Firewall – History, Types, Uses and Importance

There is perhaps no other term in technology more universally understood than the humble firewall. Even without a working conception of how this critical technology protects an organization, people all understand the visual notion of a wall of fire that protects a system.

Firewalls aren’t exactly a new application of technology. Their earliest incarnation dates all the way back to the 1980’s, with some of the original firewalls being developed by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC).

No matter what type of industry your business serves, having the right network security has never been of more importance. And the firewall still plays a critical role in preserving that security.


Emerald City Solutions – Firewalls for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses

As a leading IT managed services provider in the Seattle area, Emerald City Solutions is in partnership with many of our small and medium-sized business clients to buttress their cybersecurity and prevent any possible breach.

Getting the ideal security package configured for a business is often a process that involves several key questions:

  1. What are the best firewalls?
  2. What are the different types of firewalls?
  3. How do network firewalls protect an organization?

We’ll provide you with all the information that you need to know to choose the right firewall for your small business. And of course, we are always here to assist with any questions that you may have regarding IT security, managed IT services, or any technological concern about your business.

Firewall History – Where it began

Firewalls have been around as long as the 1980’s.

The earliest firewalls were primarily configured to operate on the first four layers of the OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) model. Their objective was to intercept traffic on the wire and analyze the properties of every little packet of data to make sure they matched the predetermined criteria.

If the packets passed the test, they were forwarded along. If not, then they would be dropped immediately.

While this was a rapid process, it was found to be heavily resource-draining, which ultimately led to the creation of circuit-level firewalls which later would come to be known as “stateful” firewalls.

When the stateful firewall was introduced, it catalyzed the development of the packet-filtering firewall, which oddly enough became known as the “stateless” firewall.

By now, you’re probably starting to get the picture that firewalls have experienced a long evolution that has brought them into our modern, cloud-computing era.

Types of Firewalls

A firewall’s primary objective is to identify and intercept malicious data before it has a chance to get through. That being said, there are quite a few different ways for a firewall to go about this process.

There are around eight different types of firewalls and firewalls appliances, depending on who you ask:

  • Software firewalls – Software firewalls are defined as being firewalls that exist locally on a device, rather than being installed on a separate piece of hardware (or cloud computer).
  • Hardware firewalls – Hardware firewalls use a physical device that bolts onto an existing network infrastructure. They can be useful in situations where upgrading old software may not be viable.
  • Proxy firewalls – Also known as application-level firewalls, these web application firewalls insert themselves between devices and the network, intercepting traffic that may come through at the application-level.
  • Next-gen firewalls – The definition of these newer firewalls is somewhat up for debate in the IT community, but can be simply summarized as firewalls that dig deeper into packets for authentication and analysis.
  • Packet-filtering firewalls – Nearly all firewalls capture and filter packets, although there are others that provide more advanced functionality.
  • Cloud firewalls – Cloud based firewalls are run off-site by a third-party computer, in the cloud — as the name infers.
  • Circuit-level gateways – These firewalls work at the TCP level to make sure that the connection is legitimate.
  • Stateful inspection firewalls – These types of firewalls devices can be more computationally taxing, but combine the best of firewall security

Additional Types of Firewalls

Commonly, we’ll see businesses that are interested in finding ideal firewalls for the following types of configurations:

  • Firewalls for Macs
  • Firewalls Window 10 compatible
  • DNS firewalls
  • Soho firewalls

Depending on your business’ technology stack and configuration, some firewalls will be better choices than others. We can help you make the best choice for your organization.

Benefits of Using a Firewall

Whether you’re upgrading an existing firewall or looking for a brand new firewall solution, there are several key reasons to pay attention to your firewall security:

Prevents Hackers and Remote Access

A firewall’s prime directive is to protect your core systems from unauthorized users. It’s a critical boundary to have in place to deter digital criminals.

Protect your Data

In a world where everything seems to be vulnerable to a breach, we hardly need to explain the importance of protecting your data. By making sure that your firewall infrastructure is up to date, you’ll be in as best a position as possible.

Higher Privacy and Security

Compliance for privacy and security continue to be important legal considerations for businesses. Make sure that your business has everything it needs to be secure.

There are few downsides to using a firewall as a component in your business’ security protocol. However, one potential issue that can arise is that the firewall works a little bit too well. In these situations, the firewall may inadvertently restrict legitimate access to your network. THis is why it is important to have your firewall systems configured by a team of experts. 

While a firewall isn’t an invincible force, it is absolutely a critical part of any substantial cybersecurity strategy.

Choosing the Right Firewall for your Business

Software and hardware configurations can be the determining factor for a business looking for a specific level of firewall security.

As IT cybersecurity experts, our team at Emerald City Solutions is able to help educate you on all the different types of firewalls and find the best firewalls for your business.

If you need a cybersecurity upgrade, don’t hesitate. We’re here to help; get in touch today.

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    Everett Silvertips

    Emerald City Solutions is the Official IT Service Provider of your Everett Silvertips! 

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