Firewalls – Overview and Best Practices

Topics: Firewall, Operating system, Computer security Pages: 8 (2567 words) Published: August 19, 2013
Firewalls – Overview and Best Practices

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© Copyright Decipher Information Systems, 2005. All rights reserved. The information in this publication is furnished for information use only, does not constitute a commitment from Decipher Information Systems of any features or functions discussed and is subject to change without notice. Decipher Information Systems assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or inaccuracies that may appear in this publication. Last revised: June 2006

©Copyright 2005 Decipher Information Systems All Rights Reserved

Table of Contents
Table of Contents................................................................................................................ 3 Firewalls – Overview and Best Practices............................................................................ 4 Abstract ............................................................................................................................... 4 Hardware vs. Software Firewalls........................................................................................ 4 Implementation – Things to Consider................................................................................. 7 Configuring Access Rules................................................................................................... 9 Firewall Logs and Auditing .............................................................................................. 10 Summary ........................................................................................................................... 12

©Copyright 2005 Decipher Information Systems All Rights Reserved

Firewalls – Overview and Best Practices

Abstract
The importance of securing an organization’s internal network has always been high. In today’s world of technology hackers, viruses, mal-ware, and identity theft, companies both large and small have found that properly securing their networks is a never-ending challenge. An essential component of achieving effective security is the network firewall. There are many different types of firewalls available, all varying greatly in configuration, capability, and complexity. This document discusses not only the different firewall types, but also provides some best-practice suggestions for configuration and administration.

Hardware vs. Software Firewalls
There are two basic types of firewalls: hardware and software. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Hardware firewalls are exactly what the name implies; a hardware device that is placed somewhere in the traffic flow of an organization’s network. Once in place, the device receives and analyzes packets traveling into and out of the network. The device then checks a list of previously specified access rules to see if it should allow the packet to continue to its destination, or if the packet should be discarded. There are a number of advantages to using hardware firewalls. The devices do not depend on common operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows or Linux, so they are immune to the seemingly infinite number of bugs, viruses, and other malicious attacks that those operating systems suffer from. Hardware firewalls also perform much

©Copyright 2005 Decipher Information Systems All Rights Reserved

better (faster) than a software based solution, and are much more scalable – additional devices can be added as needed with relative ease. Performance should be one of the main considerations when selecting a firewall solution due to the fact that all network traffic traveling into and out of the organization’s network will pass through the device and it takes time and processing overhead to analyze each packet to determine what needs to be done with it. Another advantage is that hardware firewalls only perform firewallrelated duties and are not burdened with other tasks. This type of single-purpose functionality allows these hardware devices to perform their...
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