What is a Firewall? (Firewall Defined and Explained)

A firewall is a term almost every internet user has heard at least once. But, what does it mean to have it installed on your device? Is it worth investing in a quality firewall? You’ll find all the answers in this article!

What is a Firewall

What is a Firewall?

To put it simply, a firewall is a device or software responsible for ensuring security on a network. It does that by watching the outgoing and incoming traffic on the network. Then, it restricts or allows data packets to pass through.

A firewall works based on a set of security rules that are usually put in place by default. However, users can change these security rules and restrictions based on their own needs. The main point of having a firewall is to protect the network and have a barrier between outside interference and the internal network. With today’s technology and the number of malware that’s operating on the internet, a firewall is a must for any network.

Firewall Explained

Why Should You Invest in a Firewall?

 If you aren’t certain whether a firewall is a good investment, take a look at the list of all the major benefits it comes with!

1. A Firewall Ensures that You Are More Secure Online

Today’s malware is barely visible online. With so many threats lurking on the internet, you’ll need to have at least one protection system in place. Once the malware reaches your computer, it is a matter of time before you lose all the files on your device. Your PC might even be lost for good. Therefore, you’ll need good protection from outside sources. A firewall should be able to provide you with enough security so that you won’t have to worry about many of these threats reaching your device.

In addition, a firewall can detect the most dangerous and difficult to recognize malware – a Trojan. A Trojan is probably the worst type of malware as it spies over your actions and sends sensitive info about you to the web server. It’s extremely difficult to detect and you probably won’t be able to recognize what is happening before it’s too late.  

Hackers are another common online threat that is hard to recognize and deal with. Luckily, with the help of a firewall, you won’t have to worry about potential intrusions to your network. This software or device will block any type of unwarranted access from your network. What’s more, a firewall can protect your data by hiding your private info from the websites you visit.

2. A Firewall Could Provide You with More Control

Firewalls can come with different features. Some of them have an excellent access policy that allows you to have more control over the network. That way, you’ll be able to prevent access to suspicious hosts or have full control over their actions on the network.

What’s more, a firewall can monitor the traffic on the network and can restrict and allow access. Every packet that passes through the network will be thoroughly examined and blocked if harmful.

Furthermore, some firewalls will give you control over what can pass through and what can’t. If you have the option to enable this feature, the system will ask you what you want to do with a certain file or data. That way, you’ll be the one to inspect potential suspicious traffic and allow it to reach your network or prevent it from accessing it. In any way, you’ll have more control over traffic and more useful information about the potentially harmful activity before you decide.

The Main Downsides of Having a Firewall

1. Possible Issues with the Performance

There are a couple of different ways a firewall can affect your performance. First of all, a high-quality firewall with many features in place uses up your computer’s resources and consumes its processing power. That’s because it has to constantly run in the background to keep your device safe. As a result, you may face slower performance in general, especially when you get online as that’s when your firewall starts working more and using up more resources. 

Many users reported extremely slow load times and some even had to disable their firewall to get anything done on their computer. While this situation doesn’t happen often, a slower performance is something to be expected when you have a firewall in place.

Another way a firewall can cause issues with the performance is by restricting access to your system. That is an excellent ability of a firewall as you’ll be much more protected. However, the feature could lead to some issues if you have numerous devices accessing your network. 

A lot of businesses with firewalls in place are having trouble with allowing multiple employees to access the system. Furthermore, even those that do could face various restrictions that could prevent them from getting their jobs done. The process of enabling different levels of access to various users can be tiring and even impossible with some firewalls. Thus, staying on top of everything is pretty difficult and could affect the overall productivity of your employees.

2. False Sense of Security

A firewall should be able to protect you from outside threats. However, it won’t be enough to have just a firewall installed for the ultimate protection from malware. Thus, having a firewall could make you have a false sense of security, as the software won’t be able to detect every type of threat. That is why it’s wise to have an anti-malware program installed as well.

3. Additional Costs

An excellent firewall is not free. So, it’s an extra cost you wouldn’t have if you only relied on anti-malware programs and other types of protection. Luckily, a software firewall is not that expensive, and the upsides it comes with are almost always worth it.

On the other hand, the hardware firewall can be costly. In addition, its installation usually comes with extra charges and fees, especially if you hire a professional to set it up. Thus, it could be a too expensive investment.

The Bottom Line

As you can see, a firewall is extremely useful to have installed on your device. It will offer an additional layer of protection and should protect you from dangers that lurk around the internet.

However, it won’t provide enough protection from every type of malware, which is why you should have other programs installed as well. In addition, it could be pretty costly, especially if you go for the hardware one. Still, if you’re open to spending a little extra time researching the best option for yourself, you’ll probably find a great firewall that will protect you for years to come!

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