The best firewalls for your home office

Today, with the rise of the gig economy and flexible working, more and more people are choosing to work from home. In fact, a 2016 study found that in the UK, the number doing so rose by a fifth in just 10 years to a record 1.5 million. But while you may be handling company-owned, sensitive information, home networks often lack the strong fortification of an office firewall.

This means that home networks are far more vulnerable to attacks - which could mean hackers are able to access sensitive company data, or even transfer viruses back into the office via laptops that shuttle between work and home.

Cyberattacks pitched at home networks can take the form of either inbound or outbound attacks. Inbound attacks cover attacks that are aimed at the connected devices in a home - such as desktop computers, laptops or tablets - via the internet. These attacks transform into outbound attacks when the attacker exploits the targeted device to remotely install malware, for example to gain sensitive information or to intercept protected communications.

So, if you're looking to secure your home network, here are some of the best firewalls for home offices.

Read next: 7 of the best security tools for your home office.

Bitdefender BOX 2

Bitdefender BOX 2

Bitdefender BOX 2offers a single security solution for all internet-connected devices. Supported by a mobile app, users are able to manage devices from the smart app to ensure a secure environment in the home network.

The firewall combines hardware and software with a connection to the cloud for even more security and protects devices from online threats, with features including data protection and anomaly detection.

Bitdefender BOX is now priced at $199.99 (£150.85), with the one-year protection of devices supported by Microsoft, Windows, Mac OSX, Android and IOS.

F-Secure SENSE

F-Secure SENSE

SENSE is a firewall router from F-Secure. It is designed to protect home networks and smart devices, with the support of a secure app that helps to manage the network from anywhere.

It also offers cloud protection which is built to communicate with the cloud to identify any threats in the network in real-time, as well as protecting IoT devices on the network.

F-Secure SENSE is priced at £169 with a one-year security subscription included, costing £8.50 per month after that. The company says that it functions as a powerful router even without the subscription.

A complementary app is available on Android and iOS devices.

ZoneAlarm

ZoneAlarm

ZoneAlarmoffers a feature-rich firewall offering users online backup, anti-phishing, and a two-way firewall protection, which allows users to protect information, block malware and prevent hackers from intercepting data.

A free version is available offering basic but good features including monitoring threat traffic and blocking threats, while also managing access to the internet and office networks.

It's now available for five PCs for £29.95 a year. Buy here.

Glasswire

Glasswire

Glasswireis a popular choice for detecting, blocking and preventing unauthorised access to your PC.

Available on PC and Android, Glasswire has a monitor feature which oversees your network activity while you were away from your PC. What’s more, it sends detailed reports, gives statuses and stores data for up to 30 days.

A free version is available offering basic but good features while it’s paid for version manages remote connections and home office activity.

FortiGate

FortiGate

FortiGateprovides multi-layer security with its end to end protection.

It offers two types of firewall, the enterprise firewall, and the next generation firewall. Both providing protection against malicious attacks and is well suited for a home office.

The only downside is it doesn’t include a hard drive limiting its spam-filtering capabilities but does allow users to block ads and malicious content. In addition, users can filter content through keywords which will then identify them as spam.

Kaspersky internet security

Kaspersky internet security

Kaspersky’s Internet Securityoffers a great firewall with a good level of protection.

The paid for version ensures security on local networks and the internet allowing users to block applications such as ads, third party cookies and banners from the internet. This can allow users to protect data, ensure online privacy and a quicker performance.

There is no free version but a 30 day trial for users offering the same features of privacy and security. Their internet security package is now available for $39.99 (£30). Buy here.

Total Defence Internet Security

Total Defence Internet Security

Total Defence Internet Securityis a high performing firewall combined with a security suite. This software was easy to install and offers step-by-step instructions as well as a dedicated customer support team.

It has an identity theft protection feature which allows you to shop and bank online without hackers gaining access to your personal information. What’s more, it integrates with Google, Yahoo and Bing search engines to help protect you from phishing sites.

Available on PC and Mac devices, it offers an unlimited amount of users and 25GB of storage.

Comodo Firewall

Comodo Firewall

Comodo Internet Security Pro 8’s firewall filters data packets, ICMP, TCP and UDP traffic protecting users from hackers.

The paid for version can filter, block and prevent cybercriminals accessing information on home PCs. Comodo’s downside is frequent pop-up notifications but it does include spying tests which protect user’s browsing patterns from packet sniffers (the process where data is transferred through routers is intercepted by hackers.)

Comodo offers a free 30-day trial to protect files from viruses, adware and Trojans.

PeerBlock

PeerBlock

PeerBlockis unlike listed firewalls as it lets you control how your PC connects with other computers and allows you to block servers, peer to peer networks and business ISPs.

Available on PC, PeerBlock blocks incoming and outgoing traffic from IP addresses that are on blacklists. This free and open source firewall is lightweight so doesn't need much CPU power or system memory.

