Most computer users these days understand the concept of a firewall as a program that stands between the protected system or systems and the outside world. It controls both what data can get into a network and what software applications can reach out to connect to data on the outside. Today’s enhanced firewalls are actually a great deal more sophisticated than early models of such a system and are more properly referred to as UTMs, unified threat management systems. These kinds of firewalls are referred to as belonging to the next generation of network security.
When it comes to modern firewalls, businesses need to consider a variety of factors since each system requires some level of trade-off to be made in order to obtain its full benefit. Many advanced firewalls are actually based on hardware as well as software now, and most combine a vast array of different functions designed to enhance data security. Some even combine anti-virus programs into a unified gateway rather than relying on networks to have separate virus protection in place.
Performance vs. Resource Use
Many of the new firewalls are implemented as part of a managed services approach to IT solutions. This is useful because the more tasks a firewall simultaneously takes on, the more processing cycles it will need to consume, especially during peak usage times. This resource use might slow down a traditional system, but in a managed services model, computing resources can be allocated dynamically so that the entire system is more efficient and firewalls will have more access to the resources they need.