I can understand why the overwhelming majority of folks stay with Windows built in firewall offering as most people feel secure that there is a firewall and it will protect them from Internet hackers, despite not necessarily understanding how important having a firewall is. Is Windows offering one of the top rated firewalls? It certainly should be if it wants to fight off external competition.
Sadly, relying on Windows offering is a fallacy and one of the reasons so many computers are vulnerable to attacks from the undesirables in cyberspace.
I’m not saying that the Windows firewall is ineffective just that it could and should be so much more and this is why I recommend aiming for a paid for firewall replacement to decrease your computer’s vulnerability to attacks.
Top rated firewalls are often rather expensive and often overloaded with functions that are aimed at IT administrators and in my opinion unnecessary for most home users.
Back in the day I purchased the Russian Agnitum Outpost Pro firewall because I was so impressed during the testing phase that I never looked back.
While not aimed at beginners, it was easy to configure and like many firewall applications improved as time passed due to its learning ability to differentiate between the good and the bad.
Most of the time, it could be left alone to get on with its task running quietly in the background. It was also very easy to configure port settings and such.
There was a free version of Outpost which I originally tested but as I became more interested in the workings I upgraded to the professional edition and was thankful for doing so.
During that time Outpost functioned properly, blocking all that was bad with very little personal intervention needed.
For most users, I believe that a firewall while essential, should be able to get on with its job with minimal intrusion allowing one to get on with the tasks we use our PC’s for.
Unless you enjoy tweaking software constantly, I think a leave alone and forget attitude towards a software that can be trusted to get on with the job it was designed to do is a wonder to behold and this is where Outpost Pro was in my estimation.
Time to Say Goodbye
Today I no longer use it due to Yandex (The Russian browser people) purchasing the Agnitum technology to incorporate into the Yandex browser.
When I heard the news, I was devastated as I’d been using this since their inception in 1999 and now the level of security this firewall offered was no longer to be.
Yandex, offered the then current users of Outpost the opportunity to receive a two – year free license to Kaspersky Internet Security Suite which I duly accepted but at the time the laptop I was using lacked a little oomph, ergo I had to find another solution as Kaspersky, as superb as it is, was a little too heavy on resources for my ailing machine.
I repair PC’s for a living and constantly found and continue to do so that client’s computers were inadequately fire-walled and would often sell a license ensuring that correct level of security was put in place and you know what? All my clients were extremely happy with the security on their PC’s.
Having a great firewall is imperative and integral to computers web use functionality and simply put Outpost did this extremely well.
An Excellent Alternative
I have yet to come across such an excellent solid firewall application but obviously have had to choose something else since then and after trying Kaspersky Internet security, came across Emsisoft’s offering Emsisoft anti-malware which I now use.
This is excellent, unobtrusive and functions very admirably. The interface is designed clearly and for ease of use it performs well without too much intervention required but more on this in another review.
I am not a great fan of suites of any kind as it usually consists of quantity over quality which usually means more memory overhead and slower operation.
I’ve always likened any of these suites to that of an all in one Hi fi system, where if something goes wrong with say the CD player, the whole unit has to go in to the repair shop and you now have no music. To this day I continue to use Hi-Fi separates.
Marrying up your Anti-Virus, Firewall, ant-malware etc. Programs can be difficult but once the right combination is found tends to work more efficiently than an all in one solution.
With that been said, developers have worked hard to give users a more complete and efficient experience with the new wave of Internet security suites on the market.
A caveat to this is that they focus on overloading functionality at the expense of quality and usability which I find incredibly unappealing.
In My Humble
While among many, Outpost may not have been considered one of the top rated firewalls.
I sincerely believe those who overlooked it missed an absolute gem and I really wish it was still with us.
Sadly these smaller companies often get swallowed up by the bigger corporations and then get re branded and bogged down with resource hogging elements which do nothing to improve the experience for home users.
Do you have any experience with Outpost or can relate to Firewall software sorely missed?