A firewall is a system that is designed as a measure of security. It prevents unauthorized access (usually Internet users) from accessing private networks. The system analyzes each message to determine if the information is safe. It will block specific websites or information if the system believes it is unsecure.

A firewall system will protect your information from hackers. As a medical practice looking to implement an EHR, security is one of your top concerns. Having a firewall installed on your computer is one of the basic and quickest ways to immediately protect your private network.

There are four different techniques that firewalls use:

  • Packet Filter.Technique that is based on user defined rules to accept or reject each packet that either enters or leaves your network. This is extremely effective, however, it is difficult to configure and susceptible to IP spoofing.
  • Application Gateway.Applies security mechanisms to specific application (e.g. FTP, Telnet servers). Although highly effective, it can impose performance degradation.
  • Circuit-level Gateway.Applies security mechanisms when a TCP or UDP connection is established. Packets can flow between the hosts without additional checking once there is connection.
  • Proxy Server.Intercepts ALL messages entering and leaving your network. This technique effectively hides the true network addresses.

Examples of Firewall Software include:

  • McAfee Personal Firewall Plus
  • Sentry Firewall
  • Windows Firewall