In the beginning, there were firewalls…

Yes, we at CyberMaxx are fully aware that most information security professionals are familiar with what firewalls are.

Most companies have them installed (it should be ALL companies) and a lot of households have them on home networks (again it should be ALL households).

But, most cybersecurity strategies start with protecting the perimeter of a network and this can be done in a number of ways, such as by using firewalls.

That’s where our conversation leads us to today.

Let’s cover the basics: A firewall is a security measure that helps protect your assets from unauthorized access. Firewalls can be hardware or software-based, and they work by filtering incoming traffic and blocking malicious or unwanted connections.

There are many benefits to installing a firewall and they come in different sizes to accommodate both small and large networks.

Like Ice Cream, there are Many Different Kinds of Firewalls

As we mentioned previously, firewalls come with different features and capabilities since no one network is built identically to the next.

But what are these different kinds of firewalls? Let’s go over a few examples:

  • Packet filtering: The system that analyzes and handles data based on the basic components of packets. In order to determine whether a packet should be allowed through, packet filters examine IP addresses and port numbers. Small offices and home offices (SOHO) commonly use this type of firewall because it requires little overhead and still provides some protection against incoming threats.
  • Proxy service: The proxy firewall is considered to be the most secure. A proxy firewall filters messages at the application layer, which provides protection for network resources. Although a proxy firewall can increase security levels, it can also affect functionality and speed.
  • Stateful inspection: Stateful inspection firewalls monitor real-time network traffic and block unauthorized access to networks. What sets stateful firewalls apart is their capability to monitor traffic states to see if incoming or outbound traffic is part of an established TCP connection/session or not. Not only does it perform packet filtering, but it also monitors packet network sessions.
  • Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW): These offer additional capabilities beyond traditional firewalls. NGFW firewalls are a combination of application-level firewalls and stateful firewalls. They provide other features like Deep Packet Inspection, IPS, and malware filtering.

Firewalls: Do they cover all security needs?

Firewalls are a critical component to protecting networks and devices as a whole. Think of firewalls as the gatekeepers that prevent unauthorized access to your network and protect your data from hackers. Where the access control list lets you into the club, firewalls are the big, hulking doorkeepers that are holding the list and letting people in and out.

Network and device protection can be a multi-layered endeavor, of which firewalls are only one part. Firewalls play an essential role in security, but they cannot protect against all cyber threats. New threats are constantly emerging, and firewalls can only block known threats. This means that it is possible for a particular threat to slip past your firewall undetected if the system doesn’t recognize the danger.

This is where a managed solution like CyberMaxx can be an upgraded security measure going beyond what a firewall can provide for protection. Using an IDS or IPS solution for network cybersecurity protection can add another layer of barriers from threat actors looking to gain access.