What is a firewall: types, characteristics and which one should be chosen to protect the PC

The firewall or firewall, as they are called in Spanish, are one of the main elements to guarantee computer security, especially for companies, which seek to protect their continuity against unauthorized access.

This element is used to filter the incoming and outgoing connections of a network. This makes it possible to prevent cyberattacks from the Internet against company devices and, at the same time, only supports the connections allowed within the company, thus also protecting attacks from within the intranet.

However, there are currently different varieties of firewalls, each one with different characteristics, so it is not always easy to choose the best option for each organization, from SMEs to large companies.

The firewall traditional

Firewalls can be an element of software, as is the case of firewall that incorporate most operating systems, such as Windows 10, but can also be a specific hardware device.

According to experts, the main problem of the firewall traditional, which filter network traffic through rules, is that threats have evolved and using this model exclusively may not be enough on many occasions.

Therefore, manufacturers of cybersecurity solutions developed two new types of tools with more functionalities: UTM (Unified Threat Management) or unified threat management and NGFW (Next Generation firewalls) or new generation firewalls.


Currently, both tools are similar in terms of the functionalities they present. Among them are IPS, VPN, event log, monitoring, traffic filtering, application control, email security, DLP (Data Leak Prevention, or data leak prevention) or antivirus.

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However, both types of tools also have differences in protection capabilities and the devices they can cover.

In the case of UTM, this system concentrates all the security functionalities in a single device. The economic cost of a UTM is lower than that of a NGFW, although its processing capacity may be lower. UTMs can also be spread across multiple devices, thus improving their processing power.

For their part, firewall NGFW type are made up of different elements, which allows better processing capacity. In addition, when one of the services falls, the rest can continue to function normally. On the contrary, the acquisition of these devices and their licenses entails a higher cost than a UTM.

Which one should you choose

Thus, UTMs are intended for companies that have the capacity to invest in specific security elements, since they offer more functionalities than traditional firewalls. They are the solutions that companies that offer security services use for SMEs and medium-sized organizations.

NGFWs are solutions for organizations with a large volume of connections, such as data centers or companies that provide cloud-based solutions. This type of firewall It is capable of detecting and preventing attacks using security policies at the application level (level 7 of the OSI model).

For its part, for self-employed, micro-SMEs or SMEs whose economic capital is minimal, the traditional firewall that is integrated into the operating systems of the devices can be the solution that best suits your needs, since the routers they also typically offer customizable security settings, as recommended by computer security specialists.

Source: DPA

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