You’re either secure or not. There is no middle ground when it comes to having proper network security. The strength of your organization’s security depends immensely on the type of firewall that you implement. A firewall is designed to protect corporate data from unwanted intrusions and malware keeping business applications secure from outside attacks.
Firewalls vary in terms of advantages as well as protection capabilities. Let’s discuss how to find the ones that best fit your business.
A firewall is a firmware or software that constantly inspects outgoing and incoming traffic by means of predefined rules to identify potential threats. If a packet doesn’t follow the firewall’s specified rules or contains something unfamiliar, it is blocked or isolated.
In order to function effectively, a firewall must meet certain standards, be able to establish a ‘security fence’ around a private network, and prevent unauthorized access.
The firewall helps filter the traffic that enters your network. This is an intensive task as malicious application traffic often disguises itself as HTTPS or HTTP traffic.
A firewall offers an automated system for quarantining hosts that seem potentially dangerous.
With more businesses allocating resources to the cloud, it is important to use a firewall to ensure information is kept secure at all times.
Four types of firewalls are recommended for securing business internet access. These include:
Each of these 4 is relevant depending on various factors. These can include functionality, capacity, size of the business, internet access requirements, etc. Let’s look at them in detail below.
Hardware-based firewalls are physical devices distinct from the router. They reside between the internet connection and the network computers. Rather than connecting the network cable to the server, the cable is first connected to the hardware-based firewall. These devices come complete with memory, processor, and software.
A hardware-based firewall serves a dual purpose by protecting all the devices connected to it and allowing a single point of control for all network activity. They add another layer of protection for your network security.
Hardware firewalls offer:
The second option is a firewall that is built into the router rather than being a standalone device. They are sufficient enough to curtail potential attacks on internet access points. Typically, these wired or wireless routers with inbuilt firewalls are provided by the service provider as a part of the internet package.
These routers mainly function using packet filtering. In other words, they scan packet headers to assess the origin, source, as well as destination addresses. They also determine relationships between incoming and outgoing traffic. The requests for access are then compared against the preconfigured set of rules, and access or data flow is allowed or blocked accordingly.
As the name suggests, a network-based firewall works at the network level and is usually managed by the internet service provider or the ISP. It carries out data filtering on all traffic that travels from the internet to the computer systems of the organization.
The data management rules configured in the network-based firewall apply to the entire network. It sets a perimeter by acting as the first line of defense in case of an attack. Further, most network firewalls are also capable of automatically updating their list of malicious and approved applications.
Network firewalls are capable of:
A Web Application Firewall, or WAF, is capable of protecting web applications by means of monitoring and filtering traffic that travels between the internet and the web application. It basically performs the function of a firewall by keeping the applications safe from attacks.
WAF forms the first layer of protection as it sits in front of a web application. It works on a reverse-proxy model wherein the clients are required to pass through the web application firewall before contacting the server.
Selecting the best firewall option depends on various factors like:
For example, a small business with basic network security requirements can use a router-based firewall. On the other hand, a mid-sized company will need to implement additional hardware firewalls along with the router. A large organization continuously accessing and transporting sensitive data over the network will require a more sophisticated setup. They will need a unified threat management solution requiring multiple components like network firewall, antivirus software, and more.
CarrierBid Communications can help you choose the best security options for your business. Contact us for a free consultation to explore your options.