Person working at home computer

When discussing network security, something that comes up quite often is firewalls. Firewalls provide much protection so that your computer is not vulnerable to unwarranted and malicious attacks. As it relates to our precious data, we will do everything we can do to protect it. Regardless of your awareness of the threats, no one is impervious to these various forms of cyber threats. RHYNO Networks is a big advocate for using firewalls at home, to protect your valuable assets and information. Today, we’d like to discuss the importance of a firewall for your home network and how you should go about choosing a firewall.

What Is A Firewall?

If you are unfamiliar with the terminology, allow us to clarify. Firewalls defend against a class of network-based threats that are constantly trying to attack your computer. Think of a firewall as a shield to the outside network. All traffic that tries to enter into the network is first scanned by the firewall, filtering out any packets that are not allowed. It knows which packets to throw out based on rules that are set up beforehand. The two types of firewalls are hardware firewalls and software firewalls. Hardware firewalls or routers are some of the most cost-effective firewalls you can have. The equipment is connected to the computer and internet, and it routes data between your computers and the internet. Routers watch for connections that are initiated by your computer reaching out to resources on the internet. It keeps track of the made connections so when a response comes back, it’s aware of which machines get the data.

Conversely, software firewalls are programs your computer runs. They operate in close proximity to your network interface as much as possible, and monitor all network traffic. Much like a router, a software firewall prevents your system from dealing with malicious traffic (either inbound or outbound traffic, in some cases). Windows 10 has a built-in software firewall that is turned on by default.

What Are The Benefits Of A Hardware Firewall?

Hardware firewalls will add another layer of security to keep your systems safe from hackers. Some of the best firewalls at home offer the following benefits:

  • Customization: Users can customize the access ports to set and adjust permissions
  • VPN Ability: Many hardware firewalls allow you to use a VPN. A VPN creates anonymity on your end by encrypting data and connecting to a variety of servers. Apart from keeping your online ventures secure, you can also view content that you might not have access to in another country.

Choosing And Setting Up the Best Home Firewalls

Now that we have imparted some wisdom on the fundamentals, it’s come time to make a decision. There isn’t a right or wrong way to go about this per se, but you should be cognizant of what makes the most sense when using firewalls at home. If you already have a router in your home, you’ve already met the minimum requirement for protecting your data and its accompanying assets. While most will advocate for almost exclusively using hardware firewalls, software firewalls, as we mentioned earlier, still serve a significant purpose, and there is no harm in using both. 

For example, software firewalls can act as one solution when you can’t trust other computers on your local network. If you have small children at home and can’t trust their ability to keep their computers safe while surfing the web, you can easily enable the software firewall on the computer. If you are running a current version of windows, the firewall is probably already on, and it’s fine to leave it on all the time, even if you are behind a router. It has little impact and saves you from remembering to turn it on/off manually.

Some of the most popular hardware firewalls for homes include the following:

  • Bitdefender BOX
  • pFSense SG-2100

Additionally, here is a list of software firewalls that you can utilize at home, in addition to the ones that are already on your computer:

  • Lifelock
  • ZoneAlarm
  • Comodo Firewall
  • TinyWall
  • Netdefender
  • Glasswire
  • AVS Firewall
  • OpenDNS Firewall

Learning More About The Best Home Firewalls For Your Home Network

As a team of professional IT consultants, RHYNO Networks will always go above and beyond in educating our clients on the fundamentals of privacy and security. If you have any additional questions about setting up firewalls at home, contact us today for professional assistance.