Stateful firewalls offer a more robust deterrent against cyberattacks. They can also channel data packets with deeper functionality and retain context based on network history. However, they are prone to man-in-the-middle attacks and require significant resources.
Thankfully, new-generation firewalls are improving on stateful inspection functions to provide enhanced frontline defense against attacks that can cause organizational damage, like data breaches resulting in lawsuits, brand tarnishing, service outages, and contract/privacy violations.
The cost is an essential factor when evaluating firewall options for your clients. Stateless firewalls are typically cheaper and simpler to manage, whereas stateful firewalls are more expensive but offer better performance and security.
The performance of your client’s network also plays a role in the type of firewall you choose. However, it is also essential to know the stateful vs stateless firewall. Discussing the expected growth of network traffic, number of concurrent connections, and bandwidth requirements can help you determine if stateful firewalls are appropriate.
Stateful firewalls analyze communication channels, information characteristics, and everything within data packets to identify patterns of behavior that can flag malicious activity. This granular control makes stateful firewalls ideal for larger organizations with a wide range of potential threats to consider and require greater visibility into incoming traffic.
On the other hand, smaller businesses can rely on stateless firewalls to protect them from common threats such as unauthorized file transfers, misconfigurations, etc. They can be a more cost-effective option for small and medium businesses since they don’t require a lot of upfront configuration. However, their lack of context monitoring can leave gaps in security and make them more prone to cyberattacks.
Stateful firewalls keep track of the current state of network connections, which helps them make better decisions about traffic. They also offer more robust security and can detect malicious attacks that target established relationships. However, stateful firewalls can be more complex and require more processing power than stateless firewalls.
Stateless firewalls filter network traffic based on individual packets without maintaining information about the state of a connection. They use separate boxes to determine whether the traffic should be allowed or denied based on predefined rules and policies. Stateless firewalls can be easier to set up and manage but provide less comprehensive protection.
In stateful firewalls, when a new packet arrives that matches the policy, the firewall checks to see if there is already an entry for that type of traffic in a state table. If it finds an existing entry, it uses that information to decide what to do with the new packet. For example, if the new packet is an ICMP packet with 4 bits controlling the connection state, the firewall will allow the package based on previous ICMP data.
Stateful firewalls can be more complex to deploy and manage because they require the firewall to keep a state table, which requires more memory and processing power than stateless firewalls. It also takes more time for stateful firewalls to respond to requests than stateless firewalls, which can cause lag and congestion in networks with high-traffic volumes.
If your clients have a smaller budget for network security, they may be better served with stateless firewalls. These are cheaper and can offer fast performance to keep up with traffic loads. They can also handle more straightforward approve/deny expectations for their networks because they don’t require a connection state to work.
However, these firewalls need intelligence to monitor all aspects of data packets. They may not see things like ICMP header information that contains connection status. Moreover, they’re susceptible to man-in-the-middle attacks, when cyberattacks intercept and change communication between two parties without either party realizing it.
A stateful firewall is more robust in terms of performance and security. Its ability to channel data packets based on context and state makes it more capable of protecting your clients’ networks against various threats. It can also retain a memory of previous behavior and protect against inevitable cyberattacks that stateless firewalls wouldn’t detect. However, these firewalls can be expensive as they consume more memory and processing power than others. This can make them vulnerable to DDoS attacks.
Stateful firewalls can identify unauthorized and suspicious traffic and protect against cyberattacks, including IP spoofing, port scanning, and man-in-the-middle attacks. They also provide extensive logging and a comprehensive threat assessment framework. However, they can be more resource-intensive than stateless solutions.
Stateless firewalls, on the other hand, can perform faster because they do not have to maintain connection states. They can quickly scan and filter each packet based on the header information. Moreover, they can detect malicious traffic that may look like legitimate scans commonly used in DDoS attacks.
However, a common pitfall of stateless firewalls is needing help seeing the entire traffic pattern and packets. They cannot inspect each box in context or differentiate between different application-level traffic types, such as HTTP, FTP, SSH, and VolP.
When choosing between stateful and stateless firewalls, MSPS must assess their client’s network infrastructure and data sensitivity. They should consider the networks’ size, complexity, geographic distribution, and the types of devices and applications installed. This will help them decide whether a stateful firewall is necessary or not. They should also evaluate their client’s budgets, performance requirements, and security needs to make the right choice for their organization.