How Can a Firewall Affect or Improve the Security of Your Business Website?
The term firewall is common enough. You’ve probably heard it mentioned several times before. However, unless you’re in the IT line or heavily adept in technology, there’s still more to understand how the workings of firewall and what it actually does for you and your business.
Definition of Firewall
Simply put, a firewall is a filtering program or a hardware device. Furthermore, it screens the information coming from the internet connection to your computer system or private network. For example, if the firewall has flagged a mismatch to the incoming information, then that information will not be able to enter your system.
A firewall is a safety mechanism which helps to protect your computers, especially within a large organization where valuable data could easily be corrupted if the proper precautions are not in place to keep it safe. Firewalls are very important to these large organizations. Very important.
Picture this scenario. You’re in a company with about 300 employees, each of these employees will have their own workspace and computer. This means the company has hundreds of computers on their hands, all of which have network cards that are connecting them to each other. On top of that, the company will also have one or more connections to the Internet through T1 or T3 lines.
What happens if there is no firewall in place for these hundreds of computers? It means that your sensitive and confidential company data is easily accessible to anyone on the Internet. Hackers who know what they are doing can easily probe your computers. They can even make FTP connections. In fact, all it takes is one opening for a hacker to get through and wreak havoc on your system.
How Does a Firewall Work?
A firewall can be at every connection to the internet and security rules can be implemented. The company will be able to set up these rules for FTP servers, web servers and more. On top of that, the company will also be able to control the web connection of employees, and whether the files can leave the company over the network or not.
The firewall, in essence, gives the company tremendous control over how the people in the company use its network. Firewalls work by employing the use of three methods to help control traffic flowing in and out of the company’s network. These methods involve:
- Proxy Service – This is when information from the Internet is retired by the firewall before it is sent to the requesting system. This works vice versa.
- Packet Filtering – Packets refer to small chunks of data which gets analysed against a set of filters. The packets only pass through the requesting system if they make it through the firewall’s filters. Anything that doesn’t make it through gets discarded.
- Inspecting the State – This method works by comparing certain key parts of the packet to the database of trusted information, instead of examining the state of contents in each packet. The firewall will examine and monitor all the information for certain defining characteristics. This will apply to those that are travelling within the firewall. There will be a comparison between these incoming information. Further, the firewall will only allow entry if it is a reasonable match. Anything that doesn’t match will be discarded.