Comparison of Hardware and Software Firewall

What is a hardware firewall?
A hardware firewall is a physical device much like a server that filters the traffic going to a computer. While a user would normally plug a network cable directly into a computer or server, with a hardware firewall, the cable is plugged into the firewall first. The firewall sits between the external network and the server, providing an antivirus solution and a hard barrier against intrusions

Disadvantages of software firewall:-

  1. Its installed on a PC based OS, which makes it more vulnerable because you have to maintain that OS from patching perspective
  2. If an open source firewall is installed (such as IPCop), then its not supported. If commercial firewall is installed then goes costlier than hardware
  3. Its not as robust as hardware firewall, because it uses custom chip-set so that it works in high temperature situations, not prone to power supply fluctuations etc.
  4. It does not provide anti-malware or anti-virus protections for perimeter IPs
  5. Due to running on windows or linux OS, it makes itself vulnerable to attacks
  6. If open source firewall is used, then staff needs to be highly trained for that. This is because there is no company such as fortinet or sonicwall to support it which increases inherent support cost
  7. It lacks key denial of service features such as deep packet inspection and protection from flood attacks. The next step of upgrade is to hardware firewall only.
  8. It cannot be scaled if the network grows, which is easily possible in hardware firewall.

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