Firewalls and the School of Medicine

What is a firewall?

The School of Medicine Firewall

The School of Medicine uses firewalls to increase the security of your computer, and of the University, as well as to comply with federal and state requirements. All computers on the School of Medicine’s network have firewalls that are set to refuse connections initiated from outside of Stanford University’s network. The firewall should not affect your access to email or web browsing.

How do I request to add or change a rule?

If you are responsible for a computer on the school’s network that provides Internet services like a web server, FTP server, or file server to an off-campus computer, please let us know so we can configure the firewall to accommodate these services. Keep in mind that the on-campus residence halls are considered off-campus, so connections from here will require use of the University's VPN service or an exception to the firewall.

To request a change, please email us at , with the name of the system that needs an exception set, the IP address, and any specific ports you need open for this system. We would also ask that you remember to let us know when you no longer need this exception implemented so we disable it accordingly.

* Please Note: Rule changes will be implemented within three business days, unless the request is urgent. For our purposes, "urgent" is defined as follows:

  • A problem is urgent if it causes complete loss of service to the production environment; work cannot reasonably continue. Workarounds to provide the same functionality are not possible and cannot be found in time to minimize the impact on business. The problem has one or more of the following characteristics:
    • A large number of users cannot access the system.
    • Critical functionality is not available. The application cannot continue because a vital feature is inoperable, data cannot be secured, backed up, etc.

Are there any other options instead of a rule change?

YES! If you are using the University's VPN service, you can use it to access School of Medicine systems from off-campus without need for firewall exceptions. VPN is your ideal solution for intermittent remote access (e.g., accessing your server or workstation resources while away from campus). For additional help, contact IRT Security by phone at 725-8000 or by email at

What is a firewall?

Firewalls are an important part of the security infrastructure. A firewall is a barrier that keeps “the bad guys” out of a network or computer. A firewall follows a set of rules to filter the information entering and exiting a network, or computer, allowing or denying access to each specific request. Like the physical wall that is used to keep destructive fires from spreading from one area to the next, an electronic firewall keeps unauthorized users like hackers from spreading their destructive material onto your network or computer.

Why are firewalls used?

Firewalls are used to keep a network or computer secure. A firewall does this by carefully inspecting each piece of information passing into and out of the network, filtering it based on a specific set of rules. These rules tell the firewall whether to reject or approve access to the network or computer, keeping out unauthorized users who may want to corrupt the information stored behind the firewall.

Why do you need a firewall?

The Internet is like any society. Bad things that would like to corrupt or destroy your computer are out roaming the information highway. Firewalls insure that your valuable information is protected from unauthorized users. Firewalls act as a security system, helping to prevent dangers like identity theft, and research theft, and denying hackers from corrupting or gaining access to your computer.


Don’t hesitate to call us if you need any help! You can reach us by phone at 725-8000 or by email at