Why should I use Network Address Translation (NAT)?


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According to our WatchGuard glossary: Network Address Translation (NAT) “is a technology where you advertise one IP address for the world to send stuff to (e-mails, HTTP, database traffic, whatever)”.

Your device (like WatchGuard XTM) then translates this stuff being sent through from outside your network to the single IP (internet protocol) location and passes in on to the right IP address in your network.

For example, all the computers in your business or at your home might have individual IP addresses that connect to the outside world through a single point when using NAT, rather than each computer receiving things like your email or shared files directly from external sources like funny videos from your friend Bob or the spambot that keeps filling your inbox (unless you have anti-spam security). When the information passes through that single point, NAT recognises the information and says “I have to pass this information on to Jenny’s computer” or to a certain location in the network and sends it through.

You may be thinking, so what? Why is NAT useful?

By using NAT, your WatchGuard device can conceal or ‘masquerade’ the individual IP addresses on your internal network and can combine hundreds or even thousands of these private addresses into a single or multiple external IP addresses, hiding individual computers or network locations from outsiders. It also allowed for the temporary continued growth of IPv4, a system that provides a limited number of addresses to identify different computers or systems across the world wide web.

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As a result of hiding the individual addresses of your computers, NAT also acts as a type of firewall (that should be combined with a range other security methods to ensure complete protection) to help defend your systems against external attacks and data breaches.  This is where combining NAT with added security using firewall, anti-spam, virus & malware as well as data loss protection and monitoring will help provide complete security for your network.

Other types of NAT like Dynamic and 1-to-1 Network Address Translations can also be used to allow people to publicly access your internal servers or secure a network by masking your network’s internal configuration. This means that any malicious connections have to start behind the device running NAT and will not be able to start connections with individual machines on your network. Each type of NAT can be used for different purposes depending on the needs of the network.

If you’re using NAT to organise and protect your network (combined with all the other security requirements), your network will run safer and more efficiently. If you have any questions about your Network Address Translation (NAT), UTM or network security, give our experienced team at LogicalTech a call on 1300 858 117 or send us your inquiry with our contact form below. Alternatively, you can learn more about WatchGuard Technologies here.

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LogicalTech is one of the leading Professional Partner with WatchGuard Technologies in Australia. Find out more by contacting an authorized WatchGuard reseller, LogicalTech today. LogicalTech confirms that all contact information provided will be treated confidentially and will only be used to contact you regarding this enquiry.

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