In our last newsletter, we started the data security series, detailing the importance of backup systems. In this edition, we continue the series, with the focus on explaining the significance of firewalls.
A firewall is a network security device that monitors incoming and outgoing network traffic and decides whether to allow or block traffic based on an organization’s established security policies. It typically establishes a barrier between an internal network and an external network.
Firewalls can either be hardware or software.
TYPES OF FIREWALLS
Proxy Server Firewall- is a type of gateway that hides the true network address of the computers connected to it. It is a mediator server that separates end-user clients from the destination that they browse. It connects to the internet, makes requests for pages, etc., and receives this information or data on behalf of the computer or user behind it. For example, if a user wants to visit an external website, then packets are processed through an HTTP server before they are forwarded to the requested website, packets from the website are then processed through the server before being forwarded to the user.
Packet Filters- This is the oldest and most basic type of firewall. It is a system that examines each packet (pieces of data that are formatted for internet transfer) entering or leaving the network. It checks information such as the destination and origination of an Internet Protocol (IP) address, packet type, port number, etc., and either accepts or rejects them based on the established policies. If the packet passes the test, it is allowed to pass, if it does not pass, it is rejected.
Stateful Inspection- is also known as dynamic packet filtering. It is a kind of firewall that keeps track of the state of active network connections while analysing incoming traffic looking for potential risks. Stateful firewalls can detect attempts by unauthorized individuals to access a network, as well as analyse the data within packets to see if they contain malicious code. It works by examining the contents of a data packet and then comparing them against existing data packets that have previously passed through the firewall.
Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW)- this is the combination of traditional firewall technology with added functions. It allows or blocks traffic based on state, port and protocol and filters traffic based on administrator-defined rules. A next-generation firewall (NGFW) does this, and so much more. In addition to access control, NGFWs can block modern threats such as advanced malware and application-layer attack. It performs roles beyond a stateful network firewall by conducting a deep packet inspection to identify and control applications regardless of the IP port used by the application.
BENEFITS OF A FIREWALL
Understanding the benefits of firewalls will help your company or organization effectively protect data in this digital age. Firewalls are beneficial to all businesses irrespective of size because they serve as the first line of defence against malware, external attacks, and hackers.
A firewall offers services that can block the name of your website and Uniform Resource Locator (URL), hence protecting the user and the organization or company. Protecting your data and that of your client builds trust and credibility because nobody likes their private information stolen, since hackers are always looking for ways to get private information about an individual or organization. This would give an organization a competitive advantage over other companies or organizations.
Hackers are constantly looking for ways to spread malicious content such as viruses, steal data and hold systems hostage. Hacking activities have made it important to use a firewall because they prevent hackers from gaining unauthorized access to emails, data and systems.
Firewalls monitor the traffic that passes through them because incoming or outgoing traffic creates opportunities for threats to affect your operations. If the firewall identifies these threats, it blocks them immediately.
Stops Virus and Trojan Attacks
Viruses and Trojans can shut down digital operations fast and with new threats developed daily, you must have a healthy defence system. Firewalls control all system’s entry points and can stop viruses and Trojan attacks and block them before they cause any damage to your system.
A Firewall is essentially a must-have for any business or individual because they protect your private information, guard against threats, malware, and viruses prevents hacking and most importantly monitor traffic.
In our next data security series, we will explain how data encryption is used for data security.
For advice on how to install and use a firewall, which firewall works for your organization, how to upgrade your firewall software and other inquiries, please contact ePareto at [email protected].