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Hardware Firewall Vs Software Firewall: In-depth Guide πŸ›‘οΈ

hardware firewall vs software firewall

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hardware firewall vs software firewall
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Everything that we’re going to cover on hardware firewall vs software firewall will be much easier to understand if first, you learn the basics. To keep this guide as comprehensive as possible, I’ll use my favorite form of analogy; movie analogy.

What Is A Firewall?

Do you remember the Night’s Watch from Game of Thrones? They were responsible for monitoring everyone who wanted to pass through the seven kingdoms. That’s basically what a firewall does, but instead of guarding the gateway to the seven kingdoms, it guards and monitors every bit of network traffic. If you have data centers or servers, read through the entire blog to find out which firewall you need the most; hardware vs software firewall.
However, if you are just starting your business and haven’t decided whether to invest in a data center or server, check out this detailed guide to learn everything about data centers and server rooms.

READ
Data Center vs. Server Room: Key Differences, Benefits and Risks

There are many types of firewalls that protect users regarding their specific functionality. Also, as with all security gatekeepers, there is always another powerful security tool that can neutralize any cyberattacks within seconds; we will mention one by the end.

What Is Hardware Firewall?

A hardware firewall is a piece of physical equipment that monitors network traffic to protect users’ computers, data centers, or servers. Think of hardware firewalls as configurable filters or barriers that you plug into your router before connecting to the Internet.
You might wonder if people still use hardware firewalls now that everything is digital. The answer is yes. Hardware firewalls block unauthorized physical access and guarantee that no suspicious data enters your network. So, as long as physical hardware exists, hardware firewalls are necessary too.

What Is Software Firewall?

Imagine that your hardware firewall (your Night’s watch) has fallen; what will happen? You don’t need to worry as long as you have a second army of guards waiting to step in; a software firewall.
A software firewall is a virtual program or application you can install on your device or server to protect your data. You can configure your software firewall based on your specific needs to protect you against suspicious websites or platforms.

Hardware Firewall Vs Software Firewall; How Do They Work?

A hardware firewall is configured to filter network packets (or data units). All network traffic passes through hardware firewalls for a security checkup and based on their base of origin, they either get blocked or permitted to enter the network.
Regarding hardware vs software firewall functionality, a software firewall is more flexible. You can assign multiple workstations, each with different access levels. Since a software firewall lives within your system, it can protect you against malicious or suspicious programs that try to access your network.
All network and file sharing requests pass through a software firewall so it can prevent unauthorized access to your device.

Hardware Firewall Vs Software Firewall; Ultimate Comparison

The nature of hardware vs software firewall is practically the same; however, they have slight differences that need to be mentioned so you can decide which is the best fit for you.

  • One key difference between hardware and software firewall is their implementation. A hardware firewall is a device that protects your entire network. In contrast, a software firewall is only useful once installed on every one of your systems that are on your network portal.
  • Hardware firewalls have their own operating system, which means they won’t use your server’s resources, so performance is not affected. Besides, if your servers get infected by malicious files, your hardware firewall will remain out of reach.
  • You can connect multiple devices to one hardware firewall, and they will all be protected over the entire network. Moreover, you can implement security updates and configuration settings for all components connected to the hardware firewall simultaneously.

The hardware firewall vs software firewall is a challenging debate; how about we start solving it by comparing them based on these factors?

Firewall Security Speed Cost Installation Performance Configuration Flexibility Blocking
Hardware Firewall πŸ›‘οΈ πŸ›‘οΈ πŸ›‘οΈ πŸ›‘οΈ
Software Firewall πŸ›‘οΈ πŸ›‘οΈ πŸ›‘οΈ πŸ›‘οΈ

Investing in a hardware firewall might seem expensive at first, but given its benefits, it’s best to consider it.

Hardware Firewall Vs Software Firewall; Which One Is Essential for Businesses?

Given the nature of your work, investing in both is the smartest move. However, buying a hardware firewall is a must if you handle sensitive information like medical backgrounds, financial data, trade secrets, acquisition plans, and customer information. Besides, a hardware firewall monitors your network traffic 24/7 for a one-time cost; no ongoing subscription fees as software firewalls demand.

Which Is Cheaper?

One key difference between hardware and software firewall that tips the scale in favor of software firewalls is their cost. A software firewall is more affordable but keep in mind that each system needs to have its own software firewall.
So if you have two or three devices at home, a software firewall is the budget-friendly choice. But if you run a company with over 20 people, investing in a hardware firewall is a better idea.

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Hardware Vs Software Firewall; Top 10 Choices for Your Home

Remote working is the new norm, and you expose your data to hackers or cyber criminals every time you go online. Anti-malware and antivirus solutions can protect you to some degree, but any security gaps, even for a second, can cause your system irreparable damage.
It would be best if you had a robust firewall guarding your 24/7, protecting your passwords, bank details, addresses, emails, medical files, legal documents, etc. Since you probably have one device at home, you can use a software firewall, an affordable and reliable choice of online protection.

