Firewall Implemenations

Every business organization that’s connected to the Internet needs a firewall to protect the internal network from attacks, but selecting the right firewall can be an overwhelming task. There are a plethora of products on the market, ranging in price from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands. Software firewalls, hardware firewalls, “personal” firewalls, enterprise firewalls – how do you even begin to evaluate their features and determine what you need and what you don’t?

Computer and network security needs have changed drastically over the past several years, and firewall technology has evolved to meet those new, more demanding needs. The traditional firewall was a fairly simple construct: it sat between the LAN (or in the case of personal firewalls, an individual computer) and the “outside world” of the Internet, and filtered packets coming in – and in some cases, going out – based on information in the Layer 3 and 4 headers (IP, TCP, UDP, ICMP). The decision to accept or reject a packet was usually based on the source or destination address or port number.

As attackers grew more sophisticated and began to exploit higher layer protocols (DNS, SMTP, POP3, etc.), firewalls had to do more. Most business-class firewalls today perform at least some application layer filtering, or ALF. ALF is necessary to prevent application layer attacks and to filter for spam and viruses, or to perform content filtering to block objectionable Web sites based on content rather than just IP address.

Firewalls today are often more than “sentries” at the network gate. Vendors have added other features that aren’t strictly firewall functions, such as VPN gateway and Web caching. Almost all modern firewalls other than those at the very low end support VPN, and many either include caching to accelerate Web performance or offer add-on modules for that purpose. In fact, many vendors have started calling their products “multifunction security” devices or software, instead of simply “firewalls.”

Host-based vs. Network Firewalls

Host-based firewalls (sometimes called “personal” firewalls) are simple, low cost programs or devices intended to protect a single computer. Examples include ZoneAlarm, Norton Personal Firewall, and the Internet Connection Firewall (ICF) built into Windows XP.

Network firewalls can protect multiple computers. However, not all network firewalls are created equal. Some are simple devices or programs that cost little more than personal firewalls. Many consumer-grade DSL and cable routers include this type of firewall technology. Simple network firewalls perform packet filtering, but usually don’t do more than very rudimentary ALF.

Enterprise firewalls are “all business,” designed for large, complex networks. It goes without saying that they cost much more. They will handle many more users, have faster throughput, and have advanced features, such as:

Incorporation of VPN gateways
-Ability to manage multiple firewalls centrally
-Sophisticated monitoring and reporting mechanisms
-Can be extended through add-on modules or plug-ins
-Ability to control access via policies and apply different policies to different users
-More sophisticated authentication mechanisms
-High availability with load balancing and failover
-Contact us for a detailed assessment for your network protection needs.

Intrusion Detection and Prevention
Intrusion detection and prevention systems are used to protect your from possible intrusions in your network. With our automated systems you can be certain of security because you simply stop worrying about it. Depending on your network, scalable and configurable systems can be put in place to ensure that you can identify possible incidents, logging information about them, and reporting attempts. In every installation of IDP system we ran a vulnerability assessment to ensure there are no holes in your network.