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Reasons An Organization May Want to Port Forward

May 15th, 2023 | 3 min. read

By Jordan Pioth

Persons hand on computer mouse working on a computer at a desk

If your organization is having a difficult time sending data to users outside of your network, you may want to know how port forwarding can help your organization with this task.

Learning the reasons for port forwarding will help you determine if it is a good fit for your organization.

Coeo has helped thousands of customers with their network infrastructure and knows how important strong network security is to an organization.

We want you to know the reasons for port forwarding so you understand how it can help your organization.

By the end of this article, you will know what port forwarding is, the reasons to port forward, and if port forwarding is the right fit for your organization.

What is port forwarding?

Port forwarding, allows remote servers and devices on the internet to access devices that reside on a private network.

Without port forwarding, only devices on a private internal network can have access to each other or your network and will not be able to send and receive data from users outside of the network.

Of course, the reason you have network security is to keep outside sources from penetrating that network. If you are able to prevent access to outside sources, chances are you have strong security over your network.

However, there are times when it is necessary to grant access to an outside source.

If clients or business partners need access to documents or other information within your network and do not have access to that network, port forwarding will provide that access.

Port forwarding works by connecting an internal IP address to the firewall. By doing this, the internal IP address is linked with an external IP address that other devices on the internet are able to see and know how to reach.

This allows your network to be seen on a private network while still maintaining its security and preventing outside sources from penetrating it.

Reasons to port forward

There are many reasons your organization should port forward. Some of these reasons include:

●      Allows access to employees working remotely

Port forwarding gives remote-working employees the ability to access the organization’s network from their homes or other locations away from the organization’s office location.

This makes it useful for employees to access the data and resources they need to perform their work while working outside of the office from another location.

●      Improves network security

Port forwarding can also help improve network security by limiting access to devices, services, or other areas of your organization’s network.

This results in better security because your network will be accessed by fewer devices limiting access to malicious actors.

The more devices there are that are able to access your network, the higher chance your network may be hacked following the attack of one of the devices.

●      Access to network services

Your organization may have services integrated into your network that only users on the network can access. These services and applications could include SD-WAN or UCaaS that can be forwarded to an external user.

If your organization wants to host specific services or applications on its network, port forwarding can help users outside of your network have access to these services.

●      Sharing files

If your organization shares files and data with external users, it may be a good idea to port forward to those who cannot access the files.

An example of this would be if your organization needs to send important contract information to a business partner who is not in your organization’s network.

Port forwarding will allow you to share these files with outside users who do not have access to your network.

Is port forwarding the right fit for your organization?

Now you know what port forwarding is and the reasons to use it. But should your organization port forward?

Your organization may want to port forward if you have partners that do business with your organization regularly but do not have access to your network.

If these partners do not have access to your network, you may need to port forward to them so they have access to contracts and other important files.

If your organization has a peer-to-peer network, you also might want to port forward. Peer-to-peer networks allow you to share and access data and resources directly without the need for a central authority.

However, before port forwarding, it is important to understand that it can be dangerous if not done correctly. Port forwarding can lead to cyberattacks resulting in the cost of millions of dollars if your IP address ends up in the wrong hands.

If your organization does decide to port forward, it is important to do so safely by only porting to devices in a DMZ, only forwarding the specific ports required, and restricting the IP addresses within your network that are allowed to port forward.

Next steps to set up port forwarding

Now you know what port forwarding is, the reasons to port forward, and whether port forwarding is the right solution for your organization. This information will allow you to determine if your organization should port forward.

It can be difficult to send data and resources to other users outside of your network. With port forwarding, you can ensure outside users will receive the data, files, and resources they need even if they are not in your network.

Coeo has helped thousands of customers with their network and knows how important an organization’s network is to the success of the business.

We want you to know the reasons to port forward so you can determine if your organization should or should not port forward.

If you would like to speak with our team to learn more about port forwarding or ask any questions you may have you can schedule an appointment.TALK TO AN EXPERT

Read these articles below to learn more about port forwarding and network security:

Jordan Pioth

When he's not creating content for Coeo, Jordan loves to watch sports, hang out with friends and family, and anything sneaker-related.