Imagine a football game with no front lines; just a lot of running backs, receivers and tacklers. Without linemen of any kind, an NFL game would be a bloody mess — or at least a game of rugby.
Now imagine your enterprise network with no firewall; just routers and switches and security programs. Quarter back sacks aren’t pretty, are they?
Now, I may be overusing the football metaphor, but it is mid-winter and that means one thing: playoffs. And nobody makes the NFL post season without a strong frontline — either defensive or offensive, or both.
Regarding information technology security, the firewall is the primary, but not the only, line of defense against hackers and malicious code. And like NFL lines, firewalls have grown bigger and more complex, and the role of firewalls in network security is critical. In fact, the SANS Institute, in its ebook Twenty Critical Security Controls for Effective Cyber Defense, lists firewalls and their configurations not once, but twice.
Firewalls are a complex subject, whose testing and updating is best left to a dedicated IT department or a managed services provider, but here is a primer on network hardware firewalls.