Target. eBay. Michaels. Yahoo. Adobe. Neiman Marcus.

All of these organizations have fallen prey to high-profile security breaches during the past 12 months. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, 395 data breaches were reported to regulators or in the media between January 1, 2014 and July 8, 2014. That’s a 21 percent jump from the same time frame in 2013.

Security is more challenging than ever as organizations of all sizes struggle to fend off highly sophisticated threats that emerge each day. Shrinking or flat IT budgets make it difficult to hire and retain a team of security specialists capable of implementing and managing a robust security system that can keep up with ever-changing threats. Dispersed workforces, employee-owned mobile devices and cloud-based services have made IT environments more complex and tougher to secure.

A reliable network firewall is a critical first line of defense against hackers, but many IT managers are finding that managing the firewall is no longer a do-it-yourself proposition. Managed firewall services allow resource-strapped organizations to turn over the responsibility of administering and monitoring the firewall to a third party in order to minimize the risk of a breach. These services can be utilized with a traditional on-premises firewall or a network-based firewall, which is essentially a cloud-based firewall deployed through a service provider’s infrastructure.

With managed firewall services, a team of security experts will manage important security functions such as 24×7 monitoring, traffic inspection, regulatory compliance, access controls, software updates and troubleshooting. Most organization simply don’t have the manpower to handle these tasks on a day-to-day basis. Security controls and policies are customized to meet the needs of the individual organization from the perspectives of both business operations and compliance.

When managed firewall services are applied to a network-based firewall, organizations can also take advantage of significant cost savings and flexibility. Purchasing, installing, upgrading and maintaining hardware and software become the responsibility of the service provider. Because you’re basically subscribing to a firewall service, operational costs are more predictable. New firewall locations can be added without affecting your in-house IT staff or routing traffic through headquarters, and new functionality can be quickly turned on or off as needed.

IPC Technologies offers both on-premises and network-based managed firewall services. We can also provide a hybrid approach that leverages your existing technology investments and allows you take advantage of the efficiency and flexibility of the cloud. Let us help you assess your operational and compliance needs and develop a firewall solution that minimizes the risk of cyberattacks.