hardware firewalls for business

Most small and medium-sized business owners have likely encountered the term “firewall” before.

A firewall is a security device that protects your network from cyberattacks by preventing unauthorized access to its systems. However, were you aware that there are two types of firewalls? There are both hardware and software firewalls (also frequently referred to as ‘firewall software’).

This comprehensive guide will focus on hardware firewalls for enterprises. We will examine what a hardware firewall is, how it operates, and why it is essential for SMBs to have one. 

A firewall is a network security system or barrier that sits between the internet and computer networks. Typically, a firewall establishes a barrier between a trusted network and an untrusted network. The Internet firewall is a device or piece of software designed to secure your computer from unwanted data and viruses.

What is Hardware Firewall Protection?

A hardware firewall is a tangible device used to enforce a network’s perimeter. This firewall inspects incoming and outgoing network traffic and enforces access controls and other security policies on all network connections crossing this boundary.

These firewalls, which contain both the hardware and software features required to enforce a network boundary, can provide an assortment of networking and security features, such as URL filtering, an intrusion prevention system (IPS), and even Wi-Fi support.

Why hardware firewalls are essential for SMBs

Cybercrime statistics are stacked against small, medium, and large enterprises. As most of us would think, only large corporations and institutions are associated with this risk. However, the statistics provide a distinct viewpoint.

Cybercrime is not limited to large-scale operations or major data exposures. The effects of cybercrime are felt at all levels.

In 2019, Forbes published an article revealing that 58 percent of all cybercrimes were committed against small enterprises. Forbes adds to the illumination of the threat by highlighting how expensive these offenses are for small businesses in particular.

Companies with fewer resources are frequently unable to bear the expense associated with recovering from an attack. Cyber Security Ventures’ official annual report on cybercrime projects that global cybercrime damages will reach $6 trillion annually by 2021.

Trends indicate that small enterprises are increasingly targeted. This is primarily due to the presumption that small businesses are less likely to be secure and therefore more susceptible to attack.

For a criminal, collecting valuable information from numerous lesser sources can be even more profitable than concentrating on fewer options in large-scale operations.

Additionally, many criminals have access to resources that are better adapted for small-scale crimes than large-scale operations.

How Does a Hardware Firewall Work?

A hardware firewall is a network security solution designed to safeguard an organization’s network perimeter by being deployed in inline mode.

This indicates that the physical network cables over which traffic can cross this boundary are connected to ports “inside” and “outside” the firewall.

When traffic enters a network firewall, it undergoes a security inspection and may be subjected to multiple controls. Firewalls are frequently configured to prevent certain forms of traffic from crossing the network boundary.

This can prevent traffic from entering the network over unused or undesirable ports and prevent certain categories of traffic from leaving the network (such as traffic that could leak sensitive data).

In addition, many firewalls offer additional access control and security inspection features. They may be able to apply signature detection or machine learning to traffic to identify malicious content and implement access constraints on particular resources.

All of these filters and safeguards aid in protecting the network and all connected systems from exploitation.

Are routers firewalls?

Yes, the truth is, wireless routers perform the function of a fundamental hardware firewall automatically.

Firewalls are designed to prevent unauthorized access to your internal network (also known as the network of devices connected to your gateway) from the internet.

This is a common tactic employed by hackers; once they gain access to your network, they can steal sensitive information (such as employee records and payment information) and control devices such as wireless security cameras.

Routers prevent this type of intrusion because they are designed to manage requests for outgoing traffic. If the router receives an incoming traffic request that was not initiated by a device on the network, it automatically discards it.

This prevents anyone from outside your network from accessing your devices, providing you with protection against fundamental cyberattacks.

Major Advantages of Hardware Firewalls

Hardware firewalls, which are deployed as tangible appliances, offer several advantages over software firewalls, including:

1. Standalone Protection

A software firewall is presumably installed on the protected computer. This indicates that it consumes resources that could be utilized for other purposes.

A hardware firewall operates on its own hardware, so increases in traffic volume or security requirements have no effect on the performance of the protected machines.

2. Consistent security

Software firewalls deployed on various computers can be configured differently. Software firewalls may be ineffective or have varying levels of security if an organization cannot implement and enforce a consistent security configuration.

A hardware firewall, on the other hand, provides uniform security for all devices it protects.

3. Increased Security

A hardware firewall operates on its own dedicated hardware, as opposed to relying on the computer’s resources. This can protect it from attacks aimed at exploiting the underlying operating system or other programs running concurrently.

4. Centralized Visibility

Running independent software firewalls on each device within an organization’s network means that the security team lacks complete network visibility or must exert additional effort to aggregate and assimilate data from all the devices.

A hardware firewall centralizes all network monitoring and logging within a single appliance.

5. Simplified Management

Each computer must be individually configured, administered, and updated with a software firewall to provide robust protection against cyber threats. In contrast, a hardware firewall is a singular device that protects the entire network.

Any required updates or configuration changes can be implemented once and immediately affect all devices protected by the firewall.

Which Type of Firewall Should You Use?

Whether to use a hardware or software firewall to secure a network is a crucial decision. Both have advantages and disadvantages, and the best option depends on the organization’s specific circumstances and use cases.

In addition to selecting a physical firewall appliance and software-based firewall, it is essential to choose a firewall that provides the necessary protections against cyber threats.

All in all 

A hardware firewall is required for any small or medium-sized organization seeking to defend its network against cyberattacks. Hardware firewalls provide an additional layer of security by physically isolating your network from the internet, as opposed to software firewalls.

They are simple to install, require minimal upkeep, and provide dependable protection against a wide variety of hazards. By investing in a hardware firewall, you can protect the sensitive data of your business and prevent costly data breaches.

Consider implementing a hardware firewall today, if you haven’t already, and appreciate the peace of mind that comes with knowing your network is secure.

Get Website Application Firewall to Defense Malware

Related articles:

Firewall vs. WAF: Which is Better for Stronger Protection?

Web Application Firewall (WAF) – Basic of Security Control

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