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What is a Firewall?

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Derrick Lopez

A firewall is security software that runs on a physical, virtual, or cloud-based device. It is an important part of any well thought out IT Security strategy. The primary function of a firewall is to monitor and filter traffic based off the rules that are configured.It helps protect your network from outsiders gaining unauthorized access to the private data on your computer. 

What can firewalls block?   

Firewalls can block risky software downloads that could potentially contain viruses or worms, access to risky websites that are illegal or inappropriate, threats from malicious hackers trying to gain access to the network and much more threats. 

What are the characteristics of firewall protection?   

Firewalls will provide protection from outside threats such as hackers malicious websites, software, etc. They also protect the inside of the network. People within a company tend to pose the most danger to a company's network security posture. A firewall can dictate what users have access to and monitor the traffic that they are able to access. 

How do firewalls work?  

A firewall acts as a gatekeeper. It monitors attempts to gain access to your devices and blocks unwanted traffic or unrecognized sources. It also acts as a barrier or filter between your computer and the internet. 

A firewall works by monitoring every single piece of data coming through. This unit of data is typically called a packet. Each packet is investigated and compared to the rules based on the source, the destination, which port or protocol is used, and many other variables depending on the type of firewall. 

What are different types of firewalls?  

  • Packet-filtering 

A packet-filtering firewall is a management program that can block network traffic IP protocol, an IP address, and a port number. This type of firewall is the most basic form of protection, but it does have limitations. Because web-traffic is allowed, it does not block web-based attacks. So you will need additional protection to distinguish between friendly and malicious web traffic. 

  • Stateful multi-layer inspection (SMLI) firewalls 

The SMLI firewall has standard firewall capabilities and keeps track of established connections. It filters based upon state, port, and protocol, along with administrator-defined rules and context. This firewall is a step above packet-filtering because of its use of multi-layer monitoring.  However, it is still unable to distinguish between good and bad web traffic. 

  • Proxy firewalls 

A proxy firewall is a network security system that protects network resources by filtering messages at the application. 

  • Next-generation (NGFW) firewalls 

NGFW firewalls are more sophisticated than packet-filtering and SMLI firewalls. They have more levels of security, inspecting a data packet in its entirety. NGFW are better able to block more sophisticated and evolving security threats like advanced malware. 

  • Software firewalls 

A software firewall is installed on an induvial computer and it protects that single device. If multiple computers need protection, then the software must be installed on each device.  

  • Cloud firewalls 

Cloud firewalls are software-based, cloud deployed network devices, built to stop of mitigate unwanted access to private networks. 

Firewall Recommendations 

Cyber security is becoming more crucial to modern businesses, and it is important to be able to cover as many layers of security as possible. Therefore,pim recommends next gen firewalls as they will provide the traditional features of a firewall (packet inspection), but they take it to another level by providing features such as application filtering, web filtering, intrusion prevention systems, sandbox features, and many others.This is included in our flexible IT solutions (fits) package.  

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