NetDefender

NetDefender

NetDefender works alongside your antivirus suite blocking hackers, trackers and spyware.

This free firewall, includes IPsec and packet filtering that can prevent information loss, password theft and an overall quicker performance.

Available on PC, NetDefender has a simple yet effective interface that allows you to access and control devices. What’s more, it has an admin feature which lets you share the applications you want with team members.

TinyWall

TinyWall

TinyWallis a great free firewall for your home office.

Tinywall can control and monitor applications with frequent reports being sent to users on its safety and performance. What’s more, it regularly updates its security features preventing new threats from emerging and compromising your home network.

Tinywall features no pop-ups, ads or banners ensuring users can work productively while keeping user’s PC’s stable.

Privatefirewall

Privatefirewall

Privatefirewallis a functional firewall that can be customised to suit an individual's needs.

It has a training feature which studies your online habits and prevents access to suspicious sites, and unwanted downloads.

Features include process monitor, port tracking, traffic filtering as well as blocking access to IP addresses. The only downside is that it has a busy interface with a text-heavy design but overall provides all-round security.

OpenDNS

OpenDNS

OpenDNSis a great firewall for home office users. The free version filters web content such as ad blockers, malware sites and web bugs preventing personal information being exposed to hackers.

OpenDNS features customary security features allowing users to create and manage their home office networks. This can be applied to multiple devices with internet connection.

Outpost Firewall

Outpost Firewall

Another great firewall for your home office is Outpost Firewall.

Available on PC, it has a SmartDecision feature which lets you monitor and control devices as well as access to sites. Furthermore, it offers a two-way firewall to ensure secure connections, adding an extra layer of security.

Outpost is free to use with an online tutorial available and a dedicated support team.

Palo Alto

Palo Alto

Palo Altois paid for software which prevents user access to and from private networks.

It has an IPS feature which scans traffic and identity’s patterns which may indicate a potential attack. What’s more, it has a web filter capability which controls access to sites and blocks high-risk sites which have malicious content.

It offers a virtualised firewall that can support cloud environments based on environments from VMware, AWS, Microsoft, Citrix and KVM. Additionally, it sends user’s reports based on locality, content and devices.

Palo Alto was easy to install having a simple user interface and a dedicated customer support team.

CUJO Firewall

CUJO Firewall

CUJO Firewallprovides network protection from viruses, worms and adware.

This paid for version has malware protection, parental controls and allows users to block applications such as ads and third party cookies. What’s more, it allows you to control and monitor your home security from IOS and Android devices.

CUJO Firewall costs more than others reviewed but is an all-rounder in terms of home security. CUJO Smart Firewalls costs $249 (£188).

FireEye

FireEye

FireEye’sfirewall protection analyses, identifies and attempts to block incoming attacks from reaching your home network.

While there is no free version available, it does offer some excellent features including malware detection, enterprise endpoints analysis and web page blocks.

What's more, the platform integrates network, email and mobile devices, covering all firewall protection needs aiming to prevent users from cyberattacks, information loss and fraud.

Forcepoint Stonesoft Next Generation Firewall

Forcepoint Stonesoft Next Generation Firewall

Forcepoint Stonesoft Next Generation Firewalloffers network security enabling users to control applications, antivirus protection and geolocation setting. This allows users to send and share information securely across their network to a variety of different countries.

A demo version is available offering the same features including IPS and web filtering enabling user’s network security.

Fortinet

Fortinet

Fortinetfirewall offers a great level of protection for home users and small businesses.

The paid version features cyber threat assessments, prevents ransomware and aims to fit individual user needs. This can help users monitor traffic, block Trojans and reduce attacks.

Fortinet’s demo version has the same offerings with end-to-end security across whole home networks.

Ubiquiti Unifi Security Gateway

Ubiquiti Unifi Security Gateway

Ubiquiti Unifi Security Gatewayis a powerful firewall device with strong security provisions to protect your home network. It integrates with Unifi Controller software so you can easily manage your network through a centralised interface. It also supports VLAN, meaning you can easily set up a protected virtual network. A site-to-site VPN is offered that protects your network from potential malicious attacks by encrypting data communications taking place over the internet.

You can buy a Ubiquiti firewall device here, for £106.

Cyberoam
© Amazon

Cyberoam

Cyberoam is a Next-Generation and UTM firewall that offers enterprise-grade security more suited to home-based businesses than casual, remote office work.

It will protect your network against DoS, DDoS and IP Spoofing attacks and boasts Human Layer 8 Identity based security, fusion technology meaning firewalls are well-integrated with VPN, IPS, Anti-Virus & Anti-Spyware, Anti-Spam, Web Filtering, Bandwidth Management and Multiple Link Management.

Find out more here.

pfSense

pfSense

pfSense’s firewall offers great open source security.

The firewall allows users to connect securely to the cloud, protect networks and manage a variety of applications.

There is no free version available but users connect through VPN’s ensuring no data loss, file sharing and password protection.

Read next:7 of the best VPN's for CIOs

Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

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