How Firewalls Work: What You Should Know

One common misconception about firewalls is that only large corporations need them. In 2018, small businesses were targeted at an extreme rate of 425% over the previous year. Long story short, you may want to keep an eye on your incoming traffic.  

If you’re a small business looking to understand how you can keep your business safe, please keep reading to find out how firewalls work. 

Cybersecurity Is Not Just for Big Business

It’s easy to think as a small business that a hacker wouldn’t have an interest in your business, but you would be wrong. Consider these statistics. 

Sadly, small and mid-sized businesses are on the front-line when it comes to cyberattacks. Considering these statistics you may want to learn more about what a firewall is and how it can protect your business.

How Firewalls Work

A firewall is a network security device that manages incoming and outgoing network traffic. The system decides what network traffic may be suspicious or malicious and blocks potential threats based on a set of security rules. 

Simply put, a firewall is the first line of defense against a cyberattack on your network. The firewall establishes a barrier between secured and controlled networks. It also makes decisions about the security outside networks, such as the internet. 

Firewalls can be hardware or software, or both.

If you’re considering adding a firewall, you’ll want to select a managed IT service to help you with the process.

Here are some common firewall types. 

Types Of Firewalls

There are several types of firewalls: packet-filtering firewalls, next-generation firewalls, and proxy firewalls. Depending on the type that you use, they will have different functions to filter content based on a set of firewall rules. 

Proxy Firewalls

Proxy firewalls were an earlier version of firewalls. They served as a gateway from one network to another for a certain application. They provided security through preventing direct connections from outside the network.

Packet-Filtering Firewalls

Packet-filtering firewalls come in two categories: stateful and stateless.

A stateful firewall remembers previously passed information or packets in the context of one another. It monitors all information from opening to closing. This way the information that is flowing in through the server can be analyzed through a set of administer-defined rules, or in context. It’s recognized as the “traditional” firewall.

The stateless does not monitor information the context of each packet, but independently, and is recognized as not as secure as stateful firewalls. 

Next-Generation Firewalls

Next-generation firewalls include all the benefits of the stateful firewall. They also have added security against advanced malware and application-layer attacks. They are defined by Gartner Inc. to have: 

  • Stateful inspection
  • Integrated intrusion prevention
  • Application awareness to see and block risky apps
  • Techniques to address on-going security threats

As you can see, next-generation firewalls provide more safety than standard stateful firewalls. As a result, next-generation firewalls are becoming increasingly popular in today’s consistent threats against security. 

What Firewall Is Right for Your Business

Now that you know the statistics about potential threats to your small or mid-sized business and know how firewalls work, what firewall makes the most sense for your business?

Contact us today to get started to see how you can make your business more secure from a potential cyberattack.