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Firewall Basics Part III: The Pros and Cons of Firewall Methods

written by: •edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 5/5/2010

Users should also determine their firewall needs, based on how they use their computers.

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    Users should also determine their firewall needs, based on how they use their computers. The biggest downside to software firewalls is that these only protect the one machine that the application is installed on, so networks with multiple computers need to buy, install and configure the software firewalls for each machine. And each machine needs to be configured to allow the sharing of data, which can be a lot to manage. If this isn’t properly configured, the computers could block one another, and make the sharing of any data almost impossible, negating the reason for setting up a network in the first place!

    The greatest benefit of a software firewall on a mobile PC is that you don’t have to be worry about being protected when you take the machine on the go. With a desktop firewall your PC is protected, even when it is used on a different network. This is good for those who travel, but there can be issues that the firewall – meant to protect the data inside – could also make it hard to access outside networks. For those without skills in dealing with such things this can be a rather trying experience.

    For a home or small office with desktop system a hardware firewall with the router is can also be used. And the built-in firewalls with Windows are good for a single computer or a home network, but this may lack some of the features of standalone software programs, which allow for greater customization in authorizing access for applications and outside PCs.

    A firewall’s purpose is to protect the data within the computer, so users should probably figure out they use their computers and adapt a firewall solution that makes the most sense. Of course the bottom line is that a connected computer may be at risk, and a firewall, whether hardware or software, should be the first line of defense.