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Traditional networks evolved within a organization, as the computing needs of the business grew. In their infancy there was little need for the networks to communicate with the outside world, hence security systems were poor.

As the internet evolved, so did security issues. Networks were found to being lacking in adequate protection.

Traditional networks both on Unix and Windows NT platforms used little password control, in fact within the Unix environment it was quite possible for network id's and passwords to be sent as plain text across the network, anyone who had basic Unix knowledge could quite possibly access, network passwords for other users.

When the Internet was first launched there was often one network developed for on-line use, with another for internal use.

Modern trends has resulted in a culmination of networking needs, internal users want both internal and external network capabilities. This need has resulted in the increased use of firewall software.

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In essence firewall software is like network monitoring software, but it is much more as is allows and prevents users with certain access rights. 

There are two types of firewall software:

(1) Network IP packet level - This is the more simpler type of software to operate, it operates on simple accept/reject principle.

(2) Application Proxy - Operates at application and as such will be more specific to one application. In general this type of firewall will more space and extra cost. The software does offer more control as requires the use of passwords and id's.

There are numerous firewall software titles available in the commercial marketplace. The common elements of firewall software consist of:

  • Configuration Tools - Through a GUI Interface.

  • Monitoring and logging tools.

  • Content Filtering - Designed to analyze company emails for any viruses.

For a business to be protected to the highest capability it needs to have both firewall and encryption software in place. The firewall software would prevent/allow access, whilst the encryption software codes and decodes messages sent both internally and across the internet.

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