If you’re here, then you might be wondering what a firewall is. A firewall is a security device, computer software or hardware, that can help protect your whole network by filtering traffic and blocking any outsiders from gaining access to the private data on your computer or network. Not only do firewalls block unwanted traffic, but it can also help you block malicious software from infecting your devices. Firewalls can provide different types of protection. The key is figuring out how much protection it is that you need. For a helpful guide on firewalls and what they do, read on!
What Do Firewalls Do?
Firewalls act like gatekeepers. They monitor attempts to gain access to your operating system and block off unwanted traffic or unknown sources. How exactly does it do this? Firewalls act as a barrier or filter between your computer and another network, like the internet. You can think of a firewall kind of like a traffic controller. It helps protect your network and information by managing the network traffic. This includes blocking off any unsolicited incoming network traffic and validating access by assessing the network traffic for anything suspicious, like malware and hackers. Your operating systems and security software typically come with a pre-installed firewall too. It is a good idea to make sure that those features are all turned on. Also, check and see if your security settings are configured to run updates automatically.
How Do Firewalls Work?
To begin, a firewalled system analyzes network traffic based mostly on rules. A firewall only welcomes those incoming connections that it has already been configured to accept. It does this by allowing or blocking certain data packets – units of communication that you send over digital networks, all based on pre-established security rules. A firewall works like a guard at your computer’s entry point. Only trusted sources, or IP addresses, are granted access. IP addresses are important since they identify a source or a computer, just like how your postal address identifies where it is you live.
Kinds of Firewalls
There are hardware and software firewalls available. Each format serves a different but essential purpose. A hardware firewall is physical, much like a broadband router – stored right between your network and gateway. A software firewall is internal – as a program on your computer that works through different port numbers of applications. There are also some cloud-based firewalls, which are known as Firewall as a Service (FaaS). One benefit of these cloud-based firewalls is that they can grow with your organization and, much like hardware firewalls, do very well with perimeter security.
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