance designed to handle larger traffic loads and the Advanced Gateway Security Suite or AGSS.  The AGSS is an upgrade over CGSS that is designed to run deeper inspections of suspicious files that are using enhanced malware techniques that might not already be identified and cataloged.

With both the Comprehensive and the Advanced Security Suites the latest malware signatures are downloaded periodically to the firewall to provide continuous protection for the business.

ANDY:  OK Charlie, You and Dave seem to like the SonicWall product line. Why?

CHARLIE:  I will tell you that proper configuration of a security appliance is not a simple task.  Dave has been working with the SonicWall products for several years and is very familiar with the configuration and settings.

We also like their product line for the small to mid-range businesses that offers strong protection and robust through-put at reasonable costs.

They have a world-wide network of monitors that they use to keep their protection software up to date and they frequently download protection signature updates to their equipment.

ANDY:  So for home users a firewall/router that you can get at a big box store or online should be sufficient.

CHARLIE:  For the most part yes.  For businesses whether home office or a business office you should consider a unit with much stronger protection that is properly configured by a network professional who is familiar with the device.

ANDY:  And I would strongly recommend that you check with PC Applications with your networking requirements and let them suggest which model SonicWall security appliance is right for you.  And they can configure it to work with your Internet Service Provider to provide the best throughput while blocking unwanted malware and intrusion attempts.

How do people get in touch with PC Applications, Charlie?

CHARLIE:  They can go to our web site, to see what we do, to see our blog with more tech tips or to contact us with their questions or requests regarding SonicWall security appliances or other network service and support.  That’s

Before your network’s down, just call Charlie Brown