A network security appliance is a piece of hardware you buy that is already installed with the required software to do the job intended. You can buy a firewall appliance or download software to run on your own hardware. Learn the benefits and drawbacks to both, and get some guidance on best practices.
- [Host] Best Practices in any IT realm refer to what you should do. Best practices are always rained in by budgets and circumstances though so let's talk about real world best practices regarding your choice in a firewall. At a bare minimum, turn on the firewall you have already. If that is the ISP's device so be it but turn it on. Also, enable the built in firewall on your Mac OS, Windows, or Linux based computers. The software's free and sometimes as easy to enable as a single check box. If you plan to use the ISP's router or any network equipment you didn't personally configure please change the default administrator user name and password. These defaults are well known and documented for use by literally anyone who cares to try. Turn on the firewall feature in your ISP's router if present change the network name and the admin name and password and if you've enabled the wireless network feature on the ISP's equipment, change the Wi-Fi access password and SSID. Document everything in real time as you're making changes and find a way to document case sensitivity, spaces, and anything else that may not be clear in your documentation. It's time for you to move to a home security appliance if you have about $200 extra to spend at home on data security and you have about a day available to spend setting things up. You have to be familiar with technology at a minimum and be willing to troubleshoot with tech support on the phone if things don't go exactly the way they described in the documentation. This option is for the mom or dad who wants to protect the home front. These options have great tools, easy to read reporting, real time notifications, and things like parental controls and child screen time schedulers that make this a no brainer for this use case. If you're a home or small business network of down speed or perhaps 75 total devices with IP addresses. That would include the printers, video cameras, DVR's, and streaming music devices. Well an enterprise class router and firewall will better meet your needs. When planning which device to get remember that the firewall should be capable of handling slightly more speed up and down that you have from your internet connection. Going open source enables you to get an enterprise class device at a fraction of the price of the big firewall manufacturers. All of this comes at a cost measured in perception of risk while pfSense once such open source firewall platform may be potentially every bit as good as options from the top five network security vendors. Your success depends largely upon you learning and effectively deploying the device with the support of great documentation a friendly community of like minded administrators and solid tech support. If you're a large organization with the budget to handle it, a distributed firewall is for you period. Zero trust networking is a concept every network admin should learn. Zero trust assumes that no network is safe because any network can be compromised and will be so eventually. A distributed firewall can mitigate that threat so if you can afford the cost I recommend deploying a distributed firewall in conjunction with other compatible security measures like a traditional network firewall comprehensive intrusion prevention and detection at the edge of the network as well as artificial intelligence based network analysis. The greatest danger is not doing anything. Staying exposed. Make a choice on how to proceed. Act quickly and then update and maintain your network security once it's up and running it's only as good as the latest security patch you applied. So be sure updates are installed as soon as they're available.
- Designing your network
- Creating firewall schedules and rules
- Setting up a virtual IP
- Using aliases to group hosts
- Preventing local traffic from exiting to the internet
- Using Snort and other intrusion detection systems
- Prioritizing VoIP traffic
- Blocking access to specific websites
- Troubleshooting gaming performance issues
- Interpreting TCP flag definitions