Not all network-based firewalls are the same. There are many different types of network-based firewalls, one of which is stateful inspection. Also known as stateful firewalls, stateful inspection firewalls are designed to track the sessions of users while they are on a given network. What are the pros and cons of using a stateful inspection firewall exactly?
Pro: Ability to Filter Based on Connection State
Stateful inspection firewalls receive their namesake from their ability to filter traffic based on connection state. Like other network-based firewalls, they inspect the contents of session packets. Stateful inspection firewalls can still inspect the information within these packets, but they’ll also look at the connection state as specified in the packets.
Pro: Upgraded Version of Stateless Inspection Firewalls
If you’re currently using a stateless inspection firewall, you may want to switch to a stateful inspection firewall. They are the successor to their stateless counterparts. Stateless inspection firewalls can only inspect header information. As users attempt to connect to a network, they’ll send a packet. Stateless inspection firewalls will inspect the header information in these packets to determine whether to allow or prohibit a user from accessing the network.
Stateful inspection firewalls are essentially an upgraded version of stateless inspection firewalls. They can inspect the header information as well as the connection state. Therefore, many businesses have since switched from stateless to stateful inspection firewalls.
Pro: Doesn’t Require a Bunch of Open Ports
Stateful inspection firewalls don’t require a lot of open ports. Ports, of course, are endpoint connections. While it’s normal for networks to have some open ports, too many open ports can increase the risk of cyber attacks. Stateful inspection firewalls, though, can inspect and filter traffic without relying on a bunch of open ports.
Con: Difficult to Set Up and Configure
On the other hand, stateful inspection firewalls are somewhat difficult to set up and configure. Unless you’ve used them in the past, you may struggle to get a stateful inspection firewall up and running. Their complex nature makes them somewhat restrictive. This isn’t a serious disadvantage, but it’s still something you should consider when determining whether to use a stateful inspection firewall.
Con: High Resource Consumption
Another potential disadvantage of using a stateful inspection firewall is high resource consumption. All firewalls consume resources. Unless you’re using a cloud-based firewall, you’ll have to forfeit resources of your local machines to power the firewall. Stateful inspection firewalls, however, are known to consume a lot of resources. They require a lot of memory and Central Processing Unit (CPU) time.