NGFWs have become a true security multi-tool, offering advanced capabilities like threat intelligence, networking, and security automation options. But which features are right for your business?
Why businesses should invest in NGFW? With application awareness, NGFWs enable businesses to control access and provide bandwidth prioritization based on individual job functions. This prevents productivity distractions while providing complete visibility and context for data flow.
Firewalls of older generations only inspect network packets at lower levels, such as layers 3 (network layer), 4 (transport layer), or 7 (application layer). This leaves the doors wide open to sophisticated cyberattacks. An NGFW provides enhanced security by operating at higher-level application layers to protect against advanced malware, DDoS attacks, and other common threats.
NGFWs also include advanced malware detection capabilities that go beyond signature-based analysis. By integrating with external threat intelligence feeds, NGFWs can quickly leverage indicators of compromise to identify and stop new cyberattack campaigns.
Some NGFWs use advanced technology like IPS, anti-malware, and sandboxing to perform deeper inspections of network traffic, ensuring that only legitimate business applications are allowed into the network and blocking any potentially malicious activity. Combined with a centralized management console, this helps to simplify the process of monitoring, configuring, and updating your firewall along with other security tools. This approach eliminates the need for separate, point-to-point management systems that can impose performance and cost constraints on your network.
While traditional firewalls rely on the ports and protocols of applications to recognize threats, next-generation firewalls analyze packets in their entirety. This makes it much easier to implement a Zero Trust security strategy and prevents advanced attacks that can bypass older connection-based protections.
NGFWs also can inspect data packets up to Layer 7 of the OSI model, enabling them to identify and control applications that are a part of the network. By identifying the type of application, business owners can choose to allow or deny access to it based on the positive features it provides and the risks that may be present.
Many NGFWs have integrated capabilities like antivirus, IPS, spam filtering, and deep-packet inspection. This allows businesses to meet their cybersecurity needs without needing multiple separate devices or a centralized management system. This helps to reduce operational complexity and cost. It’s important to note that these capabilities require substantially more system resources and network bandwidth than traditional firewalls, so you should always be prepared for the increased processing demands.
In addition to lowering costs by reducing the number of security tools required, next-generation firewalls are more affordable than traditional firewalls. They can run on various devices and deliver a full package of features like antivirus, malware detection, ransomware protection, and endpoint security, eliminating the need to invest in separate tools.
Many NGFWs also feature built-in and optional centralized management capabilities. With these, IT administrators can monitor, configure, and report on multiple NGFWs from a single interface. This eliminates the need to dedicate a dedicated server for managing your firewall and enables you to scale your security infrastructure more efficiently.
For instance, the NGFWs are machine learning-powered and provide advanced threat prevention capabilities like TLS/SSL decryption and inspection. These are suitable for large to enterprise-level businesses and offer a range of traffic capacities.
NGFWs are available in virtual, cloud, and on-premise formats. You can choose the best platform for your environment based on network architecture, security needs, and deployment scenario (cloud or on-premise). Regardless of the type of firewall, it will offer you the same functions, including deep-packet inspection, malware protection, advanced threat detection, centralized policy management, and more.
Unlike traditional firewalls, which require separate devices for different purposes, an NGFW comes with integrated antivirus, ransomware, and spam protection to help you save on infrastructural costs and complexity. A streamlined infrastructure makes managing and upgrading multiple security protocols from a single device easier.
Moreover, the application awareness functionality of an NGFW allows you to filter traffic up to layer 7 in the OSI model instead of using port-based filtering. This helps you protect your data against attacks that exploit application weaknesses. You can also set policies based on users and applications with this feature. This enables you to control and secure business apps without disrupting your user experience or affecting the performance of your cloud assets.
Ease of Management
When your NGFW provides granular policy control for applications, differentiates between malicious and secure apps, and prevents malware from infiltrating your network through threat intelligence, it helps reduce complexity and overhead. This can help eliminate security bottlenecks that hinder employee productivity and impact performance.
Unlike traditional firewalls, NGFWs don’t just operate on Layers 2 to 4. They can go even deeper into network traffic by inspecting the packets’ content, allowing them to spot malware that may not show up as “malware” by other tools.
Many NGFW solutions include built-in threat detection capabilities such as antivirus, antimalware, IPS, and web security. These combined features can be managed from a single centralized console, making it easier for your team to respond quickly and efficiently to any detected threats.