What Are the Disadvantages of a Firewall?

Firewalls are important in preventing intrusion into a company’s network, but they also have downsides. Most notably, firewalls can diminish the performance of a network. Data packets entering and leaving the network have to pass through the firewall for screening; this process ultimately affects network speed. Furthermore, software firewalls impose additional strain on the computing resources of the network or individual computers.

Firewalls are divided into two major categories: hardware and software firewalls. These are further divided into several types, but their basic role remains the same, which is to screen data packets for potential threats. Since firewalls are designed to restrict access to a network, there is a chance that legitimate users might be blocked. Blocking legitimate employees from accessing the company network might lead to reduced productivity.

Firewalls are typically implemented with strict policies. If this is the case, some employees may seek backdoor methods to access the network. In addition, firewalls offer no protection against internal sabotage where unethical employees may take advantage of security loopholes in the network. Firewalls are a costly investment especially for smaller companies. Hardware firewalls are typically more expensive and usually need permanent technical staff to install, maintain and oversee their operation.