How have network firewalls evolved?

Firewalls have become ubiquitous across the enterprise IT landscape because of their proven
ability to stop bad traffic from entering corporate networks and protect a company’s
most valuable assets. So how have firewalls evolved over the years and what are the latest trends in firewall security? Initially, firewalls were simple devices
that inspected each piece of traffic as it entered a corporate network and either allowed
it or blocked it. Over the years firewalls have advanced to
become much smarter. They understand who each user is on the network and can grant different policies for
various types of users. In a school, for example, students may not
be allowed to access social media sites, but teachers can. The early 2000s saw the advent of next generation
firewalls. Compared to previous firewalls, these devices
pack in many more features, including deep packet inspection, anti-virus, intrusion prevention, SSL inspection and sandboxing, which quarantines and tests questionable traffic to determine what impact it will have on the network before allowing or blocking it. Firewalls are just one important part of a
comprehensive network security architecture. While firewalls have advanced to become powerful
tools for stopping a wide variety of nefarious traffic, the best network security defense
includes an educated workforce that does not fall for phishing attacks and visiting malicious sites.


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