Port forwarding can be a helpful tool if used correctly. However, port forwarding can also be a dangerous tool and expose your network and important data and information to malicious sources if not used safely.
No one wants to be a victim of a cyberattack and be forced to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair their network.
If used improperly, port forwarding can result in consequences to your organization if it is not done safely and correctly with a DMZ network.
Coeo has helped thousands of customers with their network security. We want to provide you with information on network security and how to port forward safely to avoid exposing your network to malicious sources.
By the end of this article, you will know what port forwarding is, what a DMZ network is, and how DMZ can help you port forward safely.
What is port forwarding?
Port forwarding allows remote servers and devices on the internet to be able to access devices on a private network.
If you are not using port forwarding, only devices on that private internal network can have access to each other or your network.
A port is a communication endpoint and is identified as a port number that is always associated with an IP address.
The port number is forwarded to other devices and IP addresses outside of your private network to grant access to outside sources when necessary.
Some sources outside your network including your clients or business partners need access to your documents or other elements within your network.
If they are not on your organization’s private network, chances are they will not be able to access those documents which is where port forwarding becomes beneficial.
Port forwarding works by configuring an internal IP address on the firewall. That IP address is then associated with an external IP address that other devices on the Internet know how to reach.
Doing this allows you to be seen on a public network while still being protected from outside sources.
What is a DMZ network?
A Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) network is a physical or logistical perimeter sub-network that contains and exposes an organization’s services and information to a larger public network like the internet.
A DMZ adds additional security outside of your private network. Think of the term demilitarized zone the same way the term is used in war. The demilitarized zone in war is a neutral zone that forbids military actions within a specific area.
This can be thought of in the same way that a demilitarized zone in network security functions. The DMZ is not part of your private network or the public internet so it is a neutral zone that is still seen as secure.
This allows you to send out data and other information over this zone to the public internet or other private networks outside of yours without having to worry about it being compromised.
How a DMZ network can help you port forward
Now you know what port forwarding is and what a DMZ network is. But how does a DMZ network help your organization port forward?
When port forwarding, it is recommended that you do so within the DMZ. With the DMZ being a protected zone outside of your network it is the best way to port forward outside of your network safely without your data being compromised.
A DMZ network can help you port forward in three ways: it helps you enable access control, prevents network intrusion, and it blocks IP spoofing.
1. Enables access control
While using DMZ to port forward it allows you to provide your business access to services outside the perimeters of their network through the public internet. These services include mail and web servers.
You have access to mail, web, and servers on the internet without a DMZ and port forwarding but you can only have access to public servers and your devices and networks are not protected.
The DMZ enables access to these services with private and secure networks making it more difficult for an unauthorized user to reach the private network.
2. Prevents network intrusion
Because the DMZ is a secure network, it ensures your data and information sent across to other private networks is secure. The DMZ prevents network intrusion and allows you to port forward safely.
3. Blocks IP spoofing
Malicious attackers can sometimes gain access to systems and pretend to be an approved device on your network. Have you ever received an email from someone you thought was your co-worker but it turned out to be a malicious actor?
This is called IP spoofing and it can be consequential if the actor is not identified and stopped. The DMZ network will block IP spoofing as your data gets sent through the network securely.
Next steps to using a DMZ network to port forward
Now you know what port forwarding is, what a DMZ network is, and how a DMZ network can help you port forward safely. By being able to port forward safely, there won't be a need to worry about your data or your network being compromised.
Data breaches and cyberattacks can be costly to organizations both financially and to your network.
No one wants to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on their network or have permanent damage to their network so securing your data and network is essential.
Coeo has helped thousands of customers with network security. We want to give you all of the information to secure your network because we know how important it is for your organization to protect your network and avoid a cyberattack.
If you would like to speak with our team to talk more about network security or ask any questions you may have you can schedule an appointment.
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