Should Your Firewall Be On For A Private Network?

A firewall is the best possible protection you have against malicious individuals (hackers) and malware (software made to steal or damage your data or device). Sometimes they can be a bit of a pain to set up correctly, especially if you have to do it on multiple devices. So can you leave them off for devices connected to your private network?

A firewall should always be set up on a private or public network. This includes having a firewall setup on all the devices. This is because either for scenarios that are unintentional or intentional, a firewall is the only protection your device has. Due to it being configurable, there is no reason that it should not be set up on any network or device.

This article will briefly cover what a firewall is, what it does, and how it works, along with what a private network is. With a clear understanding of these elements, we will ultimately determine if all networks, including private or public, should have firewalls in place and on their connected devices.

What is a firewall, what is it used for?

A firewall is a computer system that is designed to prevent any and all unauthorized access from entering a private network (your computer).

It works by filtering the information that comes in from the internet, blocking the unwanted traffic (data), and filtering in the wanted data.

Hence we can say that a firewall’s purpose is to create a form of a safety barrier between a private network and the public internet.

A firewall exists because there will always be individuals (hackers) and malware that will be trying to get onto your system with the purpose of malicious intent. This can range from stealing your keystrokes and login information to halting your system entirely.

How does a firewall work?

A firewall works by filtering the incoming internet data, and it will use its rules to determine if that data is allowed to enter the network. These rules are also typically known as an access control list. These rules are customizable and can be determined and set by the network administrator.

The network administrator will decide what type of data can enter the network and what type of data will be allowed to exit the network. These principles are known as “allow” or “deny” permissions. For example, one instance where a firewall would be applicable is to block specific IP addresses from accessing the network. This means that any data trying to be sent from that particular IP address would not be allowed through the firewall.

How does a firewall make its rules?

Our example above dictated one rule that a firewall utilizes in order to keep a network safe. However, this is not the only rule that a firewall can create to keep malicious users and data from entering the network. Firewalls can create rules in accordance with;

  • IP addresses
  • Domain Names
  • Protocols
  • Programs
  • Ports
  • Keywords

Our example above dictated rules for IP addresses, but a firewall can allow and deny data based on any of these elements that we listed above, and it can have multiple rules, based on some, many, or all of these elements.

Does everyone need a firewall?

If using a piece of technology that connects to the public internet, everybody in the world should use and definitely needs a firewall. This is especially true for large corporations and organizations. Large companies and organizations have many devices and systems that access their private network, and if the entire network did not have a firewall, any number of people with malicious intent could gain access to their private data.

Is it better to have a firewall on or off?

Having a firewall on in most cases is always the better and safer option for devices connected to the internet. In some instances where one user is using multiple devices, they may choose to turn off particular firewalls for particular reasons.

However, a firewall has settings (as we discussed) that give you the option to allow specific data to move through the firewall. This means you can go into your firewall and allow certain programs or systems to have access or deny them access to other networks and the internet. With this ability, it is always better to have a firewall turned on.

What is a private network?

A private network is where one or many digital devices have a connection to a specific network wherein restrictions are established with the hope of enforcing and promoting a secure environment amongst those digital devices.

This type of network can and sometimes will be configured in a specific way as not to allow other devices (external devices) to access the network. Furthermore, only a specified and select set of digital devices will be able to access this type of network depending on the specified network settings.

Should Your Firewall Be On For A Private Network?

Now that we know precisely what a firewall is, how it works and what it does, and we know what a private network is, we can discuss if you really need a firewall for a private network?

It would seem that if you are behind a firewall that blocks malicious access from the internet, then you do not need a private network firewall?

If you are using a home network (a private network) and perhaps there are two or three devices connected to your router, and you alone use them all, maybe there would be no need for a private firewall on all the devices. This is because you alone know what is being put on the machines and how they are being utilized with regards to the internet.

In some instances, a private network firewall could be a nuisance if you are constantly moving data from one device to the next and are always halted by a firewall sign-in screen. But this is again only if you know precisely what type of data is being transferred between devices and you alone use them.

In this scenario and others similar to it, perhaps you would not need private network firewall restrictions.

The problem comes in when there are different users on various devices, and those devices have access to your device which has no firewall in place on a private network. This scenario can relate to a home network or even a companies private network. Imagine you had a user that unintentionally put malicious malware onto their device. This malware could potentially infect your device and cause much harm and damage.

Even in the case where you alone are using multiple devices, you may unintentionally load malware or give access to something that you should not have. Larger networks even have sub-private networks that do not allow access to other devices and networks.

For example, a large company will have many private networks with firewalls to restrict access to confidential and vital data. One section of the companies network, for example, the HR department, will not have access to the IT department’s network. Hence, it would be best if you always had a firewall on all devices on all networks, public or private, in all situations.


We determined that a firewall is a computer system with the sole purpose of restricting data amongst devices and the internet. It is in place because there will always be individuals with malicious intent trying to disrupt, steal, and destroy data.

We also determined that a firewall has rules that can be set by the network administrator and by yourself if it is your own home network to “allow” or “deny” the sending or receiving of specific data based on specific criteria. With firewalls having this feature, we concluded that it is always best to have a firewall on even if you are using a private network because there sometimes may be instances where a user on the private network unintentionally loads malware onto their system, and it may then have access to your device.

Even if you are the only person using multiple devices connected to a private network, it would always be best if you set the restrictions for each firewall on those specific devices allowing you safe and secure access when you need it.  

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