Next-Generation Firewalls Importance For South Florida Businesses
With more organizations deploying hybrid cloud architectures, increasing remote work environments, and the overall escalation of security threats, firewall technology has become more vital to the security and integrity of any enterprise than ever before.
Traditional firewalls are security solutions that inspect traffic at the point of entry and exit, as well as provide VPN (a virtual private network) and encryption capabilities. Given the increase in sophistication of security threats, traditional firewalls aren’t effective in providing the protection to deal with these threats. That’s where next-generation firewalls come in. In this post, we’ll cover what a next-generation firewall is, why it is important, and the best next-gen firewalls available today.
What Is A Next-Generation Firewall?
Next-generation firewalls (NGFWs) are part of the third-generation firewall technology that can be implemented in software or hardware. They can detect and block complex attacks by enforcing security solutions at the port, application, and protocol levels.
Typically, NGFWs have the following advanced functions:
- Application awareness
- Identity awareness – user and group control
- Integrated intrusion prevention systems
- Routed and bridged models
- The ability to use external intelligence sources
NGFWs combine most of the capabilities of traditional firewalls – including network address translation (NAT), packet filtering, URL blocking, VPNs, and port address translation (PAT) – with quality of service (QoS) function and other features not found in traditional firewalls such as deep-packet inspection, SSH inspection, and reputation-based malware detection.
What Are the Benefits of Next-Gen Firewalls?
Here is an outline of some of the benefits of NGFWs:
1. Application-level Security Functions such as IPS and IDS
A next-gen firewall has an added layer of application security functions; intrusion prevention systems and intrusion detection systems. These applications not only enhance packet-content filtering but can also identify, analyze, and remedy irregular deviations from set standards.
2. Multi-Layered Protection
Whereas traditional firewalls can block access through ports – which is insignificant in the complex and ever-evolving landscape of data architecture – NGFWs provide multi-layered protection by inspecting traffic from different layers and at the same time understanding the exact nature of data transfer.
3. Single Console Access
Unlike with traditional firewalls, where you need to set up and configure the firewall manually, most next-gen firewalls can be easily accessed from a single console.
4. Simplified Infrastructure
Whereas conventionally, you would need a separate security appliance for every new threat, with NGFWs, you can easily update and manage the security protocols from one authorized device. This saves time spent on daily operations and simplifies the complex security infrastructure.
5. Ransomware, Spam, and Antivirus Protection & Endpoint Security
NGWFs come with a complete package of antivirus, spam & ransomware protection, as well as endpoint security to safeguard your business data. With these features, you won’t necessarily need separate tools for those purposes.
6. Optimal Use of Network Speed
With traditional firewalls, network speed decreases with the increase in the number of security devices and protocols. This is the case since the dedicated network speed doesn’t reach its expected potential when security services and devices increase. With NGFWs, you can constantly attain the potential throughput regardless of the number of devices or protocols.
7. Capability to Implement Role-Based Access
Next-gen firewalls have an inherent capability of detecting user identity. They can also function with different user roles and limit the scope of access of individuals and/or groups. This function helps organizations set up role-based access to specific portions of data and its content.
The Best Next-Generation Vendors
There are numerous next-gen vendors to choose from. Here is an outline of some of the best vendors:
Cisco has an active presence in the next-gen firewall space and offers Cisco Firepower firewall solutions. These solutions come in varying forms and are scalable from branch-site to a career-grade data center. Cisco’s multi-layered next-gen firewall system has the following features:
- Advanced malware detection
- Intrusion prevention
- Endpoint protection
- Cloud-based sandboxing
- Web gateway protection
- Network access control
- Network traffic analysis
- Email security
- Cisco Meraki solutions (which deliver a management dashboard for a single pane of glass view into security)
This firewall is easy to implement and manage, it has great support, plus there’s cloud and virtual NGFWs support for Azure, Google cloud platform, AWS, among other platforms.
2. Palo Alto Networks
Palo Alto Networks firewalls include virtualized solutions, physical appliances, and 5G-ready firewalls. All their solutions provide a Single-Pass Architecture and a full inspection of traffic. It doesn’t matter which device you are using or where you are using it from, Palo Alto Networks will thoroughly inspect all threats, applications, and content to match traffic to a particular user. Some of its features include:
- Secure encrypted traffic
- Secure access to all users, no matter their location
- Detection and prevention of advanced threats
- Prevention of corporate credentials shared by users unknown to the site
3. Juniper Networks
Juniper’s SRX series next-gen firewall offers the perfect balance of excellent security and integrated services for intrusion detection, application security, and complex threat detection for organizations of all sizes. cSRX can be utilized in containerized environments, whereas vSRX offers a virtual firewall. Some of the advantages of using Juniper Networks include:
- Application control & visibility
- Unified threat management
- User-based application policies
4. Check Point
Check Point leverages the world’s biggest application library and can access over 6500 Web 2.0 applications. Check Point does well at blocking and preventing threats and attacks. Its firewall model can run all threat prevention technologies concurrently, SSL inspection included. Check Point offers the following features:
- Advanced URL filtering
- Antivirus and Anti-bot
- Email security
- Application control
- Integration with clouds like Azure, Google Cloud, VMware, OpenStack
- Policy management
Fortinet offers affordable solutions that provide exceptional quality. In case you’re looking for a truly scalable solution, the FortiGate 60 series is the ideal choice. It’s easily configurable with other solutions on the FortiOS system. Some of its features include:
- Cloud security
- WAN Edge capabilities for enterprises
- Integration for multi-cloud environments
- Malware protection in both encrypted and unencrypted traffic
SonicWall’s NGFWs products are suitable for both large and small organizations. SonicWall is one of the more affordable solutions, and its products are highly rated. Users love the value they get from SonicWall’s solutions, including implementation and management functions. Even so, it is one of the vendors with low cloud capabilities. Some of its core features include:
- Real-time visualization
- WLAN management
- Application intelligence & control
When it comes to security, Sophos is at the top of the list. Sophos’ endpoint protection and server protection products can allow you to write rules that will block access to the most critical parts of your network if the AV agent is in an unhealthy status. Additionally, Sophos managed threat response service, and their 24/7 security operations center pulls in firewall data and endpoint data to detect suspicious events that, if they went unnoticed, could, later on, become a cyberattack.
Palindrome Consulting Can Help Solve Your IT Security Troubles
Are you fed up with the ever-increasing IT security issues in your business? Palindrome Consulting can help. We are a leading IT consulting company in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and South Florida. Among the services, we offer include business continuity, IT consulting, cybersecurity solutions, and Cisco Meraki support. Contact us today to get started.