What is a Firewall?

A firewall protects your computer from attacks by unauthorised users, either internally (from an organisation’s own users) or externally via the internet. It is also used to stop your staff accessing certain websites. The firewall is able to do this by inspecting packets of information as they leave or enter the network and then either lets the data through or stops it.

As a result, a firewall can filter information, i.e. information that is sent and received.

The word firewall comes from a comparison originally likened to prevent fires in a building or a ship by using metal walls that could not be burned down. As the fire reaches the firewall it would prevent further damage.

“Goodness gracious, great Firewalls of Fire” – although that’s not quite how the song went unless of course you are an IT manager at the Xmas bash having had one drink too many! Firewall technology is how it sounds; it’s about putting a firewall round your computer systems to protect you from outside threats who may wish to access your network. Traditional vendors of this technology include: Symantec, Cisco, AVG, Kaspersky, Websense, SmoothWall and SonicWall – there is something about the name wall here!