Introduction

Stateful and Stateless firewalls may sound familiar but in fact, both are way different from each other in terms of capability, functions, principles, etc.  There are different types of firewalls and the incoming and outgoing traffic follows the set of rules organizations have determined in these firewalls. The main concern of the users is to safeguard the important data and information going into the wrong hand. To secure that, they have the option to choose among the firewall which can suit or fulfill the requirements they are looking for. The firewall provides critical protection to the business and the information.

  1. Stateful Firewall
  2. How Stateful firewall works
  3. Stateful Firewall example
  4. Stateless Firewall
  5. How Stateless firewall works
  6. Stateless Firewall example
  7. Difference between the stateful and stateless firewall
  8. Advantages and disadvantages of a stateful firewall and a stateless firewall
  9. Choosing between Stateful firewall and Stateless firewall
  10. Firewall for small business
  11. Firewall for large establishments

1. Stateful Firewall

This firewall monitors the full state of active network connections. A stateful firewall tracks the state of network connections when it is filtering the packets. These firewalls can watch the traffic streams end to end. Stateful firewalls are aware of the communication path and can implement various IP security functions such as tunnels or encryptions. These firewalls are faster and perform better under heavier traffics and are better in identifying unauthorized or forged communication.

2. How Stateful firewall works

Stateful Firewall inspects packets and if the packets match with the rule in the firewall then it is allowed to go through. The packets which are approved by this firewall can travel freely in the network.

3. Stateful Firewall example

An example is the Transport Control Protocol(TCP) which saves the record of its connection by saving its port number, source, and destination, IP address, etc.

4. Stateless Firewall

This firewall watches the network traffic and is based on the source and the destination or other values. They have no data on the traffic patterns and they just restrict the pattern based on the destination or the source. It is also termed as the Access control list ( ACL). This firewall does not inspect the traffic. It just works according to the set of rule list and filter according to it.

5. How Stateless firewall works

Stateless firewalls monitor the incoming traffic packets and they allow or deny the packets into their network based on the source and the destination address or some other information for the example traffic type. They just monitor some basic information of the packets and restriction or permission depends upon that.

6. Stateless Firewall example

An example of a Stateless firewall is File Transfer Protocol (FTP).  This is the most common way of receiving the sending files between two computers.

7. Difference between the stateful and stateless firewall

Stateful firewalls are smarter and responsible to monitor and detecting traffic stream end to end and defend according to the traffic pattern and flow. It filters the packets based on the full context given to the network connection.   These firewalls are faster and work excellent under heavy traffic flow. They are also better at identifying forged or unauthorized communication.

On the other hand, a stateless firewall is basically an Access Control List ( ACLs) that contains the set of rules which allows or restricts the flow of traffic depending upon the source, IP address, destination, port number, network protocols, and some other related fields. This firewall doesn’t interfere in the traffic flow, they just go through the basic information about them and allowing or discard depends upon that. But there is a chance for the forged packets or attack techniques may fool these firewalls and may bypass them.   

8. Advantages and disadvantages of a stateful firewall and a stateless firewall

Stateful firewall advantages-

  • This firewall is smarter and faster in detecting forged or unauthorized communication. This can also make future filtering decisions on the cumulative of past and present findings.
  • Not many ports are required to open for effective communication in this firewall.
  • The balance between the proxy security and the packet filter performance is good.
  • Powerful memory.
  • Extensive logging capabilities.
  • Robust attack prevention.

Stateful firewall disadvantages-

  • The data transfer rate is slow.
  • The firewall must be updated with the latest available technologies else it may allow the hackers to compromise or take control of the firewall.
  • This firewall demand a high memory and processing power as in stateful firewall tables have to maintain and to pass the access list, logic is used.
  • Some of these firewalls may be tricked to allow or attract outside connections.

Stateless firewall advantages-

  • These firewalls are less complex.
  • Stateless firewalls are very simple to implement.
  • The delivery of performance is very fast.
  • Perform excellent under pressure and heavy traffic.
  • As compare to the stateful firewall, stateless firewalls are much cheaper. But these days you might see significant drops in the cost of a stateful firewall too.

Stateless firewall disadvantages-

  • The main disadvantage of this firewall is trust. This firewall assumes that the packet information can be trusted. They do not examine the entire packet but just check if the packets satisfy the existing set of security rules.
  • This firewall doesn’t monitor or inspect the traffic.
  • To provide and maximize the desired level of protection, these firewalls require some configurations.
  • The packet will pass the firewall if an attacker sends SYN/ACK as an initial packet in the network, the host will ignore it.

9. Choosing between Stateful firewall and Stateless firewall

There are varieties of firewalls present in the market nowadays and the question to choose totally depends upon the need and nature of the business you are in. The firewall provides the security of all kinds of businesses and sizes. It is up to you to decide what type of firewall suits you the most. Few questions you must keep in mind before selecting any one of these.

  • What kind of traffic flow you intend to monitor.
  • What operating system best suits your requirements.
  • How will this firewall fit into your network?
  • What suits best to your organization, an appliance, or a network solution.
  • And above all, you must know the reason why you want to implement a firewall.

10. Firewall for small business

Stateless firewalls are cheaper compare to the stateful firewall. A small business may not afford the cost of a stateful firewall. Small businesses can opt for a stateless firewall and keep their business running safely. The traffic volumes are lower in small businesses so is the threat. The fast-paced performance with the ability to perform better in heavier traffics of this firewall attracts small businesses. Few trusted people in a small office with normal and routine capabilities can easily go along with a stateless firewall.

11. Firewall for large establishments

Mainly Stateful firewalls provide security to large establishments as these are powerful and sophisticated. Because of the dynamic packets filtering, these firewalls are the favorite among the large establishments as they offer better security features. Stateful firewalls are powerful, monitor, and detect threats and eliminate them. Continue monitoring of traffic and providing levels of security layers attract large corporations to opt for this.

In the end, it is you who have to decide and choose. But it is necessary to opt for one of these if you want your business to be secured and run without any harm. By implementing the firewall you can easily avoid unnecessary headaches and loss which can occur due to unauthorized or forged communication which can harm you in many ways.

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