What is Firewall? Types of Firewall

what is firewall

What is Firewall? Types of Firewall

A firewall is a hardware device or software application system designed to prevent unauthorized access to or from a private network. Firewall security system can be implemented in either hardware or software form, or a combination of both software & hardware. Firewalls system prevent unauthorized users from accessing private networks connected to the internet, especially intranets. All traffic entering or leaving the intranet must pass through the firewall security system, which filter each packets and data blocks those that do not meet the specified security policies or criteria. A firewall system is considered a first line of defense to secure your network. Firewalls are designed to protect your network traffic and connections.

What is Firewall – Definition?

A firewall security system is a network security appliance which filter and monitors incoming and outgoing network traffic and decides whether to block or allow the particular traffic based on a defined set of security policies set on firewall. They establish a barrier between secured and controlled internal network that can be trusted and untrusted outside networks, such as the Internet.

Hardware Firewall

A hardware firewall is a appliance that act as a security wall between your local network of computers and the Internet. The hardware firewall will monitor all the incoming and outgoing data that comes in from the Internet and allow or block according to the policies set on firewall, passing along the safe data packets while blocking the dangerous packets. Hardware firewalls require setup from a expert IT professional, and so may not be a feasible solution for companies without a dedicated IT department. For small medium or large businesses with many computers, however, being able to control network security from one single device simplifies the job. There are several Firewall Security Companies who provide Managed Firewall Services to keep your network secure from unauthorized access. Example of Hardware Firewalls :

Software Firewalls

Software firewalls are the software application installed on endpoints on a network. Unlike hardware firewalls, software firewalls can easily distinguish between computer programs. This lets firewall allow data to one program while blocking another. Software firewalls can also filter incoming and outgoing packets of data, as well as remote responses to outgoing requests. The main disadvantage of software firewalls for a running business is their maintenance. As software firewalls are installed on individual computer so it requires installation, updating and administration on each individual computer. Example of Software Firewalls are :

  • Barracuda
  • Bitdefender Internet Security
  • Juniper Networks
  • Comodo
  • ZoneAlarm
  • McAfee

Their are many differences between a software firewall and hardware firewall, and to implement the best security policy in your premises its advised to use both hardware & software firewall, as each  firewall offers different but much-needed security features and benefits. Updating your firewall, software applications and your operating system regularly is very essential to maintaining optimal protection of your network and data.

Types of Firewall :

  • Proxy firewall
  • Stateful inspection firewall
  • Unified threat management (UTM) firewall
  • Next-generation firewall (NGFW)

Proxy Firewall : A proxy firewall is a network security firewall that protects network resources by filtering messages at the application layer. A proxy firewall is also known as application firewall or gateway firewall.  A firewall proxy provides internet access to connected computers on a network but is mostly deployed to provide security by controlling the data going out of the network or coming in the network. Firewall proxy servers filter, log, cache, and control requests coming from a client to keep the IT network secure from attacks and intrusions.

Stateful inspection firewall : Stateful firewall is a network firewall that monitors the state and characteristics of active network connections traversing it and Only packets matching a known active connection are allowed to pass the firewall. Stateful inspection, also known as dynamic packet filtering. Check Point Software Technologies developed stateful inspection firewall in the early 1990s.

Unified threat management (UTM) firewall : A unified threat management (UTM) system is a hardware network security appliance, virtual appliance or cloud service that secures businesses from latest security threats in a simplified way by combining and integrating multiple security services and features. A UTM appliance will usually include basic security functions such as: antivirus, anti-spyware, anti malware, anti-spam, network firewalling, intrusion detection and prevention, content filtering and leak prevention.

Next-generation firewall (NGFW) : A next-generation firewall (NGFW) is a part of the third generation type of firewall technology that is implemented in either hardware appliance or software system and is capable of detecting and blocking malicious attacks  and intrusions by enforcing security policies at the application, port and protocol levels. Next-generation firewall NGFWs has many functionalities of traditional firewalls like packet filtering, network address translation (NAT) and port address translation (PAT), URL blocking, and virtual private networks (VPNs) with quality of service (QoS) functionality and other features that are not found in traditional firewalls such as intrusion prevention, SSL and SSH inspection, deep-packet inspection, and reputation-based malware detection, as well as application awareness.

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