What is a Hardware and Software Firewall?
Hardware and software firewalls are different by design and in the way they operate. Hardware firewalls are typically integrated into the router sandwiched between a computer and an Internet modem and use packet filtering. These scan packet headers to identify the source, origin, destination addresses, and if the incoming traffic is associated with an outgoing connection, like accessing an external website. All of this is then compared to user-defined rules to gauge whether the packet is allowed to pass through or blocked. Wired and wireless routers typically come with hardware firewalls pre-installed.
Software firewalls are installed on individual devices such as PCs, laptops or phones. They work by intercepting each request by the network to connect to the device. They work to check if the request is valid. You can configure software firewalls to verify outgoing requests.
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Key Benefits of Hardware and Software Firewall
The benefits of using a hardware firewall are:
A single unit of a hardware firewall is enough to cover your entire network and since they don’t actually need system resources to run, they have zero impact on system performance or speed. Hardware firewalls are a perfect solution for businesses that work with a broadband Internet connection, such as DSL or cable modem. Unlike software firewalls, a hardware firewall does not easily fall victim to malware. Since you only need to install one hardware firewall to protect multiple computers, the cost of that singular unit is generally lower than running licensed software firewalls on each computer.
The benefits of using a software firewall are:
Even the most premium software firewalls typically cost less than $50, so they’re a great option for companies on a limited budget and few systems. They’re much more convenient and easier to configure compared to hardware routers. It’s easy for the user to figure out the exact level of protection they want with a few simple clicks during the installation process. These can even be configured to provide different security levels specific to each machine or user. Software firewalls are highly flexible and customizable. It’s easy for the administrator to block or only allow Internet connection to specific applications, enhancing the overall security by reducing the scope of malware. Software firewalls are portable since they can be installed on virtually any portable computer – a huge benefit in times when remote work has become predominant. Find the right firewall management software for your business with IT Consulting Joplin.
Advantages and disadvantages of Hardware Firewall Vs Software Firewall
Advantages of Hardware Firewall
Since the hardware firewall is located at the edge of the network and placed even before the router, it remains, quite literally, one step ahead of the software firewall that resides on a computer or network server. A hardware firewall is capable of providing protection for an entire network. This proves very cost-effective for companies with multiple systems. Hardware firewalls are significantly more resistant to malware thanks to different operating systems from the ones installed on computing machines, such as Windows, that form a popular target for malicious actors. Independent hardware firewalls that include CPUs, memory, and proprietary operating systems that do not need to be installed on a computer to operate, typically prove more efficient and faster than software firewalls.
Disadvantages of Hardware Firewall
Configuration of enterprise hardware firewalls is best left in the hands of IT experts with experience. They can be nightmarishly difficult for beginners to handle. Hardware firewalls cannot be used to monitor outbound traffic.
Advantages of Software Firewalls
Software firewalls are very economical to use, especially if you’re on a network with only a few systems attached. Professional and corporate subscriptions of software firewalls typically come with multi-user licenses and conveniently cover all the existing systems on your network. Configuring software firewalls is a simple process and can be done by the user during the installation. It is a fairly simple process for the administrator to configure the required level of security on each system. Software firewalls are capable of monitoring and refining network outbound traffic along with incoming traffic that gives it a clear advantage over hardware firewalls. Software firewalls also offer a greater degree of flexibility and customization. Send software firewalls can be installed on any system with a network connection, the system can be protected no matter where the user is located.
Disadvantages of Software Firewalls
Since the software firewall needs to be installed on the system that it’s protecting, it also makes use of the system’s resources such as CPU, memory, etc. that could, at times, impact the overall speed or performance of the system. The cost of installing software firewalls is typically proportional to the number of systems currently in use in your network. With more systems to protect, the cost goes up significantly.
Why You Need Both a Hardware and Software Firewall
To put matters plainly, the main point of difference between hardware and software firewalls is that while a hardware firewall works to protect the network from all external threats, a software firewall is dedicated to protecting a specific device from dangers in both inbound and outbound traffic as well as other internal systems.
While hardware firewalls are very good at protecting systems from outside threats, you do need software firewalls to work in conjunction to prevent threats arising from internal systems, such as an email link containing malware. Even with both hardware and software firewalls in place, you need an alert and experienced team, such as Managed IT Services Joplin, monitoring and managing both as alerts can be easily overlooked and result in a massive breach.