The Difference Between Hardware and Software Firewalls

Firewalls are an important part of life on the Internet, if you are going to keep yourself and your data protected you will need to use a firewall as part of your protection as well as anti-virus software, if you run a business having a firewall in your arsenal could be a very good thing if you are going to protect your customer records and financial data from thieves.

The Difference Between Hardware And Software Firewalls

What Is A Firewall?

We will put this in the simple way, firewall look at all of your data going to and from the Internet and it will check to see if it is safe to pass through or not. Think of it as your front door, your family or someone you know knocks the door, you open it, you know who they are so invite them in. On the other hand a salesman knocks the door, you are a bit weary of them and have no idea who they are so you are not so quick to let them in so you end the conversation as quickly as possible and close the door, this is the same principle as a firewall. It will use rules that you set to allow in different types of data.

The Hardware Firewall

Businesses often use dedicated hardware firewalls attached to their networks, the reason they use hardware firewalls is, say they have 25 computers in their network with 25 staff using them, it would mean all computers will need to have firewall software on them and this can seriously bog down the speeds of the network and also the computer systems, it will also cause a lot more crashing and data loss if the computers were to go down.

Hardware Firewall

Home users have a firewall, some people do not even know they have one! They have one attached to their home routers their internet providers give them, this is the little box that the phone line attaches too, it looks something like this:

This can be configured more advanced if you are into tinkering around with things, you can usually find manuals online to login to it, but beware, tinkering too much can actually cut the entire internet off for you then you will need to call out the engineer and admit to him that…uhmm…well…. haha!

Software Firewalls

Some home networks are not fitted with a firewall, so therefore you will require a software firewall, these I do not prefer personally! As they tend to slow the computer system right down to a crawl, depending on how powerful your computer is. A software firewall is still highly configurable and different one have many different options.

If you are in need of a firewall but don’t want to fork out for a hardware one you can pick up a software firewall very cheap, sometimes even free! The best ones I find are Norton or Mcafee, there is also ZoneAlarm too.

Bio: I have a hardware firewall that protects me from Internet attack, I created my own with a Linux machine, It acts as a router as well as a firewall, this is ideal for me as I have complete control over what passes in and out of the Internet, for an extra layer of security I store files away from my entire network by using ShareFile by Citrix.