Network firewalls are one of the more tireless network security solutions a company can employ. They’re the first and foremost security measure in place that fights off known and unknown threats. Each and every connection to the internet can be an attack vector for threat actors. Having a robust network firewall in place mitigates these potential attack vectors.
How network firewalls work is they essentially just block any unauthorized access to private networks. Only traffic that has been approved can bypass the network firewall, determined by pre-set and pre-configured policies. These policies can also dictate how monitoring and remediation function. Network firewalls provide deep packet inspection on both inbound and outbound network traffic to ensure nothing harmful enters the network and nothing important or something that shouldn’t be leaving the network leaves the network.
Beyond this, network firewalls can offer different features, depending on whether they’re hardware or software (or cloud-based). In this article we’ll compare the top firewall vendors and solutions, summarizing their main features and benefits to help your organization find some of the best firewalls for them.
What Types Of Firewalls Are There?
There’s not a single network on the planet that wouldn’t stand to benefit from having a firewall solution in place. A tool that consistently and constantly tracks and examines all incoming and outgoing traffic within the network, network firewalls are regarded as one of the number one tools any business can have as part of their security stack. For all their benefits and capabilities, network firewalls are actually quite simple in design and function. However, there are a range of network firewall types that all achieve broadly the same thing, albeit in different ways. These are:
- Packet filtering firewalls
- Circuit-level firewalls
- Stateful inspection firewalls
- Application layer/proxy server firewalls
- Next-generation firewalls
What Features Do The Best Firewalls Have?
Modern firewalls have gone beyond merely filtering out unwanted traffic, so it’s worth looking for specific features that help your organization get the most out of your chosen firewall solution.
- Data Exfiltration: While all firewalls will examine traffic coming in for harmful code, a select few will examine traffic coming out to make sure that nothing that should be leaving the network is leaving the network, such as sensitive data.
- Threat Prevention: Firewalls can provide threat prevention capabilities, which can identify and block attacks before they breach a network.
- Sandboxing: This feature can run files or other items in a protected environment isolated away from the network, so the firewall can determine if the file in question contains any malicious code.
- Unified Security Management: This helps teams manage and enforce security policies across the network environment.
Scalability: It’s important that as your network expands and adapts, your firewall solution does too.