Host-Based Firewalls – A Possible Nightmare for IT Pros

With increasing remote workforce process during Covid-19, clients are now more independent with their laptops and mobile phones that also being used for personal usage besides organizational usage. Not only workers, but also computers and data are now outside the organization and most of the protection layers such as firewall and IPS. Vulnerabilities and attacks continue to surface but remote users’ connection and VPN also create troubles for IT teams to patch  and protect the clients.

Host-based firewalls help security professionals in many subject. Firstly, it controls the incoming and outgoing traffic, so becomes a very critical defense layers. For example, security pros may want to block all inbound connection to the client host initiated from outside. This is a very basic protection on some kinds of malwares.

Some sensitive applications like Swift, should be isolated from the network in the organization. But sometimes it is not an effective solution to create vlans for a few PCs or servers. For the situations like that, host-based firewalls are true saviors. These sensitive PCs and servers can be isolated with host-based firewalls. Since most of the antivirus agents also includes host-based firewall feature, this solution becomes easier and more logical. 

Meanwhile, organizations should not make it a habit. In large organizations having thousands of PCs and servers, this isolations on host-based firewalls can easily turn into a nightmare, since hundreds of rules have to be written. If these rules are not followed properly, also with the circulation in the administration team, a possible mixed rules can harm PCs and network more than they protect. It is inevitable that every rule for each small groups makes the rule list more complex, and it becomes more possible to make a mistake while adding new rules.

So, even if host-based firewalls are important and valuable solutions, they should be used as needed, and should not be a regular solution for isolation situations. 

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