The different types of firewalls can be divided into categories based on their structure and method of operation. There are pros and cons to each firewall type, which we’ll also touch on in this section.
Hardware firewalls come in the form of a dedicated physical appliance. This firewall type is excellent at maintaining perimeter security, which keeps out any malicious traffic that might be trying to break into your network.
These firewalls are similar to a traffic router that protects your network by intercepting data packets and traffic requests prior to connecting to your servers.
- The firewall is a separate device that’s specifically made to function as a firewall.
- It’s optimized for performance and security.
- Consistently updated for security on a regular basis, maintaining the latest virus protection, and installing security patches.
- Hardware firewalls can sometimes be more costly than their software and cloud counterparts.
- If your hardware firewall fails, the whole network goes down. There are ways around it, such as High Availability (HA). HA is where you have a redundant firewall, so the other automatically takes over if one fails.
Software firewalls are installed on a local device and run on existing workstations and/or servers rather than on a dedicated hardware piece.
- Can be run on your existing company workstations and servers, so there’s no need to purchase additional hardware.
- Ease of use.
- Software firewalls have limited functionality.
- They tend to take up a lot of space in your system.
- Will degrade the performance of whatever workstation or server it’s installed on.
Cloud firewalls are delivered via the cloud. It’s also sometimes known as firewall-as-a-service (FaaS). Because of the nature of the cloud, these firewall types are easy to scale with your business.
Technically, there are two types of cloud firewalls: those that protect your infrastructure and servers (Type A) and those that protect your business’s network and users (Type B). The “type A and B” terminology is just something we created to differentiate cloud firewall types.
Type A firewalls are designed to use your business’s servers to run a virtual data center as an infrastructure-as-a-service (Iaas) model. The actual firewall application runs on the virtual server to protect in-and-out traffic between the cloud applications.
Type B firewalls, in contrast, often come as stand-alone products or services that aim to protect your network and users. It’s similar to having a local firewall appliance, except it’s run on the cloud. This is the type that’s frequently known as FaaS.
- Some cloud firewalls are capable of protecting your entire cloud infrastructure. They can even protect your cloud servers from other servers. This is useful in the event of an insider or attack or when an outside attack successfully corrupts one of your servers, as the cloud firewall can isolate those servers and protect the greater network.
- Certain types of cloud firewalls are connected to workstations.
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