A firewall is a network security system that monitors incoming and outgoing network traffic based on a set of security rules. A firewall acts as a barrier between trusted, secured internal networks and less scrupulous networks. These security measures work to prevent unauthorized access to or from private networks. They examine all messages entering or leaving a company’s intranet.
When we speak of hardware firewalls they are specialized network boxes that contain customized hardware and software. When configured hardware firewalls provide a protective barrier around an organization’s computer systems and the outside world. Hardware firewalls are best suited for an organization that desires a security umbrella that encapsulates multiple systems. As you might imagine this solution is a bit more expensive than its software counterpart and more suited for medium-sized businesses.
In contrast to its counterpart, software firewalls are a more attractive option for individual users and smaller businesses. Software firewalls are installed directly on an individual’s PC or workgroup server. Software firewalls can also be used in conjunction with their hardware counterpart. Software firewalls are convenient for mobile workers that need digital security when they are in the field.
What Do Firewalls Protect Against?
Firewalls are vital for protecting against attacks and winning battles against cybercriminals bent on stealing sensitive business information. A firewall provides a critical choke point. This is where security audits can be imposed. They work to protect confidential information from those not authorized to access it and protect against malicious users.
Types of Firewalls
Firewalls can be broken down into three main types:
- Packet filters – This type of firewall operates at the router level and compares each packet received to a set of established criteria. Packet-filtering firewalls evaluate IP addresses, packet type, port number etc before being dropped or forwarded.
- Stateful inspection – Also known as dynamic packet filtering, this firewall technology monitors the state of active TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) sessions and uses this information to determine which packets to pass through.
- Proxies – This firewall acts as an intermediary between in-house clients and servers on the internet.
The Key Takeaway
If you are a small business with sensitive data then it is critical to take steps to safeguard your business information. Whether your organization chooses to adopt a hardware based firewall solution or a software firewall application, take steps to safeguard your business today. Contact us today for a free network health audit. Your network is the backbone of your business. Our team will make sure it’s always up and running when you need it.