Firewall Protection: Types and Benefits

Firewall Protection Types and Benefits

Cybercrimes are the biggest knockback of technological advancements in the 21st century. They are the 2nd most reported crimes globally and cost enterprises huge monetary losses and reputation impairment.

According to a report published by the Economic Impact of Cybercrime, cybercrimes have adversely affected the global economy with annual losses of almost $600 billion. It was also claimed that the loss figures may reach up to 6 trillion by the year 2021.       

Cyber criminals target all kinds of businesses (network connected) irrespective of their size. This has leveraged enterprises to avail web application firewall services in order to safeguard their data from threats and breaches.      

What is Firewall?

Firewall is a software program (or a hardware) that protects the network of computers from being compromised with hacker initiated cyber-attacks. It works as the first line of defense in network security with efficient monitoring of private network’s traffic. It prevents unauthorized access to the network and can block messages linking to unwanted content.          

Types of Firewalls

Firewalls are majorly categorized into four types. With each having distinct features and advantages, enterprises can reap maximum benefits after they identify their prime objectives and needs. Here are the four types of firewalls and their respective advantages:

  1. Packet Filtering Firewalls

Often referred to as the original type of firewall, packet filtering firewalls are deployed on routers that connect internal network to the internet. They can only be implemented on the network layer of the Open Systems Interconnection model (OSI) and work in accordance with the rules defined by access control list. Some advantages of the respective include:

  • Cost effective with lower resource usage
  • Low impact on network performance
  • Most suitable for smaller networks    

Packet firewalls can work only on the network layer as they do not support complex rule based models.  

  1. Circuit Level Gateways

Circuit level gateway firewalls offer one of the quickest ways for identifying malicious content. They are deployed at the session layer of the OSI model and monitor sessions to determine the legitimacy of the connection request. According to technical experts, this firewall creates a stealth cover for a private network. Some associated benefits include:

  • Comparatively inexpensive than other firewalls
  • Provide anonymity to the private network
  • Monitor Transmission Control Protocol’s (TCP) three way handshake  

Circuit level gateways provide efficient network security. However, they do not filter individual packets.   

  1. Application Level Gateways

Application level gateways, also known as proxy firewalls, combine the attributes of packet filtering and circuit level gateway firewalls. They work on the application layer of OSI model and provide comprehensive protection to specific application layer protocols. Some advantages of application firewall solutions include:

  • Work only on configured protocols
  • Can prevent diverse kinds of attacks

Application level firewalls can be configured as caching services that increase the network’s performance.

  1. Stateful Multilayer Inspection

Stateful multilayer inspection is an amalgamation of all the above discussed firewalls. They can filter packets at the network layer while keeping a stern check on sessions at the session layer. It can evaluate pockets on the application layers and implement protocol specific algorithms and security models. Some advantages of implementing Stateful multilayer inspection firewall include:

  • All-in-one firewall solution
  • Allows direct connection between client and server
  • Makes connections and data transfer more secure     

According to technical experts, the third generation of firewall technology, also known as Next Generation Firewall (NGFW) has evolved. It is capable of detecting and blocking sophisticated attacks with new-age security policy enforcements.

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