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Internet Security & Use of Firewalls


An Internet firewall is a software program or group of programs that promises to guarantee secure linking between an organization's computer network and the Internet. Security has become one of the primary concerns when an organization connects its private network to the Internet. A 1995 study showed that 1290 network managers reported financial losses due to ineffective network security. Twenty percent of those respondents indicated that breaches in network security stemming from Internet connections were to blame. In addition, of the companies that indicated a crack in network security, losses were estimated to be above one million dollars (Lopez, 1996, 40).

Regardless of the business, an increasing number of users on private networks are demanding access to Internet services such as the World Wide Web, Internet mail, Telnet and File Transfer Protocol (FTP). In addition, corporations want to offer Web home pages and FTP servers for public access on the Internet. Network administrators have increasing concerns about the security of their networks when they expose their organization's private data and networking infrastructure to Internet crackers. To overcome these fears and provide the required level of protection, an organization needs the protection that firewall programming can provide (NEC's Internet..., 1996).

Most explanations of firewalls become quite complex with technical descriptions. To simplify this explanation, consider this apt analogy. Imagine a room where all of a company's deepest, darkest secrets are stored. The only entrance to the files is past a super-secretary, one who knows every language in the world, and one who also knows just who is authorized to enter the room. This secretary, because she is unique and one of a kind must never leave her station, keeping it posted 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That is, in a nutshell, the job of a fire...

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