August 30, 2006

Firewall Info

Having purchased and installed some new computer equipment (which I will no doubt gas on about shortly), I thought it might be time to revisit our networking architecture. That is, it’s fine to have someone set up a network for you, but it’s not the best situation to *not* really understand how it all works — and knowing how to run it is not the same as understanding it.

Unfortunately, as a designer/SEO/marketer, I hadn’t "had time" to do this earlier, so I’m facing it now. At any rate, I’ve pretty much located what I need, but thought I’d mention WindowsSecurity.com’s Comparing Firewall Features article. Plain English. Excellent.

7 Comments to "Firewall Info"

  1. Philip M. McDonnell says:

    I just wanted to add my 2 cents. I just bought a SonicWall TZ170 for a client and installed it just yesterday. It is a hardware based firewall which sits between your DSL/Cable modem and your switch/network. I love the feeling of a real piece of equipment seperating the outside world from my lan. If you use software based firewalls on your own computer then that means the invalid packet has already reached your machine. The hardware firewall doesn’t even allow the invalid packet onto your lan.

    I highly recommend the SonicWall line of firewalls as I have used them for years personally as well as for clients. They are not cheap for the home user but well worth the money spent.

    I used to host a couple servers off an SDSL line out of my house and had a SonicWall firewall setup on the network. I never had an issue with hacking or the like and I had a Win2K server running with no other protection beside the SonicWall and of course Virus software.

    I am sorry if I sound like a commercial for SonicWall, but I just wanted to give my honest opinion of a product I use and really can endorse.

    Regards,
    Phil

  2. DianeV says:

    Thanks, Phil. It’s good to hear personal recommendations for the SonicWall. :)

  3. DianeV says:

    Phil, I don’t know if you’re returning to this thread, but I wanted to ask whether you subscribed to SonicWall’s updates (or whatever they are). I’m not quite sure whether they’re necessary, or for what features.

  4. Philip M. McDonnell says:

    Hello DianeV,

    If you are talking about the subscription services I don’t use many of them since most are for PC’s and most of my clients are Macintosh users.

    I have used ‘Content Filter’ for a school and it did work very well to block objectionable content on websites.

    Most of these services require extra licensing fees. If you are using PC’s you can usually find better pricing for these services and deploy them from a server or locally per machine. Of course if you wanted to keep everything updated in one place then these services would be the way to go.

    If you have any other questions feel free to ask. I always check your blog so to answer your question YES I do return to this thread and all others on your site :)

    Regards,
    Phil

  5. DianeV says:

    Thanks, Phil. I’d seen the subscription services at NewEgg.com, but just wasn’t sure what they were for. <grin>

    Do I take it that, solely for use as a firewall, no extra services would be needed? Is there some type of update service?

  6. Philip M. McDonnell says:

    Yes you are right. For firewall use you do not need any extra services. When you setup the firewall you register it with SonicWall.com and they will email you if there is a firmware update available. You apply any of these updates through the web-browser management screen.

    SonicWall is a very easy to administer firewall and most times works right out of the box without doing much setup at all. They have built in wizards that help as well as advanced settings pages that allow you to adjust any setting if you know what you are doing.

    I usually set these up so I can remotely adminster them via VPN so I can change rules right from my office if needed. I also setup either Timbuktu/VNC/Remote Desktop or something so I can login remotely to troubleshoot any problems my clients are having. I install this remote software on the main server as well as all client machines, this way if I have to check on a certain machine and I only have one IP address available I can login to the server and then once there I can login to each machine on the lan from the server :)

    Of course if you have a VPN connection you don’t need to do any of this because you will already be on the local lan.

    Regards,
    Phil

  7. DianeV says:

    Thanks, Phil; that’s a terrific explanation.

    I take it you’re one of these network/server gurus. Nice. :)

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