A firewall is a network security device or software that examines incoming and outgoing network traffic. It uses a set of security guidelines to approve or deny data packets. A firewall establishes a barrier between external sources — like the internet — and your internal network to block malicious traffic like hackers and viruses.

What Firewalls Do

A network security firewall minimizes the attack surface of a network, as all communications must first filter through the firewall. This process allows the firewall to block unauthorized traffic. These solutions are also used to keep track of attempted network connections, providing valuable insight into network security. A firewall can:

  • Block infiltration from bad actors.
  • Allow parents to restrict children’s browsing activities to avoid them being exposed to explicit content.
  • Enable employers to block employees from accessing certain sites — like social media sites.
  • Allow national governments to restrict residents’ access to web content.

Types of Firewalls

There are hardware and software firewalls. For optimal protection, you want to utilize both. A software firewall program filters traffic through applications and port numbers. In contrast, a physical firewall is a piece of equipment installed between a gateway and a network.

The most common type of firewall is a packet-filtering firewall. These solutions only allow data packets into your network if they match the established security rule set. There are two types of packet-filtering firewalls:

  • Stateless Firewalls: These options examine packets individually and lack context, making them vulnerable to hacking attempts.
  • Stateful Firewalls: These firewalls store information about previously approved packets, making them more robust and effective.

Packet-filtering firewalls are effective but provide basic protection. Proxy firewalls and next-generation firewalls are often more effective.

Next-Generation Firewalls

This technology provides deep-packet inspection (DPI), which involves examining data within the packet itself. The process enables a security system to easily identify, categorize, and halt packets with malicious intent.

Proxy Firewalls

By utilizing DPI and stateful inspections, proxy firewalls sort through network traffic at the application level. A proxy network usually has one computer directly connected to the internet, and other network computers access the internet through the main computer.

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Wall Off Attackers

Your firewall is the first line of defense against attackers. Ensure you have a system that aptly filters through traffic. Agio offers excellent cybersecurity operations that utilize machine learning to monitor network traffic and mitigate threats proactively. Find out more about our robust cybersecurity operations, or contact us online to discuss your firewall needs.