Hardware firewalls vs software firewalls: What you need to know

hardware firewalls

If you’ve used a computer for any amount of time, you probably know about firewalls, both hardware firewalls and software firewalls.

But what many people don’t always get is that the hardware firewall and the software firewall worth in tandem to provide two layers of protection – One at the edge of the network and one on each device on the network.

You can’t just have hardware firewalls or software firewalls – you need both.

But why? In a nutshell, having both protects you by giving you a backup or more reliable system. For example, if someone were to introduce an infected device into the network, thereby bypassing the hardware firewall (we use WatchGuard), individual devices would still have a level of protection with the software firewall (we use Bitdefender endpoint security). 

We like to use this analogy: You don’t leave your front door unlocked just because your valuables are locked up in your safe, nor do you leave your safe open just because you lock your front door.

Firewalls, whether they are hardware or software firewalls, should always be working together – becoming a network security system that protects your valuable data from viruses, hackers, malware and more.

A software firewall is computer software that runs on your computer or server and is tasked with protecting your computer from outside attacks. It can also check for any suspicious outgoing requests, as well.

A hardware firewall is a physical device, like a dedicated computer, that serves as a firewall. Generally, they are incorporated into your router.

A software firewall is generally easier to configure than a hardware firewall; a software firewall is generally more expensive – although the cost generally depends on the amount of endpoints being protected, since a separate license is required for each endpoint. 

In our experience, a hardware firewall tends to be more expensive for most of our clients based on the number of endpoints they are protecting with software firewall applications – even though it is a single piece of hardware and a single license.  When a client is protecting a few hundred endpoints with software firewall licenses, they need to have a more capable hardware firewall to handle all the traffic from those endpoints, so the hardware firewall hardware and license cost goes up, as well.

Typically — and this is true for Bitdefender, the endpoint security software we deploy for our clients — the software firewall is included with endpoint security protection, which also includes antimalware, antivirus, anti-phishing, and anti-ransomware protection.

AccuNet Inc.

If you have questions or concerns about your company’s hardware firewall or software firewall – or if you have one but not the other — we can help. Contact us today!

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