As the walls in your home protect you from the outside, a Firewall protects you from outside network traffic.
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What is Firewall?
A Firewall is a computer security device (or software) designed to protect a network by filtering traffic and blocking outsiders from getting unauthorised access to your data.
Not only will a firewall block unwanted traffic, it can also block malicious software from infecting your computers and servers. It controls the flow of traffic inbound and outbound. Traditionally on your home setup and small office firewalls its default settings are to allow all traffic outbound. In larger organisation you may find more specific rules granularly controlling all traffic. Businesses such as banks would introduce measures like this due to the nature of their industry.
A network is only as secure as its least protected device, which is where a network security systems, such as Firewalls come in.
Do I need a Firewall??
The short answer is yes! If you are only as strong as your weakest link
Operating systems today come with Firewalls built in, its always recommend to check and ensure these are enabled and have rules in place.
In addition to this a Perimeter firewall (your last line of defence) is also recommended to help reduce risk from a compromised device on your network.
What Firewall do I need?
This is a complex answer because it comes down to several questions, How many devices are on the network? How many users are there? Do you need centralised management and reporting? How much network traffic will there be? Is it a public network? Is there internet access? Do you need advanced features built into the Firewall, such as an IDS (Intrusion Detection System)
All the factors above drive the product selection as it has to be based on your requirements there is no one product to solve everyones needs and requirements.
Its important to note you home network router provided by your ISP (Internet Service Provider) will have a built in, configured firewall, but with very basic configuration and rules such as e.g. Inbound traffic REJECT / Outbound traffic ACCEPT
Here is a great video to help visualise the purpose of a firewall
Do you need some help with a Firewall?
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