In business, network security’s first line of defense is the firewall. The term “firewall” suggests a powerful, effective means of preventing unwanted intrusion. In fact, the most oft-used image to illustrate a firewall is that of a brick wall standing between a computer and a globe, representing the Internet. This image of strength, however, is only as accurate from the standpoint of a regularly updated firewall.
While a firewall isn’t a physical brick-and-mortar barrier, it can be created via hardware, software, or a combination of both. A predetermined rule set helps the firewall to analyze traffic packets seeking entry or exit through the barrier, and allow or reject the traffic based on the security criteria. Businesses that have multiple computers, multiple users, and multiple locations, and that store or transmit sensitive data such as personal or credit card information have a great deal of traffic in and out and require a firewall that can meet these security demands.