Wall of Fire (Should I be Using Firewalls?)

I'm an not a fan of firewalls. In fact, I've run most of my systems without one for over a decade. Eventually, I did start to wonder if running a firewall might be worth the hassle of its upkeep; after all many networks run them by default, and your friends and family probably have a firewall running without them even knowing. In trying to decide whether I should do a firewall myself, I got a pros and cons list going and I thought I'd share it here. So here we go.

Firewall Pros

a. Filtering outbound traffic. As we discussed in the fighting spam article, filtering outbound traffic is great way to reduce server strain and vulnerabilities by preventing spamware from sending spam from your servers. 

b. Application level firewalls, usually run on individual PCs, can protect against vulnerabilities found in applications.

c. You can use a firewall to wholesale block specific IP addresses or address ranges as well as ports, instead of having to check every application and PC toa make sure they're not listening on those ports or addresses.

d. If your users are not security-minded (shame them), firewall can provide a bit of insurance for your network by offering another line of defense.

e. Firewalls keep logs which can reveal insecurities in the network. You can cehck to see if users or clients are repeatedly trying to connect to the same port. Without a firewall, you'd have to go through each system log individually and cross reference them to see something like a vertical scan happening.

d. Some are bundled in anti-virus and anti-spam packages, which provide a pretty comprehensive defensive line.

e. Firewall can protect computers independant of local OS, software and configurations.

Well, so far so good. In summary, a firewall can be combined with other security measures to monitor and protect a network, while mitigating some issues like having inatentive users and differing system configurations.

The big hurdle here is the fact that firewalls aren't free. So let's look at what we'll have to put up with.

Firewall cons

a. Price. Firewalls generally cos a subscribtion or a yearly fee. Better firewalls that can cover an entire network, and especially ones tied together with anti-virus software will drive that price up.

b. Users tend to take firewalls for granted, and when running one will often forget to maintain secure behavior as well as forgetting to update it regularly and monitor for unwanted processes. This can lead to a bloated firewall process that ends up not doing the job you put it there to do.

c. Another failure point. If the firewall fails, that's another program to have to reconfigure and deal with.

d. If you have a public facing system (like an online store or service), firewalls don't add anything since you'll be accepting all connection attempts.

e. Since firewalls can't see through encrypted packets, they won't have a function in a public system.

f. Firewalls are generally updated on slower intervals compared to OS's and other applications. Firewall devs will often just leave a product unpatched for a year or longer at a time. That's on top of the fact that updating firewalls often leads to network downtime, depending on the size of the network.

g. Finally, many firewalls are buggy, unintuitive and sap system resources. Picking a reliable one is hard, and even the best options tend to be problematic.

Having this list, it's still pretty tough to make a decision. The costs and hassle for a firewall is pretty high, so if you're going to run it on your network you'd have to make sure it's worth it. So when is it worth it? Likely, the larger your network, the more user connecting to it internally, and the fewer of them that you know personally, the more likely you should run a firewall. It just helps with scalability. Configuring or troubleshooting individual connections is time consuming and difficult. So it feels like a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" kind of situation. Your mileage will definitely vary.

Hopefully this has been helpful for you! If you have any comments, feel free to post them below or find us on Twitter and Facebook!

-Until next time!



