Why are Firewalls Important?

A firewall is not actually a massive wall of fire, the firewalls we are talking about produce no heat, and only burn potential hackers. A firewall is a network security device which constantly monitors outgoing and incoming network traffic. Firewalls act as guards or a wall for your network and establish a barrier between incoming traffic from external sources and your internal network. A firewall will permit data to enter your network or block data from entering your network based on the firewall security rules.

What are Firewalls?

Antivirus software on your computers will protect system files from unwanted programs. A firewall helps keep hackers and other external threats from gaining access to your network in the first place. Firewalls are important because most computers are connected to the internet and are at risk from hackers and cyber-attacks. Security threats can travel from computer to computer seeking a network with low-security settings and vulnerabilities so they can insert themselves into the network system without your knowledge. Hackers and viruses are like parasites in the digital world. That’s why we tend to call them worms and trojan horses. They find computers to infect through the internet, and this is where firewalls come in handy!

Since firewalls monitor and guard your network 24/7, they can easily see what information is going in and out of your network. Firewalls can spot and block dangerous data which could harm your network. They can also prevent access that would allow a hacker to steal information on your finances or identity. Having a firewall helps prevent you from becoming a victim of cyber-crime, ransomware, and malware attacks!

Firewalls are the gatekeepers of your network and help protect all your sensitive data and information. They play a major role in network security. Firewalls can be either hardware or software which means a firewall installed on all of your computers regulates incoming and outgoing traffic is a software firewall. A physical firewall or hardware firewalls are devices installed between the gateway and your network. There are various different types of firewalls and each one offers similar and different network protection capabilities.

The Five Types of Firewalls.

1. Packet Filtering Firewall

Packet filtering firewalls are one of the original firewall types. This firewall creates a checkpoint at your network’s traffic router or switch. Packet filtering firewall will perform a check of the information or data packets passing through your router and closely check the information to see where the data is going, where it came from, and other base-level information. If the data does not pass the firewall inspection, it is dropped and block from entering your network! Packet filtering firewalls will check all the data going in and out of your network and kick out any data packets which could potentially harm your network or compromise your data security. They are great because these firewalls do not have a huge impact on the performance of your system, but they are not as secure as other firewall options.

2. Circuit-Level Gateways

Circuit-level gateways are another simple firewall option. These firewall is programmed to quickly and efficiently deny or approve network traffic without slowing down your systems and eating up computer resources. Circuit-level gateways are programed to verify the TCP (transmission control protocol). The TCP checkpoint is coded to ensure the data coming into your network is legitimate.

3. Stateful Inspection Firewall

Stateful inspection firewalls are a combination of the packet filtering firewall and circuit-level gateway firewall. This firewall option combines TCP verification and data packet inspection methods to create a high level of network protection. They closely inspect every aspect of incoming and outgoing information to ensure nothing could be lurking within. The only downside to stateful inspection firewalls are they operate at a higher level. and require more computing resources. They can sometimes slow downloading times to ensure thorough data inspection before allowing access to your network.

4. Proxy Firewall

A proxy firewall is also referred to as an application-level gateway or cloud firewall. These firewalls are supplied via proxy devices or cloud solutions. The proxy firewall operates by directly connecting to data packets attempting to enter your network and inspect the data. They do not let data to connect directly to your network before inspection but act as a welcoming committee before data can even reach your network. Proxy firewalls perform a deep inspection and check the external and internal information for potential threats. If the data passes the proxy firewall inspection, it can connect to your network. This is beneficial because it creates an extra barrier between your network and the client (the original source of the data attempting to enter your network). Since proxy firewalls are so thorough in the inspection, they can significantly slow down your network.

5. Next-Generation Firewall

All the newer firewalls are referred to as “next-generation firewalls”. But they all utilize many of the same tactics as the firewalls listed above at different levels. They mix and match techniques in order to provide your network with superb security. The drawback to the next-generation firewalls is you need to verify the specific techniques and protection ability the different next-generation firewalls use as there is not one sole definition for next-generation firewalls.

Protect Your Business Data with a Firewall

Firewalls work to protect your network and data from viruses and cyberattacks. If the data passes the firewalls inspection and is deemed safe, you can access the information. You can choose firewalls which provide different types of security benefits and drawbacks. Employing firewall security is a must-have for all businesses. Choosing the right firewall for your business will depend on the level of security and computer speed you are looking for. A managed IT service provider can help your business choose and implement the right firewall for your needs and ensure it is always up to date and scanning for potential security threats efficiently!