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Firewall acts as a security guard that constantly monitors your traffic based on specific rules. It can help prevent cyber attacks that try to steal your information, attack or harm your devices, servers and networks. It is one of the most important cybersecurity tools to protect both small businesses and individuals from malicious attackers.

Firewalls are software or hardware-based programs that analyze data entering the network to decide whether it should be allowed through a network gate or not. They check the sender’s address, application the data is meant for, and its content to see if it meets predefined security standards. They also compare incoming data to existing security rules, and either open or close the network gate accordingly.

Many different companies offer firewall software and hardware, which may be operated in different ways. Usually, multiple vendors are deployed in an organization for added security layers. A centralized tool that manages these firewalls is necessary to perform security auditing, reporting, troubleshooting and configuration backups.

Ideally, firewall software should be updated regularly to ensure that the latest threats are addressed and that the firewall’s rules are optimized to provide the intended security protection. This includes discarding unnecessary rules, redundancies and duplicates that slow down the firewall performance, as well as eliminating error-prone phrasing in the rules that can lead to misinterpretation or omissions.

Lastly, user permission control is important to ensure that only authorized administrators can change firewall rules. Firewall logs must be monitored to detect any unauthorized changes and provide an audit trail for compliance.