A firewall protects your business computer network from both internal and external threats. It controls incoming and outgoing traffic based on a set of determined rules rule set. This prevents malicious code and programs from potentially damaging computer systems. Firewalls come in two forms hardware and software.
When accessing the Internet, information reaches your computer through designated ports set up to receive various types of data such as emails, websites, and internal company data. The firewall then determines if an address trying to connect to through an open port is trusted or should be blocked based on previously determined rules.
Firewalls protect your businesses from 3 main threats:
Hackers: A firewall system is essential in protecting your organisation from the threat of hackers.
Viruses entering your network: Viruses can enter your network in a number of ways such as email and network traffic. A well configured firewall is an important aspect of reducing this risk.
Access to websites: A firewall restricts access to websites deemed socially unacceptable within the workplace.
Network blockages: Caused by viruses creating outbound network traffic.
Recently a new generation of firewalls called the Next Generation firewall has emerged, Next Generation firewalls generally undertake the following tasks:
Scans each packet entering or leaving the network and accepts or rejects it based on defined rules. Packet filtering is effective, however it is difficult to configure and can be compromised by hackers.
Applies security rules to specific applications. This can however effect network performance.
Applies security when a TCP or UDP connection is established. Once the connection has been made, packets can flow between the hosts without further checking, this improved network speeds.
Intercepts all messages entering and leaving the network. The proxy server hides the real network addresses.