While most of the world is full of good-intentioned, trustworthy people, there is a huge number of bad actors out there that want to take down your systems and get their hands on your hard-earned money or data. That’s why next-generation firewalls are an important part of modern cyber security strategy.
With so many organizations converting to a hybrid workforce, businesses are more vulnerable to cyber threats than ever. Learn how a next-generation firewall can protect your business.
Read more: Top Cyber Security Threats to Organizations
What Is a Next-Generation Firewall?
A firewall is a software or hardware system designed to protect computer networks from being accessed by unauthorized parties. The name “firewall” is used because fire usually impedes the progress of something — in this case, it impedes the progress of an attack on a network.
A NGFW stops complex attacks by enforcing security regulations at the application, port, and protocol levels.
When it comes to security, a next-generation firewall (NGFW) goes beyond a typical stateful firewall. A NGFW is a type of firewall that can identify and stop complex attacks by enforcing security regulations at the application, port, and protocol levels. Like a traditional firewall, it can be implemented in either hardware or software.
What Does a Firewall Do?
A firewall works like a traffic guard at your computer’s entry point or port. Only trusted sources, or IP addresses, are allowed in. IP addresses are important because they identify a computer or source, just like your postal address identifies where you live.
Firewalls are the first line of defense against external attacks, and keeping them healthy is crucial for your network security. Not only do they keep malware and hackers at bay, but they also provide a solid defense for your data resources.
Vulnerabilities in the firewall can lead to intellectual property theft, damaging file deletions, or business interruptions due to cascading effects. Keeping up to date with the newest security upgrades and patches is a must.
At the consumer level, some people use their router as a firewall appliance. Because routers have minimal security features, they’re not recommended for individuals, and are entirely inappropriate for business application. The question then becomes: What is the best way to create an efficient and effective firewall for your systems?
What Are the Functions of a Next-Generation Firewall?
Firewalls are created for one purpose, and that is to allow/deny traffic from different ports and IPs. This is what a next-generation firewall should do, according to eSecurity Planet:
- Deep Packet Inspection (DPI): DPI can identify and block unsafe packets at the application layer. In this way, DPI is goes beyond the stateful inspection of traditional firewalls.
- Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS): IPS will inspect the contents of traffic and look for patterns of malware or malicious traffic. Formerly a standalone product, IPS can also remove suspect traffic from the network.
- Identity Awareness: A NGFW’s ability to recognize identity enables administrators to apply firewall rules more granularly, targeting specific groups and users.
Next-Generation Firewall vs. Traditional Firewall
Both next-generation firewalls and traditional firewalls strive to safeguard an organization’s network and data assets, but there are a few distinctions.
In a traditional firewall, traffic is regulated based on port, protocol, source address, and destination address. Its core functionality is packet filtering, stateless inspection or stateful inspection, and virtual private network (VPN) support.
To guard against more complex attacks, NGFWs have multiple levels of protection built in. They also provide application-level control and intrusion prevention.
Who Needs a Next-Generation Firewall?
A strong firewall is the foundation of every company’s network security. Any traffic wishing to join or exit the corporate network must first travel through the firewall, allowing it to filter out any traffic that might jeopardize the organization’s systems or security.
A truly robust security strategy goes beyond the firewall; consider implementing zero trust security.
Because they can combine the work of antiviruses, traditional firewalls, and other security software into a single solution, NGFWs can be a low-cost alternative for enterprises seeking to improve their basic security. However, a truly robust security strategy goes beyond the firewall; consider implementing zero trust security.
How Do NGFWs Support Security Best Practices?
The goal of any firewall is to keep attackers out of the network while also protecting systems and data. NGFWs should be able to deliver on the following:
- Advanced security and breach prevention
- Visibility over the whole network
- Flexible management and deployment options
- Rapidity of detection
The Value of Next-Generation Firewalls
In the present era, having a next-generation firewall is vital. Daily, threats to devices and networks are evolving. A NGFW’s adaptability safeguards businesses from a far larger range of attacks than a traditional firewall. Security experts should carefully evaluate the advantages that NGFWs may bring, as there is a lot to gain.