Topic – Software Firewall Vs Hardware Firewall | Firewalls | 2021 Updated
Software Firewall Vs Hardware Firewall – Explained and why you need both in 2021
Ever feel like someone is watching you from that webcam? What if someone was listening to all of what you say? Sounds Creepy, doesn’t it?
Well, such an invasion of privacy is a reality now. The people behind such hideous acts can easily make you shut up and dance.
No one wants to be a victim of such crimes and that’s when firewalls come in. They act as a filter to keep you and your system safe while you browse over the internet.
Hence, Firewalls have become a necessity as more and more new malicious software come into the Cyber Market.
You may be wondering, how do I know what type of firewalls do I need? Well, fear not, that’s why we are here!
Let us dive deep into it to give you a clear idea of software firewall vs hardware firewall
Before we get on with it, let us answer some of the questions you may have.
What is a Firewall?
A firewall is a security device. It may be a hardware device or a digital software program.
It can help protect your network by filtering the network traffic and blocking unknown sources from gaining unauthenticated access to the private data on your computer.
How does a Firewall work?
A Firewall acts as a gatekeeper to regulate traffic between your computer and a different network like the internet.
It analyses the network traffic based on some predefined rules or protocols. It allows an incoming connection only if it is configured to accept it as per the pre-established security rules.
Do you even need a Firewall?
You may already know about certain safe internet practices like not clicking on unknown ads or pop us or not logging on to anonymous websites etc.
But does that make you cyber-safe? The answer may be ‘no’
As cyber threats are widespread and evolving, deploying a security tool like a Firewall would be smart.
What are types of Firewalls?
The Different Types of Firewalls- Software Firewall Vs Hardware Firewall
Majorly, there are two different types of Firewalls – a Hardware Firewall and a Software Firewall
Let us look at a little overview of both:
A hardware firewall, as the name suggests, is a physical device or a set of devices that can be used to administer the network traffic flow into your system.
A very simple example of a hardware firewall is a router that is used with a WiFi connection.
Some of the features of a hardware firewall are as follows:
- Reduced Latency
The data over the internet is transmitted in the form of small units called data packets. Latency is the time taken to process one such data packet.
With the use of a hardware firewall, regulating and processing data packets is done in very little time.
- Higher Bandwidth
With a hardware firewall, the capacity to process the number of data packets per second and filter them according to the set protocols increases, and hence an increased bandwidth is enjoyed.
- Default Rules
A fully configurable set of default rules as per the company’s standards are provided which easily apply to all traffic.
- VPN Connections
A major advantage of a Hardware Firewall is the ability to run a Virtual Private Connection (VPN). This ensures even higher security and encryption of your running network.
However, apart from all the benefits, there are also some disadvantages associated with Hardware Firewalls:
- It requires a lot of additional space and is usually very costly to buy and set up.
- It demands highly skilled manpower to get started with and to maintain it effectively.
- Until the configuration is done properly, new or legitimate users may not be able to access the required information efficiently.
A software firewall is a digital application that does the work of protecting the system from unauthorized attempts from the internet to access the memory files.
It can prevent the entry of malicious programs into your computer system and provide you with a high level of security.
It needs to be installed on individual systems and hence is a more popular choice for personal computers and other devices.
One of the most common types of software firewalls that you may be familiar with is the Windows Firewall. It comes pre-installed in a computer that runs Microsoft windows as the operating system (OS)
Just like the hardware firewalls, this also has its own advantages and disadvantages. Some of the benefits of the software firewalls are:
- No additional Space
Since it is a type of digital program, it is not required to have any physical space to install and is easily available at a cheap price.
- Easy configuration
The accessible websites and the rules can be easily adjusted without any physical requirement. It can be easily done by toggling through the options available on the software interface.
Internet access can also be controlled like what websites will be allowed to load or who will be able to access a specific website etc.
This type of firewall requires regular updates in order to attain maximum security against new threats. Such types of frequent updates can be installed by the users themselves.
- Foolproof Protection
It is conveniently used to protect smartphones, laptops from hackers, spam emails, malware, viruses, etc. Thereby, giving you an all-round safety against all possible threats.
It can also be used to monitor the internet activity of kids and for other network supervision requirements.
Just like anything else, this one also has certain limitations. Some of them include:
- Whenever the updates need to be installed, it has to be done on each computer in an organization for proper functioning.
- A separate copy of the software firewall needs to be installed on all of the computers in a company which may add to the total charges.
Moreover, a specific software may not be compatible with all the computers.
- Software Firewalls utilize system resources like disc space and memory so chances are that it may reduce the system performance.
- A single software firewall is not enough to filter the data packets based on information. The perfect combination is to use both software and hardware firewalls.
A Contrast – Software Firewall Vs Hardware Firewall
By now, it may be clear to you that both the software and the hardware variants of the firewalls have their own set of pros and cons.
Some various other features of Hardware and software firewalls against each other are as follows:
- Setting up a hardware firewall often equates to a big investment, while software firewalls generally require less investment.
However, the cost of software firewalls increases if an organization has computers of different brands and operating systems (OS)
- Hardware firewalls offer higher informational security for the complete network as they act as a gatekeeper between the external internet and the internal organizational network due to their positioning.
- On the other hand, a software firewall on personal computers cannot offer similar protection to the entire network.
- Employees of an organization may try to bypass a hardware firewall for various reasons like the convenience of operation.
Hence, a software firewall might prove to be useful in such situations.
Concluding Software Firewall Vs Hardware Firewall
You would have probably already inferred that for a medium to a big organization or a company that has many computers in a network, a hardware firewall is a preferable option.
And for a personal computer or a device, a software firewall should suffice.
However, it is never known how intruders may try to attack so it is always the best option to use a combination of Hardware and Software Firewall for the highest level of cybersecurity.
Hope you won’t be having any more doubts regarding the different types of firewalls- Software Firewall Vs Hardware Firewall
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