There are two categories of firewalls: software-based and hardware-based. A software-based firewall, such as the Windows Firewall included with Vista, is more designed to protect a single computer connected to the Internet. A hardware-based firewall, on the other hand, is geared towards protecting an entire network of computers that are connected to the Internet. The best security though, is achieved when both options are used in combination.
Once a firewall solution is in place, people often think that they are safe from al types of attacks. This is not the case at all. Even when you implement a combination of firewalls, the solution still has limitations.
- A firewall does not protect you from attacks and threats from within your network. As hard as it may be to believe, many attacks that do occur, are the result of a malicious user on your own network.
- A firewall provides limited protection against viruses. To protect your network from virus attacks, computers must also be running anti-virus software.
- A firewall does not protect a network from employee error and carelessness. Unfortunately, even the smallest error inadvertently made by an employee can wreak havoc on your network. Only policies, procedures, guidelines, and employee training can prevent these types of issues.
- Finally, there are attacks that can avoid a firewall – such as a hack using a dial-up account. Unfortunately, in these situation, a firewall provides no protection.