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Understanding Stateless Firewalls – A Comprehensive Guide

  • June 26, 2023
  • 5 min read
Understanding Stateless Firewalls – A Comprehensive Guide

Stateless firewalls evaluate a data packet’s destination, source, and other parameters to determine whether it is a threat. If the data packet is, it will be identified and blocked.

These firewalls offer granular control and deeper functionality but can be more prone to cyberattacks and take up more resources than stateful firewalls.


Using clues like the destination address and other fundamental values, a stateless firewall examines each data packet to determine whether it poses a threat. If it does, the firewall will block the packet and restrict its entry into a network. This process does not involve the firewall evaluating context, so it may not detect certain types of malicious traffic.

Stateful firewalls are more intelligent and offer a more robust security layer for giant corporations with more complex network environments to protect. However, they’re more susceptible to cyberattacks and require more resource management and maintenance.

Before advising a client to deploy a stateful or stateless firewall, MSPs should evaluate their client’s network environment and budget. For example, a small business that only deals with a little data or complicated applications could benefit from a stateless firewall’s cost efficiency and simplicity. Depending on the chosen stateless firewall example, MSPs must also take the client’s capacity for managing and configuring it and their budget for initial purchase expenses and recurring subscription payments.


Stateful firewalls monitor data packets based on their context and state—meaning they store information about network connections. This information includes the logical connection’s source and destination, TCP/UDP port numbers and sequences, layer three information related to reassembly and fragmentation, flags, and the number of layers of the packet’s transmission.

This information allows stateful firewalls to determine whether a given packet belongs to a conversation with the proper initiation flow. For instance, a DNS response packet without a corresponding request from the target system could indicate that the network is under attack and that the firewall needs to be alerted.

Using this type of deeper inspection, stateful firewalls can detect and block threats like DDoS attacks that use DNS answers as a way into the network. These powerful workhorses provide a thick security layer for corporations looking to protect their extensive systems and documents from bad actors.


The stateless firewall relies on pre-defined rules to determine whether network packets are safe. Once a particular type of data packet is approved, it is added to a database so that future filtering decisions are based on experience. However, because this approach does not consider the context of a connection, it can leave networks vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks.

MSPs can help clients choose the proper firewall to protect their business environments by explaining the different firewall options and how they operate differently. For example, stateless firewalls use information about a data packet’s destination, where it came from, and other parameters to determine whether the packet is a threat and restrict or block it.

Stateless firewalls are more affordable than stateful firewalls and tend to perform faster because they don’t need to track connection states. They are also easier to manage and may be more appropriate for small businesses since there will likely be fewer incoming threats than large enterprises. Nevertheless, they can be susceptible to DDoS attacks due to the intense computing resources and unique software-network relationship needed to verify connections.


Unlike stateful firewalls, which track the state of network connections to determine if a data packet poses a threat, stateless firewalls use a pre-defined set of rules to thwart cybercriminals. If a data packet conforms to these rules, it is classified as safe and allowed through. Since the process is less rigorous, it can result in particular vulnerabilities.

For small businesses, stateless firewalls offer a faster performance without sapping network bandwidth or demanding extensive IT monitoring. These firewalls are also more cost-effective than their stateful counterparts.

However, you should assess your client’s current and future network traffic and security requirements before recommending a stateless firewall solution. If the client’s network is complex and requires a deeper level of functionality, then a stateful firewall would be a better fit. In addition, you should determine a stateless firewall’s scalability and performance capabilities concerning a client’s anticipated growth in network complexity, bandwidth needs, and other security requirements. To avoid performance issues, you should choose a firewall that can easily adjust its settings to accommodate these changes.


A stateless firewall can filter network packets based on the context and state of each packet. However, they do not maintain connection information, which means they may be more susceptible to cyberattacks and consume more resources than stateful firewalls.

They can monitor data packets based on the destination, source IP address, or other static values. They can also control network traffic and filter the data flow based on specific filters or security policies. They can detect unauthorized or suspicious data packets and protect against different types of cyberattacks, such as port scanning or IP spoofing.

If you’re looking for a security solution to help your clients defend against growing threats, consider the sensitivity of their data and regulatory guidelines to determine their security needs and what kind of firewall is best. A stateful firewall provides more protection and can retain connection states, but it can be expensive to operate and requires more resources. A stateless firewall can be a more cost-effective option for smaller networks, offering a significant defense against common cyberattacks.