What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Using a Firewall?

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For the vast majority of businesses in operation today, firewalls act as a hidden "shield" against various threats lurking on the internet, including hackers intent on probing your data. In the vast majority of scenarios, business owners probably don't even realize that they are receiving all of the benefits of firewalls through their operating system, router and other internet peripherals, the vast majority of which incorporate firewall technology into their default setups. While their are a variety of obvious benefits of firewalls, the most commonly discussed being improved network security, there are also various drawbacks which may be encountered by those managing firewalls in the professional environment. Understanding how the advantages and disadvantages of internet security as it is provided by firewalls can help you better comprehend the best way you can use these tools in conjunction with your business.

Identifying Advantages of Firewall Technology

Perhaps the strongest advantage of a firewall is that it effectively isolates your computer from external threats. According to various studies, Windows computers which did not have a firewall activated upon connecting to the internet were exposed to various forms of cyber threats within a matter of minutes. When using a firewall, network administrators can carefully select the specific ports which receive and transmit data for various operations, including web browsing, email communication, and so on. This can be immensely powerful in that it will allow you to customize your security protocols depending upon the specific situation at hand and create a tailored experience for each user on the network. Given the fact that a firewall is designed to protect a computer from unwanted intrusion, the advantages offered by this technology are priceless.

Identifying Disadvantages of Firewall Technology

Although firewalls are capable of blocking access to human intruders, they cannot defend against threats posed by malware, such as viruses. If a user on your network inadvertently opens an email containing malware, they may still be able to infect your infrastructure regardless of your firewall. With that in mind, it could be argued that one of your firewall's disadvantages is that it cannot exist alone as a comprehensive security tool. Thinking of your firewall as a service rather than a whole defense system is pragmatic and necessary.

While the advantages of firewall services are significant, yet another possible downside for some business owners is the fact that larger network may require a full-time administrator in order to maintain the firewall and ensure that it is allowing the appropriate connections while simultaneously blocking those which have been deemed a threat.

Moving Forward With Your Firewall

As you can see, firewalls play a critical role in modern network security. How you choose to deploy your firewall is up to you, but you should always find a way to take advantage of the critical defense tools your firewall offers. A time may come when your firewall helps defend your network against a potentially devastating threat.

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