Firewalls play a crucial role in securing your computer network and protecting your data from threats. You probably know that firewalls keep your network safe, but what exactly are they and how do they work? And how do firewalls secure your network?
In short, firewalls protect your network by keeping unwanted data out. This protects your network from threats and controls access to your network.
In this article, I will explain what firewalls are, the types of firewalls that are available, their benefit to your business, and how to use firewalls effectively.
How Does a Firewall Protect My Network?
IBM defines a firewall as “a blocked between a secure internal network and an untrusted network such as the internet.” Put simply, a firewall is a network security tool that looks at incoming and outgoing data within your network. A firewall secures your network by checking each piece of data against a set of rules, and any data that does not follow the rules is blocked from coming into the network. This prevents your network from the intrusion of cyber threats.
Firewalls come in two types: hardware and software. A hardware firewall is a separate piece of equipment, while a software firewall is a program you install on your computer. Most systems have a basic firewall, but you can get better protection from a third-party firewall.
Next, I will breakdown the types of firewalls that are available to your business.
Types of Firewalls
Firewalls can serve different purposes, so there are a variety of types. Each firewall is set up differently to provide tailored protection to your network.
These are the types of firewalls that are available:
- Packet Filtering Firewall: This type of firewall checks the information in each packet that tries to enter the network and only allows it in if it meets specific criteria.
- Application-Level Gateway: This type of firewall filters traffic based on specific rules for each app and only allows traffic that meets these rules to enter the network.
- Circuit-Level Gateway: This type of firewall checks if a connection is legitimate but does not inspect the contents of the packets.
- Stateful Inspection Firewall: This type of firewall combines aspects of the other three types of firewalls and checks both the connection and the contents of packets.
- Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW): This type of firewall includes all the functions of a traditional firewall but has additional features such as application control and intrusion prevention.
Now that I’ve explained the different types of firewalls, let’s talk about how they work.
How Do Firewalls Secure My Network?
Firewalls are a crucial part of any business’s data security plan and should always be a part of your arsenal of data security measures. Basically, your firewall secures your network and keeps threats out.
Here’s how firewalls are indispensable in keeping your network safe:
- Network Security: A firewall keeps unwanted visitors out of your network. It blocks threats such as viruses, malware, and hackers.
- Access Control: You can use a firewall to decide who gets into your network. This can help limit or block access from the riskier parts of the internet.
- Threat Prevention: By examining all data that tries to enter your network, firewalls can spot and stop threats before they get in.
- Network Segmentation: Firewalls can divide your network into smaller, separate parts. If one part gets infected, the problem can be isolated.
- Application Control: You can also control which applications can send and receive data. This helps to block risky applications and keeps your network safer.
How Can I Effectively Use Firewalls to Secure My Network?
A firewall will protect your network, but you need to put some best practices in place. Choosing the wrong type of firewall or if your team doesn’t understand how to use it, your network can still be vulnerable to threats.
To get the most out of your firewall, consider these tips:
- Pick the correct type of firewall for your business’s needs.
- Keep your firewall’s rules up to date to deal with new threats.
- Train your team on how to use the firewall correctly.
- Check regularly that your firewall is working as it should.
In short, it’s important to make sure that you choose the right type of firewall, keep it updated and maintained, and educate your team on how to use it.
Firewalls: Your Network’s First Line of Defense
Firewalls are a critical tool that ensure the safety of your network. They help protect your valuable data and systems from cyber threats. With the different types of firewalls, you can pick the one that fits your business needs best.
Using a firewall is only one part of a security plan. Always stay vigilant and be updated about other ways to strengthen your cybersecurity.