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What Are Next-Generation Firewalls?
A next-generation firewall (NGFW), as the name implies, is an advanced security device that helps set up a robust security firewall system compared to the standard firewalls and antivirus software.
According to Gartner, a next-generation firewall is characterized by the following features:
- Provides all the standard firewall security measures
- Consists of integrated intrusion detection and prevention
- Delivers application awareness and finer control of which apps to block based on their risk profile
- Makes way for intelligent threat source analysis
- Enables future information feeds by upgrading paths
- Addresses the issue of facing evolving security threats
What is the Difference Between Next-Generation and Standard Firewalls?
While a next-generation firewall provides all the standard functions such as stateful inspection and blocking suspicious traffic, it also offers several additional features like advanced malware protections and protection from application-layer attacks.
Let us first list down the similarities between a standard firewall and an NGFW.
- Both NGFW and traditional firewalls use static and dynamic packet filtering
- Both support VPN for secure network connections
- Both should be capable of translating network and port addresses for IP address mapping
Here are certain areas in which NGFW fares significantly better than a standard firewall:
- Traditional firewalls are all essentially stateful, which means they simply control the flow of requests within the network. NGFWs go beyond such simple measures and offer proactive features such as application awareness and control, intrusion prevention, and more.
- You get finer control and complete transparency with respect to applications when using NGFW. You can block and unblock applications based on their risk profile and thus enhance your security.
- NGFWs can work on layer 2 to layer 7 of networks, whereas standard firewalls work only from layer 2 to layer 4.
- NGFW supports reputation and identity services which is not possible with traditional firewalls.
- NGFW makes it easier to install and configure additional security tools and has lower administrative cost than traditional firewalls.
- Unlike traditional firewalls, NGFW comes as a holistic package of security tools.
- NGFW can decrypt and inspect SSL connections in both directions, which is not possible with traditional firewalls.
- Traditional firewalls require separate and additional installations and management of IPS (Intrusion Prevention System) and IDS (Intrusion Detection System). NGFW provides integrated IPS (Intrusion Prevention System) and IDS.
What Are the Benefits of Next-Gen Firewall?
The most obvious advantage of using NGFW compared to a standard firewall is the ability to scan for malware applications and block any malware from entering your network. This is something that is either very difficult to do or impossible with the old traditional security firewalls.
NGFWs are also better equipped to deal with advanced persistent threats and provide you identity services that cannot be made possible with standard firewalls.
As NGFW comes as a complex security solution, you can easily manage all your security tools instead of installing them separately and managing them individually as you would in the standard firewalls. With easy integration and administration, you get to reduce your operating costs and have a robust security system.
Why Should You Consider Next-Generation Firewall?
When it comes to security, the latest is the best to go with. Security threats are ever-evolving, and you need to combat them with state-of-the-art and up-to-date technology and tools. It makes sense to go with the best available choice, NGFWs, which are up to date and cheaper than standard firewalls. But deploying any security system should come after a careful analysis of your current systems, problems, and several other considerations.
Here are some things to consider when you plan to deploy the advanced next-generation firewall for your network:
- Prepare a solid security strategy with feedback from all relevant departments like IT, network, and security services.
- Choose a reliable vendor and perform a firewall cost analysis.
- Establish the proper metrics and progress tracking mechanism to see if you make good use of your NGFW installation. Measure the throughput and see if it matches the benchmark values.
With cyber threats on the rise, there is a need to adopt strong security measures. Next-generation firewalls strengthen your IT infrastructure and protect your network. To learn more about NGFWs, and how you can implement them in your organization, contact us today to request a free consultation.