Routers and firewalls can be confusing. Anybody who wants to have a network with Internet connectivity will typically have at least one in place.
A router like the one you’d purchase at a big-box store is designed to serve the needs of home, not the needs of business. It’s designed to provide basic connectivity and share it with others. They tend to have limited configurations, and for most home users you really don’t need a sophisticated device.
A firewall goes a step farther, and is essentially a device that governs what kind of traffic comes into your network, often based on specific configurations or security features. They often come with some kind of ongoing service to provide updates to firmware, features, or security improvements.
Additionally, when connecting multiple locations to one another, firewalls often establish secure connections with encryption to make sure data sharing is private over the public Internet. They sometimes even have other features you might not normally associate with firewalls or routers.
But let’s keep this simple: For your home, you’ll want a simple device you can get at many retailers. There are many reasonably priced options. However, when it comes to a business or professional organization, the features, control, and advanced security of a firewall is essential. They are extremely important devices, and should be considered a part of your ongoing system life cycle planning.
What’s right for your organization may not be the same as another, and picking the right perimeter devices for you takes expertise and planning.
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