If you’re new to IT you might have heard about the importance of acquiring firewalls. In our latest blog post, we’ll be explaining the main purpose of firewalls and the top types of firewalls that exist to make things much easier for IT beginners!

What is a firewall and how does it work?

For a bit of context, a firewall is a gatekeeper, that monitors information entering and leaving your business. In more technical language, it is a network security system that is designed to monitor and control the incoming and outgoing traffic (data) to the network.

Firewalls help protect your network and data by managing network traffic both entering and leaving your network.

This is carried out using a set of predetermined security rules to monitor packets entering and leaving your network and usually links a trusted device (server, PC, laptop) to a non-trusted device (i.e., the internet). ‘Packets’ refers to pieces of data that are formatted for transfer over the internet.

Firewalls can use this information to determine whether a data packet abides by the rule set. If the packet does not meet the rules applied, it will be blocked from entering your guarded network.

Regarding the rule sets, these can be based on several things indicated by packet data, including:

  • Their source
  • Their destination
  • Their content

What types of firewall are there?

Firewalls are typically your first line of defence against malware, viruses and attackers trying to make it to your organisation’s internal network and system. Structurally, there are two main types of firewalls which have various levels of protection. These include:

  • Software firewalls: Unlike most other firewalls, this one is installed on a local device rather than a separate piece of hardware or on the cloud. The main benefit of this type of firewall is that you can isolate individual network endpoints from other ones which gives you more granular control over your network security. The downside is that these firewalls can be expensive, time consuming, and difficult to maintain
  • Hardware firewalls: these are physical devices that use their own resources to run the firewall protocols. This type of network security is great at perimeter security as all potentially malicious data is intercepted before it reaches your company’s network. Hardware firewalls are particularly suited to networks that have multiple devices connected. On the other side, its weakness is an insider attack as this method could bypass this security.

Each firewall works in a slightly different way and is suited to different networks and businesses. But the main purpose of all firewalls is to help block malicious traffic requests and data packets, whilst also allowing the authentic, legitimate data and packets through. To learn more about the risks of not having a firewall system contact us today