Votes: 0Posted On: May 30, 2017 12:23:37
In today's world, data security has become the number one concern. Every day, system/network admins are at war with virus developers and hackers to protect their systems.
To fight this we have Firewalls (both hardware and software) that monitor the traffic (incoming/outgoing) analyzing each packet of data for any malicious activity. Despite their similarities, hardware and software firewalls have many differences. Choose the wrong one and you could wind up spending far more money than necessary.
Which type of firewall is right for you? You should know by the time you finish reading this brief primer.
These are the first line of defense as they are mostly configured on network boxes (modems/routers) containing customized hardware and software. It monitors every packet that reaches your network verifying its source and destination and header if it can be trusted. Only when the packet is verified, it is allowed to pass through the hardware firewall and directed towards the destination machine. Depending on the current firewall setting, it filters the traffic accordingly.
The Hardware Firewall has built-in IPS / IPDS (Intrusion Prevention Systems), that earlier used to be a separate device. But now these are included, offering greater protection.
Hardware Firewalls are good for small or medium business owners, with a small network of computers with 5 or more PCs. These become cost effective because if you choose to purchase software licenses for each machine let's say 20 - 30 copies on an annual subscription fee it will cost you a lot of money.
The Hardware Firewall has a built-in IPS / IPDS (Intrusion Prevention Systems), that earlier used to be a separate device. But now these are included, offering us greater protection. Manufacturers are now also including Gateway Antivirus, Malware scanners and Content Filters, so you’ll get maximum protection with them. CISCO offers Hardware that includes “Cisco ProtectLink Security Solutions” on some of their selected devices.
A software firewall is more of an individual machine thing when the number of users are relatively less in an organization. However, in larger organizations, in spite of a Hardware Firewall security, it is recommended to use a Software firewall as well. This is largely because there may be users/employees that tend to carry and work on their systems out of companies’ secured network. In those cases, it is important to protect them.
Another major benefit about software firewalls is that they are easily upgradable. Users can simply download patches, fixes, updates, and enhancements from the firewall provider’s website, or in most of the cases provider sends these improvements via the Internet.
Now to answer your question, choosing a firewall (Hardware or Software) largely depends on the kind of setup you would be running for your organization. As told in the article above, if your setup is relatively small, it is wise to go for a Software firewall. And if your setup is fairly larger (20+ users) then it is wise you choose a Hardware level firewall along with a software firewall to secure your network.