A Guide to the Different Types of Firewall Architecture

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What are the different types of firewall architecture?

  1. Packet-Filtering Firewalls
  2. Proxy Firewalls
  3. Circuit-Level Gateways
  4. Stateful Inspection Firewalls
  5. Next-Generation Firewall

 

When we connect to the internet, we must remain careful about our activities. Although there are many antivirus software, program, and browser plugins that may provide comprehensive protection against malicious threats, firewalls shouldn’t also be discounted. The different types of firewall architecture can completely prevent the entry of many types of cybersecurity threats and phishing attacks.

 

What is a firewall?

Simply put, a firewall is a network security system that blocks unauthorized access either to or from a private network. Firewalls essentially act as a filter for both incoming and outgoing traffic. It permits the entry of traffic that has been deemed legitimate by the user and likewise does the opposite for illegitimate network communications.

Generally, there are three major types of firewalls: cloud, hardware, and software. This can be further divided depending on complexity. Read on to learn more.

 

Packet-Filtering Firewalls

Packet-filtering firewalls are the oldest kind of firewalls and are considered to be part of the first-generation when it comes to this type of network security. It was proposed more than 30 years ago by security expert Jeff Mogul and a few of his other colleagues during that time.

As the name suggests, a packet-filtering firewall filters packets or segments of data that forms part of the whole message that’s constantly being routed over the internet. These packets of data carry information such as IP addresses of both sender and receiver, the quantity of packets it has been divided into, as well as packet number.

The firewall then analyzes all of the pieces of data above at a certain “checkpoint” at a traffic router or network switch. Based on a set of user-defined protocols, or rules, the firewall can allow that packet to pass through or otherwise.

 

Proxy Firewalls

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Proxy firewalls are also oftentimes referred to as application-level gateways or cloud firewalls. As the name suggests, this type of firewall creates a virtual protective barrier around applications and platforms that are connected to the cloud. The protection ultimately takes place at the application level.

Think of this firewall as a proxy, or link between an application and a particular server. Like packet-filtering, packets found at the application level are first analyzed before a connection or service request has been permitted.

The application’s features likewise determine the rules or protocols that define whether the communication will be allowed. For example, when it comes to email applications, features such as header, size of the message, or content are analyzed by a proxy firewall. If no threat or malicious attack is detected in these contents, the firewall will allow email to be sent or received.

 

Circuit-level firewall

This next type of firewall generally operates at the fourth layer of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model. Circuit-level firewalls typically examine the session or layer where these packets are coming from. This layer is where protocols like the TCP and UDP are contained.

Circuit-level firewalls are generally used alongside other architecture types, such as application-gateway, proxy, or packet filtering, This is because they do not generally examine the contents of the packet — only its protocols.

 

Stateful Inspection Firewalls

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Also referred to as dynamic packet-filtering, state inspection firewalls are engineered to examine and analyze active traffic that’s taking place along a network. This kind of firewall is significantly better than packet-filtering because they analyze packet information and analyze the session itself.

Because this firewall is more complex, the transfer of information over a network, or between client and server is more protected against potential cybersecurity threats. They examine pockets and retain information gathered from them (IP address, source, ports, and the like). These pieces of information will then serve as the basis for firewall entry when it comes to monitoring future packets.

 

Next-Generation Firewall

Next-generation firewall is the most complex of the previous firewall types you’ve encountered on this list. It also provides the most comprehensive firewall solution because it can not only examine protocols and packet data, but it’s also capable of performing intrusion prevention actions.

If you’re looking for next-gen firewall protection to protect your organization’s network, Direc Business’ FortiGate Next-Generation Firewall is just the thing you need. It features SSL inspection, an intrusion prevention system, web filtering, and more. Through this advanced firewall solution, your employees can safely transmit and receive information on a network without endangering their devices.

 

Key Takeaway

Many types of firewall architecture are classified according to the complexity of their network security monitoring. As you have learned, the most basic of them all is the packet-filtering firewall, which has served the basis for how succeeding firewall types work.

It’s crucial for you and your organization to utilize a combination of these firewall types for maximum security. If you want to learn more about how you can have a stronger layer of protection for your business, get in touch with Direc Business. Click here to learn more!

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