You might be familiar with the term “firewall” and what its basic function is, but have you considered buying a hardware firewall? If you are unfamiliar with a hardware firewall, you might not know how well they can protect your home network or why you should have one at all. This is what you need to know.

What is a Hardware Firewall?

Most routers or modems come with a built-in software firewall to protect your network from outside threats. A software firewall is an application that is installed or downloaded onto a device. A software firewall will manage threats from the inside, like when an email attachment has a virus attached to it. You might think that will this already in place, you should not need a hardware firewall as well, but that is not true.

A hardware firewall is a separate device that attaches to your modem or router. It stops malware in its tracks, completely blocking threats before they can get into the network. Having both a software and a hardware firewall in place will give you the highest level of protection.

How do they work?

A hardware firewall is situated outside of your server. When it has established a connection to your server, all of the traffic in and out of the server will pass through the firewall, going through an inspection process. This way, nothing can simply enter your network without going through a whole process.

Why you need one?

A hardware firewall does a few jobs that will help your network, including the following:

  • Controls traffic: Decides what should be coming into your network.
  • Follows rules: You can configure the firewall to follow whatever rules you set.
  • Run a VPN connection: A VPN encrypts the data coming in and out of your network for more security.

You might be thinking that you do not do much online that would require any level of security, but you really do need security. Even if you are just browsing, so many services that we use are online, from banking to shopping. Keeping your network locked down will keep out anyone who tries to breach it and steal your information. Malware bots and ransomware can cause a lot of trouble for anyone, including identify theft and loss of files or information. 

Even if you do not anticipate having any trouble in your network, trouble can easily find you.

What to Look for in a Hardware Firewall?

Once you have decided that a hardware firewall is a right choice for your network, you will need to find the right one. You should be looking for a recommended firewall for home rather than one for business since your needs will be different. 

There are many different levels of security and restrictions in firewalls and only you can determine what kind of security your network needs. When a home network is locked down too tightly, you might find that you have trouble browsing or streaming, so keep that in mind.

Some features to look for in a hardware firewall include:

  • Content filtering: What is it filtering out?
  • Parental controls: Can you lock down some devices to keep kids out?
  • Deep insight: How thorough is it looking?
  • Ease of use: Will it set up simply or cause you a headache?
  • VPN server: Does it have a VPN in place?
  • Packet filter: Does it check data packets entering or leaving the network?
  • Application gateway: Does it have gateway security mechanisms like Telnet or FTP?

The more of these features that you have, the more your network can be protected, but also the slower it probably will go. The amount of checkpoints information has to go through will cause the content to come in slowly as everything is scrutinized. For a home network, it is unlikely that you will need the highest amount of lockdown, which is often reserved for confidential information security, like HIPAA compliance.

Bottom Line

A hardware firewall can keep malware and cyber threats from entering your network, to begin with. There are various intensities of firewall protection, however, so while having one will keep you safe, it does not lock your network down completely if you are worried about download speeds.