In the era of the internet, a next-generation firewall is one of the best defenses that can be implemented to safeguard the network. Next-gen firewalls go beyond the traditional firewalls, which have become indispensable tools to thwart cyberattacks and protect sensitive data. Many systems rely on these virtual protective instruments to ensure that business is safe and secure 24/7.
However, cyberattacks are becoming more sophisticated, breaching some high-value targets. The 2019 Verizon Data Breach report shows a high incidence of hacking, malware, and social attacks. The report revealed that 56% of the time, such violations were undetected for months or longer. Additionally, the same study revealed that 43% of the breaches victimized small businesses. Protecting cybersystems against threats entails a dynamic approach to solutions since security attacks are constantly evolving.
What are Next-Gen Firewalls?
Next-gen firewalls are a definite upgrade to the conventional firewalls, providing more rigorous protection to systems to prevent breaches.
The next-gen firewall (NGFW) is defined by Gartner as a deep-packet inspecting firewall moving beyond blocking and port or protocol inspection to enhance security using intrusion prevention, application-level inspection, and gathering intelligence from beyond the firewall. It is different from a stand-alone Network Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) that consists of a non-enterprise or commodity firewall, or an IPS and firewall that are located in the same appliance but not integrated closely to one another.
NGFWs combine traditional firewall features with more robust and sophisticated protection techniques including website filtering. It is said that the NGFW market will have a CAGR of 12% from 2018 to 2023. It is due to the ability of a next-gen firewall to combat sophisticated malware, web-based exploitation, application-layer threats, and high target attacks.
The combination of application intelligence and user identification allows an acceptable-use basis for policies from which businesses can benefit better than black-and-white rules by traditional security systems. It provides finely implemented firewall access guidelines that effectively detects web-based attacks before they can do serious damage.
Traditional versus Next-Gen
While both types of firewalls have the same goal of protecting cybersystems from malicious attacks, next-gen firewalls are generally more advanced and robust in terms of features. Here are some differences between a traditional firewall and a next-gen firewall:
- A traditional firewall relies on the typical application ports to identify running apps and which attacks should be monitored. An NGFW provides a granular application awareness that determines new and emerging threats.
- Traditional firewalls can’t detect traffic flow and check every packet individually. The NGFW applies stateful inspection and monitors traffic flow in layers, from 2 through 7.
- A traditional firewall can control what traffic enters or exits a network. An NGFW does this and more by monitoring bi-directional traffic, including SSL-encrypted sessions.
- IPS and IDS are not integrated into the traditional firewall while fully integrated into the NGFW, which results in better performance and real-time reporting capabilities of the NGFW.
- Traditional firewalls can support Port Address Translation (PAT) and Network Address Translation (NAT), and as well as VPN termination. Next-generation firewalls can do all of these with the added functionality of routed-mode operation and sandboxing.
How to Select and Implement NGFW
The rise of next-gen firewalls prompted many vendors to offer this product, allowing end-users to select from a broad range of choices. Every NGFW will offer different protection features and standard qualities like IDS and IPS and application control systems, but there are a few with unique offerings. Therefore, buyers need to learn how to distinguish which NGFW will work best for their enterprise.
Determine the requirements
Every security strategy revolves around the needs of the organization and how effective the existing security protocols are for them. Before applying any technology, an evaluation of the IT environment needs to be a priority, and it should aim to protect first and foremost, the business-critical assets of the company.
To ensure that all areas are covered, the IT team should provide an insight into the company’s security, application, virtualization, and networking maps to help make the selection process easier.
Select the most appropriate solution
There are many NGFW vendors in the market today, all providing various features that an organization may or may not need. Choose the next-generation firewall that is most suitable for the company’s security requirements. It could be based on the platform type (hardware, software, or could-based), and advanced features that will be beneficial for the company, such as sandboxing, global threat protection and advanced emerging threats.
Check the performance
Not all NGFWs are created equal. It’s important to evaluate crucial specifications like throughput and encrypted traffic management. Next-gen firewalls usually implement a load of features into one appliance, which could cause a decline in performance. NGFWs process more network packets than conventional firewalls, which could also severely affect the network load.
Deploying the NGFW
Deploying the next-generation firewall means that all security policies of the organization have been updated, and all the features cater to the requirements set by the company. It should be robust in that it effectively implements security checks, such as what can or can’t be accessed through it.
There should also be a regular review of the NGFW, to determine whether or not the rules still complement the current IT requirements of the company.
The Next-level Security
Next-generation firewalls provide the necessary features and tools that safeguard data and network from malicious cyberattacks. However, firewalls should be meticulously implemented, and both technology and administrators should work harmoniously to ensure that all systems are always protected. 3Columns can help set up a next-generation firewall for your organization. Contact us to know how to get started.