TeraGo Networks Presents: Back to Basics – What is a Firewall?

Typically, a firewall is one of those items that you don’t necessarily think of until something goes wrong. It’s always there in background, protecting your computer from viruses and other outside threats. The term “firewall” is actually an general term used to describe a specialized defence system for a computer network.

The term actually originated in construction, where specialized fire-prevention systems involve fire-resistant walls being placed strategically in buildings or automobiles to slow the speed at which a fire spreads. When using the term firewall in reference to computers, it describes the hardware and software that slows down the invasion of a computer system by blocking viruses and hackers.


A computer firewall can take hundreds of different shapes, from specialized software programs, to specialized physical hardware devices, to a combination of both. At the end of the day, it’s priority is to block unauthorized or unwanted traffic from getting into your computer system. The firewall is located at a network gateway, which is the point of access.

So how does it work? Basically, your firewall will examine each network packet to determine whether or not to forward it on to its destination. Some other screening methods used by firewalls include screening requests to make sure they come from an acceptable or previously identified domain name and IP address. Other features can include logging and reporting, automatic alarms, and a graphical user interface for controlling the firewall.

For business, having a reliable firewall in place can dramatically reduce the threats that can result in costly data loss, breaches, and down time. Many companies also have customer information on file, so it’s imperative to have the proper security measures in place. Losing private customer information is inexcusable, and would likely result in a domino effect of lost customers. Once they learn their information isn’t being properly protected, it’s unlikely your company will retain their business.

To learn more about why your company needs a firewall, click here.

Blog Author: Vanessa Hartung


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