What is a Firewall?

What is a Firewall?

A firewall is a software program that creates the first line of defense to prevent unauthorized access to or from a private network. A firewall is an integral piece of the security framework for your network.  

Today, our IT professionals are going to walk you through what a firewall does and what kinds of firewalls there are to protect your companies data. Be a firewall pro! Read on… 

How Does a Firewall Work? 

A firewall isolates your computer from the Internet by use of code that inspects each piece of data as it arrives on either side of the firewall (inbound or outbound from your computer.) Your firewall determines whether the data should be allied to pass or whether it should be blocked.  

You can further enhance the security of your network by using firewalls that use various types of signatures and host conditions to allow or deny traffic. Although a firewall might sound complex, they are actually quite easy to install and operate (especially with you work with an expert). 

Computer firewalls need to be able to: 

  • Defend resources 
  • Validate access 
  • Manage and control network traffic 
  • Record and report 
  • Act as an intermediary  

Do you need a firewall installed on your business devices? Pick up that phone and dial (813) 908-8080 ext. 101  Call IT Resources based in Tampa, FL to have your technology working for you today! 

We are in the age of high-speed Internet access where if you connect your computer or device to a broad network over which you have limited protection you are opening yourself up to cyber-attacks. 

Types of Firewalls  

Firewalls can either be software or hardware, though it is wise to have both to protect your data. If you have a software firewall installed on your computer, this regulates traffic through port numbers and applications. A physical firewall is a piece of equipment that you can install between your network and gateway.  

Let’s take a look at some of the different types of firewalls: 

Packet-filtering firewalls

The oldest and most basic firewall. They basically create a checkpoint at a traffic router or switch. This kind of firewall performs a simple check of any data packets that travel through the router, and inspect information such as the destination and origination of the IP address, packet type, port number, etc. without opening up the data packet to inspect the contents. 

Circuit-level gateways:  

These firewalls don’t inspect the data packets and are simplistic. These firewalls work by verifying what is called the “transmission control protocol,”  or TCP handshake. If the data packet contains malware but has the correct TCP handshake, it would pass through to your computer.  

Stateful inspection firewalls 

These kids of firewalls content BOTH packet inspections and TCP handshake verifications for enhanced security. While these allow for a greater amount of protection, they are slow and put more of a strain on computers. 

Application-level gateways (proxy firewalls):  

Proxy firewalls work at the application level to filter traffic coming in from the network. These are delivered via a cloud-based technology or another proxy device. 

Software firewalls:  

These include any kind of firewall that is directly installed on a device.  

Hardware firewalls:  

These use a physical appliance that acts as a traffic router. Hardware firewalls intercept data packets and traffic before they’re allowed to connect to the server. Unfortunately, skilled hackers can bypass hardware firewalls, so that’s why it’s best to have multiple systems and the support of an experienced IT team!  

Team members working on computer IT Resources Tampa

Protecting Personal Devices with Firewalls 

We are in the age of high-speed Internet access where if you connect your computer or device to a broad network over which you have limited protection you are opening yourself up to cyber-attacks. Unless you have installed a personal firewall!  

While the high-speed connection is convenient, it also is vulnerable. Look at it this way, connecting to the Internet via a high-speed connection is like leaving your door unlocked and wide open when you leave for the day. Why? Well, high-speed internet connections tend to have these features: 

  • A constant IP: makes it easy for a cyber attacker who found your computer on the Internet to find you again and again.  
  • High-speed access: The attacker can work faster when trying to hack into your computer 
  • Always active connection: Your computer is vulnerable every time you connect to the Internet. 

Now you have an idea of how important it is to have a firewall installed on your computer, especially when you are using a high-speed connection versus an ordinary 56Kbps connection. Not only does a firewall have the capabilities to help protect your network against unwanted traffic, but installing one can also block malicious software from infecting your devices!  

Why Install a Personal Firewall 

If this sounds like your typical internet surfing, then it’s time to get a personal firewall or risk opening sensitive data up to cybercriminals:  

  • You surf the Internet using an “always-on” connection 
  • You use public WiFi networks in cafes, airports, libraries, or other places 
  • You run a home network that needs to be isolated from the Internet 
  • You want to know when any program on your computer tries to connect to the Internet 
  • You want to create security policies on your computer to meet your personal needs  

Having a firewall is key to protect your network and devices from unwanted traffic and attacks. Without one, you’d be accepting every connection to your network and wouldn’t have a way of detecting incoming threats.  

Remember: not having a firewall could result in loss of data, or worse, identity theft or fraud! Firewalls should be a key component of your security technology to keep your network, computer, and data safe and secure.  

Powerful Protection for Your Network  

Many IT companies focus on keeping networks and computer systems running using a reactive approach; meaning, when you have a problem, you notify them. We work proactively. At IT Resources, our Tampa based managed IT team protects your business and solves issues before they occur on your screen. This drastically reduces reactive computer issues and support tickets. 

Call IT Resources for the day-to-day management of your infrastructure and operations, network maintenance, storage, and backup/disaster recovery! (813) 908-8080 ext. 101

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