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Firewall in Cybersecurity: What It Is and How It Benefits Organizations

Firewall in Cybersecurity: What It Is and How It Benefits Organizations

In this digital era, organization can never be too careful with its cybersecurity. With the rise of data theft and criminals taking holding systems hostage, organizations should take serious action to prevent hackers from gaining unauthorized access to data, emails, systems, and more. As employees often access the internet when doing their job, a firewall needs to be a key part of an organization's cybersecurity strategy.

A firewall is a network security device that monitors and filters incoming and outgoing network traffic according to security regulations set by an organization. A firewall, at its most basic level, is the barrier that separates a private internal network from the public Internet. A firewall’s main purpose is to allow non-threatening traffic in and to keep dangerous traffic out.

What Organizations Could Benefit from Firewalls

External threats, malware, and hackers attempting to get access to your organization's data and systems are thwarted by firewalls. Adding firewalls to an organization's security infrastructure can be quite beneficial. Firewalls, for starters, use pre-set rules and filters to secure your systems by monitoring and analyzing network traffic. Firewalls can also control the entrance points to your system and prevent virus attacks.

Firewalls can also be employed as part of a multi-layer cybersecurity approach to defend your network from hackers who flood it with unwanted traffic. Furthermore, because cybercriminals frequently use spyware and malware these days, firewalls act as a crucial barrier against these unwanted programs. Finally, firewalls promote privacy, which can be a competitive advantage as well as a selling point for customers and clients.

Understanding 5 Different Types of Firewalls

Firewall is a necessary part of any security design and takes the guesswork out of host level protections and entrusts them to your network security device. Furthermore, there are 5 different basic types of firewalls.

a. Packet Filtering

These firewalls are installed inline at the places where equipment such as routers and switches perform their functions. They do not, however, route packets; instead, they compare each packet received against a list of pre-defined criteria, such as authorized IP addresses, packet type, port number, and other features of the packet protocol headers.

b. Circuit-Level Gateway

These firewalls monitor Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) handshakes and other network protocol session initiation messages as they are established between local and remote hosts across the network to determine whether the session being initiated is legitimate — whether the remote system is considered trustworthy.

c. Application-Level Gateway (Proxy Firewall)

These firewalls filter packets not only based on the service for which they are intended, but also by other characteristics, such as the HTTP request string. While application-layer gateways provide significant data protection, they can have a significant impact on network performance and are difficult to monitor.

d. Stateful Inspection Firewall

This form of firewall not only checks each packet, but also maintains track of whether it is part of an existing TCP or other network session. This provides higher security than packet filtering or circuit monitoring alone, albeit at the expense of network performance.

e. Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW)

A typical NGFW combines packet inspection and stateful inspection, as well as deep packet inspection (DPI) and other network security systems including IDS/IPS, malware filtering, and antivirus.

In this digital era, cybersecurity is highly critical. To stay ahead of the curve as the cybersecurity landscape changes and cyberattacks get more sophisticated, defenses must improve on a regular basis. Therefore, firewalls will continue to be an essential part of any organization's cybersecurity strategy.

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DeCarlo, A. L., & Ferrell, R. (2021, January 19). The 5 different types of firewalls explained. SearchSecurity. https://www.techtarget.com/searchsecurity/feature/The-five-different-types-of-firewalls
Fortinet. (n.d.). Firewall Benefits: The Importance of Firewall Security. https://www.fortinet.com/resources/cyberglossary/benefits-of-firewall

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