This article originally appeared on myfrugalbusiness.com
Your business may have a need for computers, hardware, software, and IT Solutions, but do you have the resources to pay for technology experts and dedicated account teams? CDW is a leading provider of big tech business solutions but it ends up being a big investment in the short and long term.
CDW Corporation is a Fortune 500 company, a member of the S&P 500 Index, and was founded in 1984. Currently, CDW employs around 10,000 workers -- so you can imagine that this company might have quite a bit of overhead, expenses that will often get handed down to customers via higher priced products and service offerings.
When it comes down to it, CDW is just so expensive. Are you ready for an alternative? Some businesses might be looking for additional avenues for their IT, software, hardware, and tech solutions. Read on for a few of the best alternatives that will help your business save money while still gleaning the same benefits as you would with CDW.
More On Firewalls
If you need to brush up on your computer literacy, that’s okay and do not fret. When it comes to the firewall, this is a network security device. Firewalls, when working effectively, monitor network traffic (incoming and outgoing) and make the ultimate decision to either block or allow specific traffic -- which is always based on a clearly defined and unique group of security rules.
You can consider your firewall to be your first line of defense when it comes to your network security. In short, firewalls help filter your traffic (which protects your network) while blocking outside invaders who want unauthorized and unadulterated access to precious private data that your company keeps on its computers.
Providing different levels of protection, firewalls can be extremely effective in providing a primary layer of security. Types of firewalls include proxy firewalls, stateful inspection firewalls, UTM (Unified Threat Management Firewalls), NGFW (Next Generation Firewalls), and virtual firewalls.
Remember that just one solitary data breach can cost a business millions of dollars. As a matter of fact, Cybercrime Magazine reported that global cybercrime damages are projected to reach over $6 trillion a year by 2021.
The Necessity Of Firewall Protection
Although your firewall does a lot of work protecting you, you have to do some work protecting your firewall as well. Every single type of firewall can be prone to hacking, and the growing number of cyber attacks that occur every year show that cyber threats won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. A recent RiskBased Security report revealed that 15 billion records were exposed in 2019. Businesses must seek effective solutions if they are looking to explore alternatives to CDW.
There are numerous ways that a hacker can get through a firewall, such as encrypted injection attacks, DNS leaking, neighboring Wi-Fi access points, IOT attacks, social engineering, and more. Hackers are generally pretty industrious, too, so they are always coming up with new and ingenious ways to do their damage.
Certain businesses (like medical practices) store sensitive information about patients and clients that should never be put in jeopardy. As a business, it also looks very bad if there is any sort of security breach, which can often result in a breach of trust in the hearts and minds of those who do business with you. Finding the right firewall solution is crucial and any alternative to industry- leading products and solutions on the market need to be given a proper stress test, so to speak.
Businesses most vulnerable to hacking include both small and medium-sized businesses, although most media covers large corporation hacks -- common scams include fishing scams and malware attacks. Many industry experts suggest that hacking is a big reason why such a large percentage of small and medium-sized businesses fail within their first year.
The healthcare field is susceptible to ransomware, which causes over 27 million sensitive patient records to get sold on the darkweb each year. Government agencies, the energy industry, and higher education are also incredibly vulnerable to hackers. Where does your business fall on the spectrum and is it worth the risk to compromise your security in order to save a few dollars?
Tips To Improve Firewall Security
There are a number of ways that businesses can help improve their own security internally. For instance, making sure that internal threats are neutralized and minimized can be extremely helpful. A company’s janitor will have a completely different level of access than a run-of-the-mill hacker will… and can do just as much damage if compelled.
Another huge internal security threat is virtual private network (VPN) clients, which comes as the result of unhardened desktop operating system implementations.
Make sure that you clearly define what any VPN user access allowances are and make sure that VPN users only have access to what they absolutely need. Make sure that you practice intelligent security policy and that you can track it automatically. When it comes down to it, changes in operations can often outpace our ability to change our security policies, which makes automation extremely helpful (and even necessary) when tracking employee retention/acquisition/termination, network usage, as well as which computers in your network are communicating with which.
Another quick measure you can take to improve overall cybersecurity is to disable any unused network services. In larger companies, you might see close to a hundred hosts having access to an SMTP port, which means that there are close to a hundred latent mail server vulnerabilities that you could be contending with. Do a quick network audit and make sure to get rid of any and all services that have no business running and are of no use to you.
In the event of a breach it’s helpful to be aware of your critical assets and servers, this way you can secure those all-important areas of your business first.
Lastly, make sure that your wireless network is fully secure as well. Many threats can come from rogue wireless access points, so it’s crucial to address this. One simple solution is to offer wireless access at your facility or place of business, but set up an access point outside of your perimeter firewalls and request that users utilize VPN. This will dissuade users from constructing rogue wireless network access points… since your network is already providing wireless.
CDW Is Just So Expensive. Are You Ready For An Alternative?
For those who are considering alternatives to CDW software, it’s always important to make an informed purchasing decision -- your business relies on this. Potential buyers might compare offerings and competencies that span over different categories (evaluation, contracting, integration, deployment, service, support, product specs / capabilities, etc.). When it comes down to it, you have to choose the best software and/or services that fit in line with the day-to-day operations of your organization.
One popular alternative to CDW is Accenture, a consulting and implementation practice that has amazing project management resources for businesses to take advantage of. Accenture also offers round the clock support for those projects that are in the critical phase and ready to go live at any moment.
Sirius offers another CDW alternative by helping businesses and organizations optimize their security and agility through advanced IT offerings which run the full gamut of design, optimization and implementation, not to mention operation solutions that help companies better protect precious data, intellectual property, and, essentially, a business’s brand.
Businesses can also pursue OneNeck IT Solutions, which is a company that gives its clients a full spectrum of IT solutions which includes cloud services and ERP application management. The benefit of using OneNeck is that it has a far more hands-on approach for their hardware and software solutions than big box companies like CDW.
Another CDW competitor worth mentioning is Lenovo, which offers Chrome enterprise and education solutions. Lenovo is highly responsive, offers an amazing quality of work, and is also very easy to do business with.
The G2 Storefront is another CDW alternative whose motto is “Buying software just got smarter. And cheaper.” You can easily shop for highly curated software that you can trust, take ownership over your own software purchase journey, not to mention uncover exclusive new deals on the latest software finds.
If you’ve been looking at CDW offerings and wondering if it’s worth it to try to explore other avenues in order to save money and possibly even achieve a higher quality of product and level of service, you’re not alone. Doing a fair share of research and due diligence will ensure that you don’t make any sacrifices when it comes to your network protection. When it comes down to it, when it comes to cybersecurity, it’s better to plan for the worst and go with the best software and service provider that you can afford and still grow as a business.
CDW Cybersec Conclusion
Cybercrime is not a laughing matter and CDW and other alternatives have gained their reputations in the industry by providing products and services that get results. Make sure that your firewall protection plan is economical, but also extremely effective for cyber security.