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Security Advantages a Network Firewall Provides

When you have a business, be it small or large, you need to make sure that all your data is stored safely. That means that not only should you have a backup of your important files, but you should also have extra security against hackers’ attacks. Most people have antivirus software, but this can be much more effective when used along with firewall protection.

First of all, let’s define what a firewall is. A firewall is a device that controls network traffic (all incoming and outgoing data), and can either deny or allow information to enter or leave your personal computer or network. For instance, it can block emails with viruses from entering your network or employees from visiting unacceptable web sites.

A good analogy is with a firewall in a building: just as in a building a firewall is meant to keep the fire from spreading out, the computer firewall is meant to keep threats from entering your network and spreading to other computers.

Computer Security Systems consultant William Kenji, from WKGI Consulting, gives an example of the usage of firewall in an office. “A very basic one is that in which companies utilize firewall to block some sites and/or files attached to emails, thus preventing people from accessing sites that might be harmful to the company’s network or that might receive some type of virus through email.”

There are two types of firewall: software and hardware. The software is a program that monitors the network traffic. Newer versions of Windows, such as Windows XP Service Pack 2 already come with the software installed as default. This is mostly used by single computers, says William Kenji.

The hardware firewall is a device that you can install at the point where your network connects to the Internet. It is usually used by businesses and you can find it in two categories:

Departmental firewall: intended for small organizations, they can monitor network traffic for a certain number of computers. They can offer some reporting on the type of information that the employees tried to access or on incoming threats.

Enterprise firewall: used in large organizations, since it works for users that are geographically far from each other, such as in cases in which a company is spread all over the country. It can give advanced reports on Internet usage.

Some routers work as a hardware firewall, although in not as advanced a way as a firewall appliance would offer. Basically all companies have a router, but due to its very basic features, businesses also have firewalls for protection. Some firewalls are even integrated with the router.

Consultant William Kenji says that the best policy is to have both software and hardware firewalls working together if you want to have more security, even if you have a small business or just home computer needs. “You must be wondering why to use any firewall besides a good anti-virus software program. Well, remember that it always takes some time for the antivirus companies to develop a protection against the new viruses, and a firewall may prevent you from disseminating a new virus in case one infiltrates your computer. Besides, it may also protect you against ill-intentioned people. The ideal is to have a good antivirus always updated and a good firewall installed and configured.”

As a specialist in security systems, William Kenji reinforces the importance of using firewall, even in your home computer, since there are numerous ways of stealing bank passwords, credit card and personal information from your computers. “The Internet is not dangerous if used with security. Nowadays the use of firewall in both homes and companies, be them large or small, is highly necessary, so you can safely enjoy all the benefits of the Internet.”

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