Firewall products are computer security systems that prevent fraudulent intrusion into computer networks. These products range from small software components to more complex network appliances that can track, monitor, and remove potential threats on a computer network. Most products run on computer server or desktop and provide a sophisticated monitoring tool of computer network traffic.
Before purchasing any firewall product, the consumer should determine how much security is needed. Basic firewall tools are available with most virus protection software, but these provide limited security for enterprise networks. Sophisticated products can cost several thousands of dollars and are typically used in large organizations.
A good firewall tool can monitor and log each message that is sent on the network. This provides auditing and control over the content that is being shared on a computer network. The firewall is the main tool that is used to prevent malicious viruses from entering a computer network.
The most basic firewall products include website blocking features. This allows the owner of the computer to prohibit specific websites from interacting with the home computer network. It provides basic coverage and protection against potential intruders and is relatively inexpensive and easy to install.
Advanced firewall products include individual-user management controls. This allows higher security features for specific users and applications on the network. Role-based security is typically available on enterprise firewall security products and include advanced logging and monitoring tools for each user on the network.
Several companies sell appliance-based firewall products. These special software components are built into network hardware appliances. An appliance firewall application is typically more expensive than a software version, but it provides more advanced granularity into the company's network traffic. It typically includes logging and monitoring features that can be stored on external machines for analysis purposes.
Network monitoring and advanced reporting are appealing features on sophisticated firewall products. These tools can track intrusion patterns and send appropriate alerts to security personal instantaneously. The reporting features of these products provide statistics on potential intruders and pattern analysis of how they are attempting to infiltrate the organization.
Companies should look for commercial software appliances that provide state-of-the-art monitoring and protection of enterprise level network traffic. The advanced firewall features include hardware redundancy and performance monitoring that is essential for large organizations.