There are various types with various features and varying levels of security. Plus, choosing a firewall is heavily dependent on the size, scope, and scale of your particular organization. Basically, if your primary firewall shuts down for any reason, it will cut over to a secondary firewall which will resume operational capabilities. Packet Filtering Packet filtering is commonly deployed in a small network by using a router that functions as a firewall to examine every packet of data passing through your network.
The process of choosing a good firewall is a difficult one because firewalls are a complex part of a network setup. There are many questions that need to be asked before choosing which firewall is right for you. Not all firewalls are created equally and they all excel at different applications.
It is imposible for any single firewall product to provide all of the protection that you need, so it is important to evaluate exactly what you need to protect before picking your firewall.
If you are looking for cyber security protection for your family that is going to point you in a very different direction than if you are looking for whole house privacy protection. Also think about which devices you need or want to protect with your firewall.
A firewall that is good for protecting a couple of computers is very different from a firewall that is needed to protect an entire network. Again, no single firewall will provide protection for all of these things. For more information read What Does a Firewall Do to get an idea of the full range of features that firewalls can offer.
Software Firewalls It is helpful to divide the scope of firewalls into two distinct parts. Hardware firewalls are a physical network device that you plug in to your network, usually between your home network and your router but not always.
They work by protecting all of your devices on your network at the same time and limiting the kind of data that can come in to and out of your network. This makes them useful for blocking devices that you cannot install software on, such as gaming consoles, security cams, and Smart TVs.
Software firewalls are programs that are installed on your PC, tablet, or phone. Software firewalls offer a greater flexibility in what is blocked on a device by device basis, and they are able to block website content better. Since a software firewall must be installed on your device they are not able to block other network devices from accessing the internet.
This makes them mostly useless for blocking Smart TVs, gaming consoles, and things that you have less control over. The choice of a hardware firewall vs. There is much more information on our Hardware vs. How to Choose a Hardware Firewall If you decide to go with a hardware firewall there are a few more choices to make.
Hardware firewalls come in a variety of options that are very different from each other. The easiest hardware firewall to setup is one that is located in your router. Many routers already have a hardware firewall built in. Most of these stock firewalls are not very useful because they are very feature limited.
As router manufactures realize that more and more customers need a firewall in their router the router based hardware firewalls are getting better. If your router is less than a few years old and it has a hardware firewall built in then this may be all that you need depending on what you are trying to accomplish.
More advanced users want a dedicated hardware firewall that is separate from their router. This device usually goes inside your network between your router and all other devices. Very recently a new kind of hardware firewall has started showing up that can protect your entire network without you having to disable Wi-Fi or even install the device between your router and your network.
The most popular device is called Circle and it seems like a very good solution for people who want a hardware firewall without all of the setup hassle that normally comes with it.
Hardware Firewall Limitations The biggest reason to choose a hardware firewall is that it offers a single point of installation and maintenance.
A single point of installation means that a hardware firewall can protect your entire network no matter what kind of devices you plug in to it. Firewalls require maintenance and having all of that maintenance concentrated on a single device is very convenient.
Hardware firewalls have a major limitation in that they cannot inspect the actual contents of the traffic that flows through them. Most websites use HTTPS security which means that the content you pull over your network is encrypted all the way up to your device.
Since the content is encrypted a hardware firewall has no way of knowing what that content contains. This makes is almost impossible for a hardware firewall to filter a page based on the words that are on it.
For parents whose primary goal is cyber security protection for their kids a hardware firewall is most likely not going to offer the features that you are looking for.
These features are usually found in a software firewall. How to Choose a Software Firewall When shopping for a software firewall it can be overwhelming because there are so many choices, each with an amazing advertising campaign of reviews.
It is almost impossible to know if a software firewall is going to offer all of the features that you are interested in until you actually install it and run with it for a while.
Windows and Mac OSX both come with very basic but functional firewalls. The stock firewalls are capable of blocking both incoming and outgoing connection requests by a variety of means, but they are not very effective website filters and not at all effective for cyber security.Without an effective firewall in place, a network could be susceptible to breaches and other malicious threats that could end up costing your business not only a lot of money, but customers as well.
So, it’s important to do your homework when choosing a firewall. The firewall does this by analyzing incoming and outgoing network traffic, utilizing an existing set of rules to determine the legitimacy of the data packets being sent.
Any data packets not matching these rules are automatically blocked.
SANS Institute InfoSec Reading Room This paper is from the SANS Institute Reading Room site. Reposting is not permitted without express written permission.
Choosing The Best Firewall Although I only briefly touched on most of the issues involved in choosing a firewall this should be a good starting point for selecting a firewall. All firewalls run firewall software, and they all run it on some sort of hardware, but the terms hardware firewall and software firewall are used to distinguish between products marketed as an integrated appliance that comes with the software preinstalled, usually on a proprietary operating system, and firewall programs that can be installed on general purpose network operating systems such as .
I have to choose firewall for a big enterprise network. I’m CCNP in R&S but new to firewalls. The goals of the firewall will be: Filter traffic branch to HQ Mb. How To Choose a Firewall. Every home network needs a firewall.
The process of choosing a good firewall is a difficult one because firewalls are a complex part of a network setup. There are many questions that need to be asked before choosing which firewall is right for you.