Firewall, as the name suggests, is a wall that is supposed to prevent the spread of fire. With the growth of internet and increase in security threats, a firewall is needed to prevent the malicious traffic entering the end user’s systems. The firewall can be a software application or it can be in the form of a hardware device. A Local area network connected to the internet is often exposed to intrusion by unauthorized users on the internet. To protect the information from being leaked, all the messages or communication entering or leaving the private network must pass through a firewall which authenticates the traffic based on set policies or security criteria.
Types of firewall
Hardware firewall is a hardware device that is installed between internet and intranet( LAN). It is a standalone device that is configured to protect multiple systems in home or organizations. An example of a simple hardware firewall is a broadband router and there are professional high-cost hardware firewalls also called UTM ( unified threat management ) that provides a single management console to monitor various security related applications. UTM firewall provides intrusion protection, anti-virus, anti-malware, spam, VPN and content filtering in a single console. Only IT professionals can configure and manage these UTM firewalls. Some top rated companies/brands selling hardware firewalls include. Barracuda X Series, Dell SonicWall , NetGear ProSafe FVS318G Firewall/VPN Appliance, Cisco Meraki, Juniper Networks SRX Series, WatchGuard XTM and Firebox.
For a home or small offices, instead of costly hardware firewalls, you can use software firewalls which can be installed on individual systems or a server. Software firewalls are easy to install and update as compared to their hardware counterparts. Even if there is a hardware firewall installed in your office, you must install a software firewall since a hardware firewall works only in your office ( LAN) and if you are traveling or working outside your office, it is the software firewall that will provide protection to your system from external threats.
A basic software firewall is available free with windows operating system but you can also buy advanced software firewalls like McAfee, Norton Internet security, Bitdefender internet security or Kaspersky internet security.
The Internet is the main source of spam and malware. Always turn On the firewall in windows OS to secure your system from hackers. If you are using any mailing system to send emails or files over then the internet it is recommended to encrypt emails with some best email encryption software before sending them.