What Is A Firewall

There are many different words related to IT security which have snuck their way into mainstream vocabulary.

The average person may not have heard of phrases like PCI DSS compliance, SSAE 18, or even TLS, but you can bet most of them have heard of a firewall.

The word firewall ends up in a lot of the technobabble in science fiction and police TV shows featuring a hacker, because it sounds fancy and sophisticated. You’ll hear a phrase like “resetting the TCF of the external firewall will allow us to resync the NAT devices.”

This is just to make a TV show sound exciting, of course, but is a firewall a real thing? Yes, it is.

Read this article to find out more about how firewalls work and how they can improve your company’s IT security.

What Is A Firewall?

To put it as simply as possible, a firewall is a digital wall between your electronic devices and the malware rampant across the web.

When data moves from the internet into your devices, your firewall screens it and makes sure what comes through is clean.

Think of it like security at the border. If you want to take a vacation to Canada, security agents let cars through one at a time while they confirm your identity, your passengers, and your travel intent.

A firewall works the same way, only it’s scanning data, not cars. The data will come into your computer in small chunks called packets. These are designed to be manageable for your firewall to scan as it passes through. If malware scans come back negative, the data is allowed to pass through, but if it finds something harmful the packet is rejected and you get a notification.

Types Of Firewalls

There are many different types of firewalls, but broadly speaking, there they can fit into two categories: network firewalls and host-based firewalls. Here’s what each of them do.

What Is A Network Firewall?

The idea behind a network firewall is to filter any traffic coming from the internet to make sure that only the data that should be coming into your system does so.

Your IT department will configure your firewall to monitor traffic, which can, among other things, block access to certain websites to prevent your staff from accidentally infecting your system from known malicious sites or wasting time on their social network of choice when they should be working.

But rather than manually configuring it (an exhausting endeavour), you can use an external service that keeps your firewall updated with the latest definitions to recognize cyber attacks and screen them. If we continue with our border analogy from before, this is like keeping your drug-sniffing dogs trained on how to recognize new types of drugs being invented on a regular basis, except it happens automatically.

Like the name suggests, these are useful for larger networks made up of multiple devices.

What Is A Host-Based Firewall?

A host-based firewall works in much the same way as a network firewall, but instead of protecting a network they protect only the device on which they’ve been installed.

These firewalls are often paired with a hardware firewall built into what they use to connect to the internet, like a wireless router. The downside of these firewalls is that they need to be manually updated, but because they’re used on a smaller scale it isn’t as much of a hassle.

Why A Firewall?

A firewall is a simple, relatively painless way to improve the cyber security of your company. If configured right, your firewall will serve as your first line of defense against the malicious stuff floating around the internet.

But it’s only your first line of defense.

The internet is a constantly changing place, and cyber criminals are constantly discovering new ways to break into your systems and steal your data.

If you’re having trouble keeping up or you feel a little vulnerable to all the various security risks out there, you’re not alone.

1st Secure IT is there for you.

Give us a call and book a consultation with one of our IT security experts. We can help you recognize the gaps and weaknesses in your cyber security and shore up your defenses against the threats to your business that exist online.

Don’t get caught by the latest malicious attack. Contact 1st Secure IT today and enjoy the peace of mind that can only come from working with one of the top IT security firms on the market today.

Contact 1st Secure IT to stay safe and secure in an uncertain world.

1st Secure IT

4613 N. University Drive #323
Coral Springs Florida
(866) 735-3369

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Wednesday, 16 October 2019

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