Firewall VPN Supported OS Wireless Integration Unique Feature Price Range
Ubiquiti Unifi Security gateway (USG) βœ… Windows-Linux-mac βœ… Unifi Controller: GUI +$139
Protectli Vault βœ… Windows-Linux βœ… Fan-less design +$259
Firewalla Red βœ… Windows-Linux-mac βœ… Family Time +$139.99
SonicWall Soho βœ… Windows-Linux-mac βœ… DPI SSL and SSL inspection +$475
CUJO AI βœ… Windows-Linux-mac βœ… Digital Life Protection Platform +$39.99
Anonabox Pro βœ… Windows-Linux-mac βœ… Tor Client: Web privacy +$79.99
Netgear ProSAFE FVS336G βœ… Windows-Linux-mac βœ… QoS: prioritize traffic +$287
Bitdefender Box 2 βœ… Windows-Linux-mac βœ… Supports Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant +$179.99
Zyxel USG20 βœ… Windows- mac βœ… Site-to-site IPsec VPN +$569.99
Trend Micro ❌ Windows-Linux-mac βœ… Deep packet inspection +$109.95

Note the difference between hardware and software firewall; a hardware firewall shields you from all cyberattacks and cannot be penetrated or disabled by them, whereas a software firewall can. So if you have enough budget, check out the following section: top examples of hardware firewalls.

Hardware Vs Software Firewall; Top 10 Choices in 2022

This table compares the best examples of hardware firewalls; some are pocket-friendly and others premium. Choose one that works best for you.

Hardware Firewall Vulnerability Assessment Phishing & Fraud prevention VPN Parental Controls SPU processors Price Range
Bitdefender BOX βœ… βœ… βœ… βœ… ❌ +$199
Cisco Firepower βœ… βœ… βœ… βœ… ❌ +$5000
CUJO AI ❌ βœ… βœ… βœ… ❌ +$90
Fortinet Cisco FirepowerFortiGate βœ… βœ… βœ… βœ… βœ… +$700
Netgear Armor βœ… βœ… βœ… βœ… ❌ +$40
WatchGuard Firebox βœ… ❌ βœ… βœ… ❌ +$500
PaloAltoNetworks βœ… βœ… βœ… ❌ ❌ +$175
Netgate pfSense βœ… βœ… βœ… βœ… ❌ +$170
SonicWall βœ… βœ… βœ… βœ… ❌ +$500
Sophos XG βœ… βœ… βœ… βœ… ❌ +$249

We recommend you visit the websites of these examples of hardware firewalls to check out every product and its features carefully. Also, it would be most helpful to contact their support team for a detailed review.

READ
6 Best Firewalls for Windows 10 for 2022🚨

Here’s a list of the top 10 software firewalls on the market:

Software Firewall Intrusion Prevention Cloud threat detection Virtual environment support Supported OS Price Range
Avast Premium Security βœ… βœ… ❌ Windows-Mac +$4.19
Bitdefender Total Security βœ… βœ… ❌ Windows-Mac +$39.98
Norton 360 Premium βœ… ❌ ❌ Windows-Mac +$129.99
ZoneAlarm βœ… βœ… βœ… Windows Free
Webroot AntiVirus βœ… βœ… βœ… Windows-Mac +$39.99
Panda Dome Essential βœ… βœ… ❌ Windows-Mac $58.99
Comodo βœ… βœ… βœ… Windows-Mac $29.99
GlassWire βœ… ❌ ❌ Windows $99
Check Point βœ… βœ… βœ… Windows +$499
TinyWall ❌ ❌ βœ… Windows Free

Side note:
Virtual environments are unique and fun tools to enhance data security; many major corporations are using them right now. Here is an excellent source to help you decide whether you should invest in them or not:

READ
Virtual Machine (VM): Why and When Do You Need One?

Cloudzy VPS; Ultimate Solution to Bulletproof Your Firewall

You cannot conclude the hardware firewall vs software firewall dilemma without considering DDoS attacks. Although the best hardware or software firewalls can prevent many cyber attacks, they are powerless against DDoS attacks.
We understand that you might be on a tight budget and can’t afford to spend money on another network protection tool. Don’t worry; we have the solution.
Instead of hardware or software firewalls, invest your money in reliable and robust DDoS-protected VPS that can shield your network traffic 24/7. Cloudzy VPS solutions are the only security tool you need to protect your systems against viruses, malware, and spying eyes.
The best part is that all VPS services at Cloudzy are pocket-friendly, so you can spend the extra money growing your business. We’re the best fit even if you just want high-level protection on your home devices. Think of our DDoS-protected VPS solutions as the unbreakable locks your servers will ever need.

FAQ

Hardware firewall vs software firewall; which is better?

Besides its maintenance costs, a hardware firewall is the better choice. You invest in one powerful device that simultaneously protects all your hardware over your whole network.

Hardware vs software firewall; do I need both?

It depends. If you have many servers and data centers at different locations and handle sensitive or classified data, having both firewalls ensures 100% security and 0% vulnerability.

Which examples of hardware firewalls offer the best security tools?

BitdefenderBOX and Cisco Firepower are great options. The best thing about BitdefenderBOX is that it protects an unlimited number of devices, including printers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles, smart thermostats, smart fridges, etc.

What is the most important difference between hardware and software firewall?

A hardware firewall protects all devices over a whole network simultaneously, whereas a software firewall protects one system at a time.

Hardware vs software firewall; which is more user-friendly?

A software firewall is more user-friendly because you can access it anytime and make the necessary adjustments regarding access levels, zones and IP addresses, web browsing, etc.

Which examples of hardware firewalls are best for small businesses?

SonicWall and WatchGuard Firebox are excellent hardware firewall options for small-medium-sized businesses.

Paulina brings life to each word, and her ultimate goal is to give the audience precisely what they seek. She is an expert in shaping words in the best apprehensive form possible. Don't be surprised if she answers your un-asked questions as well. Paulina is all about over-delivering.

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