A firewall, in simple terms, can be defined as a tool to filter unwanted traffic in the network and prevent your system from external attacks. Firewalls help in determining the threat in the external parameters before an organization is attacked.
Firewalls have become so popular in the present times that it's hard to imagine a conversation on network security without them. Yet when it comes to selecting the appropriate firewall to secure their data, many companies struggle.
The importance of firewalls
While today most businesses have access to comprehensive tools to protect our data, such as antivirus, this doesn't mean we can ignore the concept of firewalls. Various types of firewall architecture can forewarn your networks from phishing attacks and different other kinds of cyber threats.
Firewalls protect by filtering both internal and external network traffic based on the rules set by the user. In some cases, firewalls even eliminate the occurrence of unwanted traffic in the network and allow genuine communication and traffic to move freely.
8 different firewall types and architecture
Firewalls can be divided into various different categories depending upon the complexities of protection they offer. Here are eight types of firewalls that play vital roles in maintaining the network security in enterprises:
1. Packet-filtering firewalls
The most common and the oldest type of firewalls, packet-filtering firewalls keep a simple check on the router or switches and inspect incoming data packets. If they observe any kind of suspicious information, they won't let that enter the network.
These firewalls don’t have a massive impact on your network performance, and have strong inspecting capabilities despite their affordability.
However, packet-filtering firewalls aren’t ideal for every network, and the access list can be challenging to manage. They also lack broader context as the inspection here is made through IP or port information addresses.
2. Circuit level gateway
This firewall helps quickly approve or deny the traffic, doesn't consume significant computing resources and mainly uses transmission control protocol.
These gateways are easy to set up and control, don’t require application-layer monitoring and offer greater protection than packet-filtering. The type of firewall can be set up at a meager cost and has minimal impact on the end-user, but will require frequent updating to keep the rules up to date. They also require use simultaneously with other security tools, or they won’t offer any protection for data leaks.
3. Stateful inspection firewall
The stateful firewall can be viewed as combination of both the firewalls mentioned above. These firewalls help determine data packets and track the data packets for being a part of other established network sessions.
Stateful firewalls consider the flow of transactions in a multilevel inspection, hence offering a high degree of control in the network. Therefore, they deliver substantial logging capabilities and don’t open to various ports to allow traffic movement. The resource interference they provide is perhaps why they’re often more expensive than other firewalls.
4. Proxy firewalls
Proxy firewalls are ideal for filtering the traffic between your network and its source. These function as entry and exit points from the web, and provide complete security controls and restrict pages on a site that a user can access. These don’t work with all types of protocols, which is why they are one of the most expensive other firewall options available
A huge disadvantage of proxy firewalls is that they can actually inhibit the network performance of your device due to extra network security they offer for your enterprise.
5. Next-generation firewall
Next-gen firewalls typically a combination of data packets and stateful inspection. This type of firewall uses intrusion prevention systems to stop network attacks. These firewalls track the network traffic for two-layer applications to provide better filtration than any other opinion available. The type of firewall can automatically get updated as per the current context. Next-gen firewalls provide complex securities to heavy organizations such as the health or finance industry, hence they are very costly.
6. Software firewall
These firewalls are installed on the device and don’t require any hardware or other server. They provide deep protection to the network endpoints.
The fact that they only provide individual devices can make installing them widely a time-consuming process. A single software firewall is also not sufficient for every network. Therefore, you may have to install different software firewalls for other assets.
Software firewalls enable communication from one program to another and provide an acceptable, grained level of protection to your device.
7. Hardware firewall
These essential appliances help protect your data that filter packets and traffic interruptions connected to a network. The most significant disadvantage to this kind of firewall is that it takes up physical space and involves wiring.
Hardware firewalls are ideal for large and medium-sized organizations to secure their data. They don’t consume power processors and have no requirement for any other source to host their device. They do, however, need proper knowledge for installation and managing their parallel hosts.
8. Cloud firewall
These firewalls are similar to proxy firewalls as they use a similar setup. They’re easy to install with your organization and help you out with the additional benefit of an end-to-end solution to filter more extensive network traffic. Cloud firewalls are ideal for smaller business organizations that have limited staff.
Firewalls can help you create a formidable network and protecting your sensitive data from hackers. To provide a better layer of protection to your organization, you can use different firewalls at different parameters.
The type of firewall you choose will ultimately depend upon the capability of your network and resources. Identifying all your assets will help you select the appropriate firewall type and architecture for your organization.