Large buildings, such as apartment complexes, have firewalls in them – a solid, windowless/doorless, fireproof wall that prevents fire from spreading from one part of the building to another. Computers and networks also have firewalls (in some instances called Border Protection Devices) that keep hackers and potentially harmful programs from getting in or from spreading from one computer to another. The firewall’s job is to keep people out of your computer or network. OIT has many of its servers behind a firewall to protect them and the service they provide. It is because of the firewall that if you bring a laptop computer on campus and want to connect it to the network that you must first log onto the network (aka authenticating). It’s also because of the firewall that you cannot automatically use Remote Desktop from home to connect to your campus computer.
The Microsoft Windows OS and Macintosh OS X operating systems also have a built-in firewall that gives your desktop computer some added protection in addition to the university firewall.