What is a firewall? Technically, a firewall definition could be that it’s the part of a system or network that blocks unauthorized access but permits outbound communications. Most importantly, firewalls are intended to protect key IT assets from security threats such as denial of service attacks or data theft. Firewalls come in many varieties. What makes one better than other will depend on numerous organization-specific factors.
When IT Central Station users were asked about what makes the best firewall, they described a number of factors that will help anyone make the right choice. Some security professionals want to know what is the best free firewall? IT Central Station reviews suggest that this is a question that should asked only after one has assessed many basic requirements about usability and features first.
Visibility is offered as one of the most critical aspects of an effective firewall. Users want global reports and traffic visibility as well as application visibility. IT Central Station members also want the firewall to provide visibility into specific users’ behaviors. Visibility as a key point of value cuts across different types of solutions, including Windows firewalls, firewall software and network firewalls.
Ease of use and simplicity of administration also rated as high priorities for firewall buyers. A firewall should be easy to manage and configure. Easy installation is essential, as is integration. According to IT Central Station reviewers, firewalls typically function in complex, heterogeneous security environments. In parallel, solid vendor support is important. Reviewers noted that the first line of response to an issue with a firewall is almost always an in-house technical resource. That resource needs to be trained easily. If training is too cumbersome or if the firewall admin is a hard-to-find hire, the department will suffer.
Firewall users list many specific functions as “must haves.” These include intrusion protection (IPS), VPN, high throughput, data loss prevention, SSL, IPSEC, application control and web content filtering. Some users want a firewall to easily integrate with an LDAP Server or Radius Server. Anti-spam is desirable, as is anti-virus and anti-spyware protection. Users emphasize the importance of IPv6 native support as well as traffic shaping and bandwidth control.