What is a Firewall?


CyNexLink Blog   •   August 14, 2017


Your company’s data is a treasured commodity, the safety of which is crucial to the efficiency and overall performance of the organization.

There are a variety of ways to keep this data and its storage safe, but perhaps the most consistently utilized practices is firewall protection.

A firewall is a network device that blocks specific forms of network traffic, setting a bulwark between trusted and untrusted networks. This provides a defense against most computer attacks, however, embarking upon a search for the perfect firewall can be convoluted and confusing.

There are a variety of different firewalls, each offering their own upsides and downsides.

Some versions of the firewall include:

Deep packet inspection firewall:  This looks at the data in the packet before it passes an inspection point, looking for viruses, spam, or other potentially harmful species of malicious software.
There are a few issues with this type of firewall. As an example, each firewall may not necessarily go as “deep” as the other, so some may not inspect the entire packet. Also, the firewall may not have the processing power or ability to cope with as much bandwidth that your network, for example, may necessitate.

Application firewall: This firewall system controls access by applications to the operating system of a computer. This provides additional protection by holding jurisdiction over the execution of files and handling of data by applications.

There can be downsides to application firewalls, largely because users may be lured into a false sense of security and not continue to conduct further forms of security for web protection like security scans.

Packet filtering firewall: This system can block traffic of IP addresses or of systems protocol. However, the firewall allows all web traffic, including attacks. So intrusion prevention is a must to differentiate between good and harmful web users.

Another privation with this type of firewall is that it can’t differentiate between a false or true data packet. Thus, many a time it will allow both to enter the network.

Stateful firewall: Similar to a packet filtering firewall, the stateful firewall only allows packets with an established connection into the network, discriminating against packets that feign origins from an established connection.

However, the stateful firewall still can’t distinguish between good and bad web traffic. Intrusion prevention is still needed to protect against web attacks.

Firewalls are used by many companies to guard against malicious lurkers on the web or hiding in other areas waiting to attack network data stores. Your data is valuable and firewalls are essential to any company’s security tactics.

But, choosing what firewalls to use can be confusing and can put a company’s network at risk. For businesses that don’t have an IT department with adequate knowledge, it would be desirable to use the experience of an outsourced IT company to make sure that data is safe and secure.

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