January 06 2021

Add or review comments

Please leave your comment

Existing comments

Comments 58

viagra man walmart without prescription pharmacist <a href="http://genqpviag.com/#">how much does viagra cost with out insurance</a> purchase viagra online canada [url=http://genqpviag.com/]bay viagra online from usa[/url] ’
viagra sale online near south bend <a href="http://llviabest.com/#">viagra substitute over the counter</a> viagra 50mg [url=http://llviabest.com/]viagra buy canada[/url] ’
buy viagra online without a prescription with overnight delivery <a href="http://hopeviagrin.com/ ">viagra</a> viagra australia website
pharmacy tech <a href="http://online21rxon.com/ ">get prescription online</a> drugs from canada with prescription
safeway pharmacy <a href="https://ssviagriia.com/ ">viagra vs levitra vs cialis reviews</a> canadian prescription drugstore
buy brand name cialis <a href="http://cialisvja.com/ ">walmart cialis</a> canadian pharmacy non rx cialis
overnight delivery of viagra <a href="http://viagerkr.com/ ">multiple orgasms viagra</a> buy dapoxetine viagra usa
canada pharma limited <a href="http://canadianpharmnorx.com/ ">online pharmacies in usa</a> Cialis Soft Tabs
mexican pharmacies <a href="http://xuypharmacyonline.com/">legitimate online pharmacies</a> Cialis Oral Jelly (Orange)
canadian pharmacies-24h <a href="http://happyrxpharmacy21.com/ ">viagra generic canadian pharmacy</a> top rated online canadian pharmacies
viagra 500mg <a href="http://lightvigra.com/ ">buy viagra without prescription</a> viagra sales
buy generic cialis canada <a href="https://llecialisjaw.com/ ">cialis buy cheap with master card </a> cialis generic alternative
cialis testosterone levels <a href="https://jecialisbn.com/ ">cialis generika in deutschen apotheken</a> viagra cialis cheap online
direct cash loans randfontein <a href="http://samcash21.com/ ">texas car title and payday loan san antonio tx</a> payday loans snohomish wa
viagra witout prescription <a href="http://viagriyvik.com/ ">http://viagriyvik.com/ </a> how much does viagra cost?
payday loans without bank account in baton rouge <a href="http://rirocash.com/ ">check into cash tax refund loan</a> approved cash advance lapeer
testosterone vs cialis <a href="http://ljcialishe.com/ ">cialis generic nz</a> cialis and dermatitis
do you save money consolidating student loans <a href="http://ascashapply.com/ ">fast cash loans round rock</a> how do you get a cash advance from chase credit card
where to order generic viagra <a href="https://vigedon.com/ ">sildenafil citrate buy </a> viagra cost in india
viagra bottle <a href="http://viagraonlinejc.com/ ">viagra without a prescrip </a> is viagra over the counter
[url=http://essaywriteris.com/]order essay online cheap[/url] great essay writers <a href="http://essaywriteris.com/ ">write my essay students</a> best cheap essay
[url=https://ljcialishe.com/]free cialis coupon[/url] [url=https://cialisvja.com/]cialis price per pill[/url] [url=https://viagraonlinejc.com/]buy viagra from canada[/url] [url=https://viagratx.com/]viagra woman[/url] [url=https://buycialisxz.com/]cialis expiration[/url]
[url=https://thesiswritingtob.com/]how do i write a thesis[/url] help with writing a thesis <a href="http://thesiswritingtob.com/ ">thesis proposal writing</a> thesis help online
[url=https://thesiswritingtob.com/]thesiswritingtob.com[/url] phd no thesis <a href="http://thesiswritingtob.com/ ">thesiswritingtob.com</a> doctoral thesis defense
antibacterial http://uspharmus.com/ prescription drugs from canada
price prescription drugs [url=http://onlinecanda21.com/ ]best canadian pharmacies[/url] kamagra oral jelly
viagra natural [url=http://gensitecil.com/ ]viagra side effects blood pressure[/url] buy generic viagra online usa
best way to take levitra http://uslevitraanna.com/ bayer levitra coupons
buying cialis online in australia https://cileve.com/ does cialis work
cialis con alimentos https://asciled.com/ buy generic cialis
tadalafil daily [url=https://boxtadafil.com/ ]cialis tadalafil uk[/url] what is tadalafil liquid
Zovirax [url=http://onlinecanda21.com/ ]Mentax[/url] prescription drug cost
cialis in malaysia [url=https://cialisee.com/ ]cialis 25mg canada[/url] get online cialis without prescription overnight
Artane https://xlnpharmacy.com/ most reliable canadian pharmacies
alcohol and viagra https://jokviagra.com/ buy viagra cheapest
generic cialis soft tabs [url=http://rcialisgl.com/ ]looking for cialis 60mg[/url] cialis without a prescription paypal
generic cialis cost http://ucialisdas.com/ generic cialis 10mg
Provera https://pharmacylo.com/ best online pet pharmacy
viagra street value [url=https://loxviagra.com/ ]viagra off patent[/url] viagra government funded
viagra dosage by weight https://jokviagra.com/ viagra 100mg price
Super P-Force http://xlnpharmacy.com/ canadian pharmacy 24h com safe
cialis dapoxetine overnight shipment https://rcialisgl.com/ cialis 20mg mailorder abilene
cialis generic https://ucialisdas.com/ cialis viagra mail order uk discrete billing
viagra ekg [url=https://llviagra.com/ ]which viagra for women[/url] te viagra natural
mail order and cialis [url=https://cialisee.com/ ]cialis online uk[/url] cialis pills
viagra,cialis india https://rcialisgl.com/ cialis black 800mg reviews
cialis discount pharmacy http://ucialisdas.com/ viagra and cialis
is cialis better than viagra https://loxviagra.com/ canada pharmacy viagra
generic canadian cialis https://cialisee.com/ online buy cialis
Forzest http://pharmacylo.com/ canadian pharmacy meds
canada cialis for sale [url=https://cialishav.com/ ]cialis and depoxitine[/url] buy cialis online in canada
accutane online canadian pharmacy [url=https://pharmacyhrn.com/ ]reputable canadian pharmacy site order prescriptions[/url] online pharmacy pain
cialis generic 20mg [url=https://ckacialis.com/ ]cialis from bc, no prescription[/url] cialis viagra cocktail
buy prescription drugs online without [url=https://cjepharmacy.com/ ]northwest pharmacy/com[/url] best rx pharmacy software
pastilla cialis [url=https://krocialis.com/ ]generic cialis 5mg[/url] how long for cialis to peak
cialis 2.5mg cost [url=https://cialishav.com/ ]cialis before and after[/url] cialis case study
online pharmacy c o d [url=https://cjepharmacy.com/ ]how to buy prescription drugs from canada[/url] my canadian pharmacy review
cialis black vs cialis [url=https://cialishav.com/ ]canadian pharmacy cialis reviews[/url] cialis online 365 pills