Remote-Office Firewalls

    Date24 May 2001
    CategoryCryptography
    3073
    Posted ByAnthony Pell
    If you're supporting telecommuters or moving to broadband for remote small-office sites, you need a firewall to protect the network. You can't count on "security by obscurity" to protect you, nor can you lean on the old belief that your network . . . If you're supporting telecommuters or moving to broadband for remote small-office sites, you need a firewall to protect the network. You can't count on "security by obscurity" to protect you, nor can you lean on the old belief that your network is too small to be of interest. The data on your network may not be important to an attacker, but your network could be very useful for obscuring a hacker's tracks on the way to his or her final destination.

    As with all broadband devices, your firewall should support basic connectivity -- 10/100-Mbps ports, both client and server DHCP, local management, and NAT (network address translation). Other features, such as a built-in hub or switch and a wireless access point, are important, but only on a case-by-case basis. If your SOHO (small office/home office) firewall is protecting a mission-critical network, make sure you have out-of-band management, such as a serial port to which you can connect a modem or terminal server just in case you need to make emergency repairs.

    Let's clear the air about NAT and firewalls once and for all. A firewall controls access across a border point. That means you can allow some traffic to pass while denying other traffic. The rules used to allow and block traffic are better known as your security policy. With these rules, you can control access based on numerous fields in the data packets, like IP addresses, port numbers and application data.

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