Guide to Choosing the Right Firewall for Your Organization
Firewalls are constantly evolving with new functionality and advanced features. The size, scope, as well as scale of your organization will all play a role in choosing a firewall. This post will help you choose the right firewall for your organization.
What is a Firewall?
Firewalls inspect traffic entering the network to protect its perimeter. Firewalls can also inspect outgoing traffic. Firewalls can use either blacklist rules to block traffic considered dangerous or whitelist rules that allow traffic to be blocked that is likely to be safe. There are many types of firewalls.
Firewalls, for example, can be either software or hardware. They may also be cloud-based or on the user’s premises. Software firewalls can be installed on endpoints such as a computer or mobile device. Hardware firewalls are physical devices that connect between your gateway to the network it is connected to. All firewalls have the same basic function: they inspect and control traffic as it enters and leaves the network or device it is protecting.
Firewalls use protocol types, port numbers, source and destination addresses, and port numbers to identify traffic that must be blocked or allowed. For example, you might restrict TCP traffic from entering your network on ports 80 or 443, allow traffic from specific white-listed addresses only, or block traffic from addresses that are known to be associated in malware distribution.
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Five Types of Firewalls
There are many firewall options available, each with different capabilities and prices. When choosing firewalls, you will need to consider many factors.
Hardware vs. software firewalls
Hardware and software firewalls have their strengths and weaknesses. They can often be combined to provide greater security. In many ways, hardware firewalls are easier to use. They are a physical device that is connected to a router or gateway server to an external network and inspects all traffic entering and leaving the network. One device can be installed to provide protection for all devices connected to the network. Hardware firewalls can handle large volumes of traffic. They can be reconfigured or changed with minimal impact on network. Most firewalls use proprietary operating systems that are not susceptible to common attacks.
Software firewalls can be installed on individual devices and can be configured more precisely. They can be configured to blacklist or whitelist certain users. Software firewalls may also be able to screen incoming information based upon content and block malware that a hardware firewall might miss. Software firewalls can be more difficult to manage as they must be individually configured and updated. They may not work with all devices, and they are more susceptible to hacking.
Firewalls with packet-filtering
The simplest and most secure type of firewall is packet-filtering firewalls. They act as checkpoints for routers and check data packet source and destination addresses, ports and protocols against a set rules. If a packet fails the check, they block it. They usually only inspect the header of the packets and not the content. They provide little security, but are relatively fast, affordable, and easy to set up and maintain.
Circuit-level gateways offer a better level of security than packet filtering firewalls. Instead of inspecting i