Four Things to Know About Firewalls

Meta description: What’s a firewall? Read this overview to learn about how firewalls protect your networks and the top four things to know about their features and uses. Keywords: firewalls, what’s a firewall, four things to know about firewalls,

Four Things to Know About Firewalls

Firewalls are considered a crucial part of both personal and business network security. This technology has largely influenced network security methods, with many networks using a firewall or similar technology.

What’s a Firewall?

Firewalls, either hardware or software-based, are a security device to help protect networks. It functions as a barrier and filter for your operating system, managing access from other networks and blocking unwanted traffic or malware. Its main functions include packet filtering, logging and detection of activities and managing gateways.

Four Things to Know About Firewalls

1. Different Types of Firewalls

There are many kinds of firewalls available, each suited to different user needs. Hardware firewalls exist and filter between your network and gateway, while a software firewall is a program installed on your device that manages network activities. Cloud-based firewalls are also useful for users looking for perimeter security and for a service that grows and adapts easily to the network. Common types of firewalls include:
  • Packet-filtering firewalls
  • Proxy firewalls
  • Stateful inspection firewalls
  • Circuit level gateways
  • Next-generation firewalls
  • Virtual firewalls
  • Unified threat management firewalls
  • Network address translation firewalls

2. Features

Not all firewalls are created equal. Older firewalls, such as older hardwares or the softwares typically pre-installed on your computer’s operating system, have many capabilities. They can perform basic functions like blocking and allowing network access for ports, IP addresses and other sources, but may not be able to respond to more advanced hacker or malware threats. Newer firewalls can provide more advanced features like:
  • Anti-virus protection
  • Application control
  • Intrusion protection/detection
  • Web content filtering
  • Packet inspection

3. More Than Security

Firewalls help secure your networks from malware and hackers, but they also provide other useful functions beyond security. They increase your scope of the network by enabling you to review real-time and historical network traffic, which is a helpful tool for either troubleshooting network issues or supporting remote users. Businesses sometimes enforce network policies and restrict what users on its network can access with a firewall. In these cases, businesses can use firewalls to filter web content and block websites that may distract users from work-related tasks. These controls can also help regulate bandwidth use by blocking high bandwidth-demanding applications and sites.

4. Firewalls Require Regular Reviews

Setting firewall rules and leaving it can lead to major network security failures. The technology environment is changing constantly, meaning that your firewall likewise needs to be regularly reviewed and updated to keep up. Regularly reviewing firewall rules is even a requirement for some networks that accept merchant payments, ensuring user information is well-protected. Network logs can monitor and identify firewall security issues. Reviewing logs every few months can help you to prevent and minimize data breach risks and anticipate network attacks. If you’re ready to upgrade your network security, visit our website or contact us to find out more.