What Is A Firewall And What Are The Types Of Firewalls?

A firewall is a network security device. It monitors incoming and outgoing network traffic. Here we explore what a firewall is and how a it works.

Most businesses have always trusted firewalls for protecting their personal information and computer systems from cyber attackers. With the security of personal data at higher risk on internet networks than ever before; it is essential to take action for its protection.

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What exactly is a Firewall?

A Firewall acts like a network security wall that protects your information from all the malicious threats; and users attacking internet traffic. It is a system that assesses all the information flow on your internet network; filters the unreliable sources and information, and blocks them from misusing your data.

You must be wondering, what does this firewall look like?

What are the Forms of Firewall?

The firewall comes in mainly two forms: hardware and software. But cloud-based firewalls are now emerging as a separate firewall form.

Hardware Firewall:

They are similar to routers and have a built-in firewall. These types of firewalls are tricky to configure. But are the fastest and safest ones once they are entirely set up. They allow or deny access to programs based on port numbers that are unique for every protocol and address. It scans through every activity occurring on your network. Another advantage it offers is that with one hardware firewall, and the whole network of computers can be protected.

Software Firewall:

They are software applications installed on computers. They filter out programs based only on program names. Once access is given to a particular program, the communication is entirely open; allowing the program to do any activity freely on your network. However, there can be malware trying to breach your system through that approved program. For every computer system, a separate software firewall is required, which can increase the costs of networked computer systems.

Cloud Firewall:

They are software firewalls, just available on the cloud as a service. Hence, also called Firewall-as-a-service (FWaaS). They are easy to handle and provide a secure network, just like hardware firewalls. And, the most significant advantage of a cloud firewall is that improvises can be made quickly; to meet the increasing capacity requirement of filtering more traffic for your growing business.

These three forms of firewall come in certain types with specific levels of security measures in the market. Below we mention the most widely used types of Firewalls by businesses.

What are the major types of firewalls?

Packet Filtering Firewalls:

This firewall works like a security checkpoint for packets. Every packet of information is scrutinized before exchange. The packet filtering firewalls have specific rules set up by the network security team. If the packet does not fit all the criteria, it is dropped from sending further to the receiver. The packet filtering firewall has easy programming, which is one of the significant benefits of this firewall; as it does not affect the overall functioning of the systems. However, it is only suitable for small networks, not the larger ones; because the attackers can cover the packet address to escape from the Firewall security.

Circuit-Leveling Gateway Firewalls:

This firewall does not directly check the packet information but instead verifies the session’s authenticity from which it is coming. We know this external session as Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) handshake. So, if the TCP handshake is authentic, the circuit-level gateway firewalls allow the packet to pass without checking; if the packet itself contains malicious information.

Stateful Inspection Firewalls:

Stateful inspection firewalls check all the packets at both: the TCP handshake level and its inside information inspection level separately. It makes the network connection even more secure, ensuring safe communication establishment. Also, it is beneficial for businesses since it has more sophisticated programming that monitors activities at multiple layers. A more comprehensive type of this firewall is the seven multilayer inspection firewall; that defends your network with various protective layers.

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Application-Level Gateway Firewalls:

Also known as a Proxy firewall, it functions on the application level. And, it filters packets based on their source address, TCP handshake, the data it contains. And, then the HTTP/FTP request of servers. It improves your network performance and takes the best measures at the security level. But can slow down the overall functioning due to its detailed and complicated process.

Next-Generation Firewalls:

The future of firewalls is already becoming a reality. The new and modern firewalls have designs with a higher level of protection than traditional firewalls. Some advanced features of next-generation firewall include-

  • deep packet inspection,
  • awareness of harmful applications on the internet,
  • and control of blocking them in advance,
  • preventing intrusion from third parties,
  • cloud-based processing.

With the evolving technology, more changes are bound to come and mostly directed for better performance.

Cross communication is a crucial part of internet usage in today’s world. This leads to more vulnerability of your system in the never-ending ocean of data available on the internet. And, To ensure your network protection from cyber attackers’ evil eyes; it is always to suggest to opt for one or more types of protection for your computers. Firewalls having their number of advantages and high-security standards can still lack in guarding your network and information. So keeping a backup for firewalls is essential as well.

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