This is a question that we are often asked by businesses of all sizes. They get confused when hearing about software firewalls and about routers that have embedded firewalls and they are often left wandering whether it is worth implementing a dedicated hardware firewall. So we will try to give clarity to some of these questions.
What does a firewall do?
Firewalls inspect traffic between your network or your computer and the outside world. A firewall can make sure that information that enters or leaves your network is safe and not malicious, but it can also be used for network access control, application control and web filtering to name a few.
Hardware Firewall vs software firewall vs routers with integrated firewall
A software firewall is installed to an individual computer and it only protects that single device. It mainly controls the behaviour of specific applications as for example blocking access to specific websites. Most popular operating systems come with a free software firewall (e.g., Windows comes with Windows Defender).
A hardware firewall is installed between your router and your switch (at the perimeter of the network) and protects all devices on the network. A dedicated hardware firewall has usually many more features and controls than a router with an embedded firewall or a software firewall. It provides control over the whole network and allows you to easily apply policies and decide what kind of traffic is allowed or not.
Hardware firewalls are much more resistant to malware since their operating system was designed specifically for this purpose in contrast to popular software or operating system firewalls that are often the target of malware developers who often find way to circumvent them.
Should I have a dedicated hardware firewall?
Having one would increase the overall security of your network and a single point to monitor your traffic and understand the threats in your network. Management of policies will be far easier as well. It is best to use a combination of a hardware and software firewall in businesses that have 5 users or more. However, it is always best stopping malware before they enter your network by using a hardware firewall
Which firewall does Computer Being recommend?
We have partnered with Sophos and offer a variety of options for businesses of varying sizes. One of the most impressive features is the collaboration of the Sophos firewall with the Sophos antivirus and antimalware solutions for Windows and MacOS. Each time a threat is detected the antivirus communicates with the firewall as to interrupt network connectivity to the infected device so that malware does not spread through the network.
What other features does a firewall have?
A feature rich firewall such as Sophos can offer web and application control, wireless access point management, encrypted traffic inspection, web application protection, email anti-spam, phishing protection, VPN connectivity as well as remote site connectivity.
Please talk to us about your network and how you would like it to be managed and we will advise you on the best protection for your network.