Choosing a Firewall: 3 Considerations

Published on June 29, 2021  |  Cyberfort Advisors

There are many types of firewall technologies, and choosing the best fit for your business can be tricky. There’s no clear, one-size-fits-all solution and each firewall type has its own benefits and limitations. So let’s break down some top factors to consider when defining what is best for your IT program and your company.

Take Stock of Your Network Needs First

You can use one type of firewall protection, or you can layer them. Deciding the best course includes taking stock of your company’s size, available resources, and level of protection required.

Do you have a large internal network that needs to be monitored or do you want to protect individual devices? And do you have the financial resources to successfully cover the cost of the service(s) you choose? Do you have a lot of sensitive client information (like healthcare records or financial assets) or do you work with lower-risk user information (anonymous data or other non-personal identifiers)?

In-Depth Questions to Consider

Before you start comparing firewall types or cybersecurity providers, there are a few questions you should consider, per TechTarget:

  • What is your firewall protecting? 
  • What is your company’s budget for these resources?  What are the technical objectives for the firewall? While next-generation firewalls are considered more robust and feature more security coverage, is it something your business truly needs? 
  • How does the firewall fit into your company’s current architecture? 
  • What traffic inspection factors are present? Does it need to sort packet contents based on source address or will you require monitoring of all packet contents?

Differences in Firewall Types

For each firewall type, there are pros and cons.

Packet filtering firewalls do just that – they process packet contents efficiently and are usually pretty affordable. They don’t have much impact on existing resources or network performance. However, they are not equipped with application layer filtering, and are not very broad in comparison to other firewall types.

Circuit-level gateways provide data privacy for anything passing in or out of a private network. They minimally impact the end-user and are also fairly inexpensive. However, they don’t protect individual packets, rather they protect circuits (network sessions) and should be used in conjunction with other firewall tech.

Application-level gateways detect and block attacks that are not visible at the OSI model or transport layers. They also obscure private network details and protect user anonymity. Because of these extra layers of control and security, application-level gateways are more complex to configure and maintain.

Stateful inspection firewalls protect your network by blocking attacks that exploit protocol shortcomings and weak spots and many denial-of-service attacks. These require more expertise to successfully configure and are not helpful against stateless protocol attacks.

Looking for the Best Firewall for Your Business? We Can Help

CyberFort Advisors has many SOC services, including firewall management, to protect and monitor your sensitive data to ensure your data is secure. Contact us at 1 (866) 221-4004 or email [email protected] to learn more.