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What is a firewall?

What is a firewall?

Firewalls intercept malicious traffic before it reaches computer systems, networks and devices. The majority of computer operating systems contain a basic, built-in firewall, however more sophisticated varieties are preferable.

In addition to protecting physical systems, firewalls can filter traffic that’s entering or exiting a network. For example, an elementary school district may want to implement a firewall in order to block children from accessing certain online content. In a similar vein, some nations may choose to install firewalls to prevent users from accessing banned websites.

What is the history of the firewall?

In the 1980s, firewalls began as packet filters, which are designed to examine packets, or bytes, that are exchanged among computers. While this technique is still in use, firewalls have been developed extensively.

In 1993, Gil Shwed pioneered the stateful inspection firewall, FireWall-1. This was limited in its capacities. In contrast, modern firewalls support a variety of different types of security measures and environments. For example, there are specialized firewalls designed to protect the perimeter, the data center, virtual cloud environments and more.

What are common C-level misconceptions around firewalls?

  • Many believe that firewalls are only necessary for financial organizations or larger businesses. These days, 43% of cyber attacks are directed towards SMBs, indicating that all enterprises need to focus on improving their cyber security.
  • Although cloud-based computing data is protected by host providers, that doesn’t remove the need for a firewall. Your employees’ laptops and devices that access the secured cloud data still require protection.

Why does my organization need a next-gen firewall?

In addition to typical features, next generation firewalls (NGFW) contain advanced capabilities. Features include:

  • Application awareness
  • Intrusion prevention
  • Detection
  • Content filtering
  • Gateway antivirus

And more.

Quality firewalls can present you with detailed reports regarding your network’s traffic. These can prove useful in identifying threats, and in matters of regulatory compliance.

Are firewalls ‘set it and forget it’ systems?

No. Firewalls require regular attention to updates. Neglecting firewall maintenance can lead to security gaps, which in turn may invite cyber threats, precipitating damage and revenue loss. Businesses that fail to keep up with firewall maintenance are typically short on labor and time.

Will firewalls make your organization impervious to attacks?

Not a single cyber security system on the market can completely secure your enterprise from attack. Nonetheless, firewalls create substantial barriers and can prevent an unauthorized person from remotely accessing your data. A firewall is arguably a close second to complete intrusion protection.

How much should your organization invest in firewall protection?

Many factors drive firewall security spend. These include:

  • Type/sensitivity of intellectual property stored on-premises or in the cloud
  • Regulatory compliance requirements
  • Current IT infrastructure
  • Industry
  • Mandates from the board of directors
  • Security incidents within competitive or adjacent organizations

How much your organization can stand to lose in the event of a breach