What is a Firewall?

A firewall is a network security solution that monitors incoming and outgoing network traffic to permit or block data packets based on defined security rules.

Packets refer to data pieces formatted for internet transfer. They contain details such as the source and destination’s IP addresses and the message content. A firewall uses this packet information to allow or block network traffic based on a ruleset.

Just like the name suggests, a firewall solution acts as a barrier between a company network and external Internet and other sources. The security systems analyze and block malicious network traffic, such as malware and hacker requests.

Key Takeaways

You should update firewall rules regularly to keep up with the dynamic cybersecurity threats

A firewall uses pre-established rules and procedures to guard traffic at a network’s entry points or ports.

Types of Firewalls

A firewall can either be software, hardware, or both. A software firewall is installed on a network or computer devices to regulate traffic through applications and port numbers. A physical firewall is a device installed between a corporate network and gateway. A gateway is a computer network node (in most cases a router) that allows an internal network to the outside network.

Some examples of firewalls include:

Why You Should Use a Firewall

A firewall prevents unauthorized Internet users and hackers from accessing your network and computers. The security system allows you to connect to the Internet and visit sites or share information without worrying about cybercriminals and threats.

Apart from scanning and blocking unwanted traffic, a firewall can prevent malicious software from infecting your systems.

In addition to immediate threat defense, firewalls perform crucial logging and audit functions. The appliances keep a record of events, which administrators and security experts can analyze to identify patterns and improve rule sets.

Where Can You Get a Firewall?

Popular operating system providers, such as Windows and macOS, build firewalls into their operating systems.

Third-party firewall products also exist. You can get reliable security solutions from vendors selling firewalls like Cisco ASA Firewall, Fortinet Fortigate, pfSense, Check Point NGFW, Cisco Firepower NGFW, Kerio Control, Sophos XG, and Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls.

In some instances, home and small office broadband routers feature in-built fundamental firewall functionalities. For example, some routers offer port and protocol filters.

Keep the Firewall Updated

Keep updating the set rules regularly to keep up with the evolving and sophisticated cybersecurity threats. Firewall vendors discover new threats and develop patches to cover them. Ensure that you install updates as soon as they are released.

George Mutune

I am a cyber security professional with a passion for delivering proactive strategies for day to day operational challenges. I am excited to be working with leading cyber security teams and professionals on projects that involve machine learning & AI solutions to solve the cyberspace menace and cut through inefficiency that plague today's business environments.