Return to blog

Safety & Security

Different types of firewalls needed for effective cybersecurity

Two IT employees looking at a device while working on firewall security

Firewalls are a standard component of all consumer and enterprise networks. These security systems monitor, filter, and route incoming and outgoing data traffic based on predetermined security rules to filter out malicious actors, prevent unauthorized access to networks and sensitive data, and control the flow of outgoing traffic.

However, not all firewalls are created equal. While it’s important to know that available options can differ in quality, it’s even more crucial to understand that there are many different types of firewalls used for enterprise networks. Understanding the different types, how they work, and what they offer will make it easier to determine which firewall is the best fit for your organization’s specific cybersecurity strategy.

In general, there are eight main types, each with their own strengths, requirements, and dependencies. These can be organized by:

  • Delivery method
  • Method of operation
  • Deployment architecture

Delivery method aligns with scale

While all firewalls ultimately serve the same purpose, they can be delivered through different methods: hardware, software, or the cloud.

  • Hardware firewalls are physical devices that are installed between your network and the external internet. They are typically placed at the network edge and can handle a large volume of network traffic. These firewalls are often used by large organizations and are the first line of defense against cyberattacks.
  • Software firewalls are installed on individual devices, such as laptops or desktop computers. They use specific software to monitor and filter network traffic on a per-device basis. While they may lack the advanced features of hardware firewalls, they can be a cost-effective option for smaller businesses.
  • Cloud-based firewalls, also known as firewall-as-a-service (FWaaS), are offered by third-party providers and are hosted in the cloud. These firewalls support the scalability and flexibility of cloud-based solutions, making them a popular option for businesses of all sizes.
Unlock lightning-fast 5G internet almost anywhere

Method of operation affects granularity of control and security

Firewalls can also be classified based on how they analyze and filter network traffic.

  • Circuit-level gateways, also known as circuit gateways, operate at the session layer of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model. They monitor and filter incoming and outgoing traffic based on the security policies set by the organization. While they provide access control, they do not inspect the contents of data packets.
  • Packet-filtering firewalls, also called stateless firewalls, operate at the network layer of the OSI model. They filter network traffic based on IP addresses, port numbers, and protocol types. They are quick and efficient but cannot inspect network traffic at the application layer.
  • Stateful inspection firewalls, which are known as stateful firewalls, also operate at the network layer of the OSI model. However, they go a step further than stateless firewalls by inspecting the contents of data packets to ensure they belong to an existing, legitimate session. This adds an extra layer of security to traditional packet-filtering firewalls.
  • Proxy firewalls, also known as application-level gateways, operate at the application layer of the OSI model. They act as an intermediary between internal endpoints and external networks, filtering traffic and hiding the internal network from hackers. They also provide more detailed control of outgoing traffic.
  • Next-generation firewalls (NGFW) combine the functions of different types of firewalls, including stateful inspection, deep packet inspection (DPI), intrusion prevention systems (IPS), application-level inspection, and anti-malware and antivirus protection. This enables more thorough inspection of network traffic, as well as the ability to filter traffic based on application and user identity.

Deployment architecture affects access points and control detail

Firewalls can also be classified based on their architecture, or the way in which they are deployed within a network.

In a screened host architecture, a firewall is placed between the external network and a single, internal host. This provides a single point of access control for the internal network.

In a screened subnet architecture, a firewall is placed between the external network and a subnet of multiple internal hosts. This allows for more detailed control and support for larger internal networks.

In a dual-homed host architecture, a single device is configured with two network interfaces — one connected to the external network and one connected to the internal network. The firewall is then implemented within this device, providing more detailed control over incoming and outgoing traffic.

Inseego’s FWaaS provides centralized, scalable, comprehensive security

Inseego’s firewall-as-a-service (FWaaS) offering comes as a component of our 5G SD EDGE software, providing businesses with a flexible, scalable, and cost-effective cloud-based security solution. By moving firewall protection to the cloud, businesses can benefit from the inherent agility and scalability of cloud services, allowing them to easily adapt to changing business needs and scale their security infrastructure as their organization grows.

Inseego’s FWaaS solution centralizes security management, making it easier to enforce consistent security policies across all locations and devices. This centralized approach enhances visibility and control, allowing businesses to quickly identify and respond to security threats in real time.

Combined with 5G SD EDGE software, Inseego’s cloud-based firewall solution offers businesses a powerful and comprehensive security solution to protect networks, applications, and data from cyberthreats. With the flexibility, scalability, and centralized management capabilities of FWaaS, businesses can strengthen their security posture and reduce the risk of cybersecurity incidents.

Read more about the 5G SD EDGE solution here, and contact us to find out how Inseego can help your enterprise achieve your cybersecurity objectives.

Talk to our experts!

Discover how to securely connect remote employees and edge devices with your business network.