Recognizing the NGFW and How It Affects Business Operations
NGFW, also known as next-generation firewalls or Unified Threat Management solutions, is a giant leap from traditional firewalls. They combine the functionality of multiple software and hardware security solutions into a single solution. They provide multi-layered protection by inspecting traffic from layer 2 to layer 7. They understand the exact nature of data transfer and only forward the data within the defined firewall policy.
A next-generation firewall is a costly undertaking. But it’s worth the investment if you’re looking to improve your network’s security. NGFWs are more sophisticated than traditional firewalls because they include additional features to detect and prevent threats. These features work alongside packet-content filtering, analyzing incoming and outgoing traffic to determine whether it adheres to security policies and meets standards. Blacklisting and whitelisting are two of the most common NGFW features, which give enterprises granular control over what applications are allowed to access their networks. They can also block devices and users not adhering to security policies. Deep packet inspection is another NGFW feature that scans incoming data packets to detect potential threats. It can help you identify malicious files and block them from your network. Another essential feature to consider is cloud-based visibility. Unlike distributed NGFWs, which require appliances at every location, cloud-based NGFWs provide complete network visibility and enforce policies without requiring customers to notify vendors of new application identification capabilities.
A Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) can help any size business secure its network and increase overall efficiency. NGFWs can monitor network traffic in real-time to identify and resolve issues that could lead to performance problems.
Unlike traditional firewalls, which inspect the headers of each packet to determine who it’s from, an NGFW examines each packet in depth to find potential threats and block them. It performs deep packet inspection and matches the contents of each packet to known signatures for malware, exploits, viruses, and other harmful activities.
One of the NGFW’s most important capabilities is application awareness and control, which lets network administrators selectively whitelist or blacklist traffic based on application data from a wide variety of devices, applications, users and communications channels. It enables businesses to prevent attempted exfiltration of sensitive information via unauthorized programs, websites, users and networks. It also protects against various threats, including advanced persistent threats and zero-day exploits. It combines granular application control, IPS defenses, built-in VPN control and mission-critical proxies into an efficient, flexible and highly scalable design. NGFW is available from many vendors, but a few stand out. Some have excellent reputations and are recognized for their ability to provide comprehensive security across a range of deployments.
As with all network security systems, NGFWs need to be updated regularly. These changes must be based on the latest business and technology trends, such as new cloud applications or changes to user devices. NGFWs also need to be flexible enough to handle the vast array of current networks. They must protect data, access control, and unified threat management capabilities. In addition, NGFWs must be able to integrate with other IT systems to manage security policies based on information such as user, location, and vulnerability. It is essential for mobile working scenarios, as changing IP addresses can create security policy problems.
A security system that does not update its rules based on these changes can become vulnerable to attacks. In turn, this can lead to security breaches and loss of revenue.
Luckily, several NGFWs offer a complete suite of features and functionality to help you keep your network secure. Fortinet, for example, has an NGFW that provides centralized management and security health dashboards to detect risks before they occur. Additionally, NGFWs should be able to protect against malware and other threats. They should have features such as deep packet inspection and intrusion prevention that can stop new malicious activities before they enter your network. Moreover, they should also be capable of implementing web filtering to block access to thousands of URLs.
A good NGFW should be able to handle the volume of traffic that modern networks produce. That means it must have enough processing power, memory and disk cache to handle the workload. One way to ensure you have enough CPU, memory and disk cache is to look for a vendor with published throughput benchmarks or a third-party test result. These benchmarks will help you determine how well the NGFW handles different throughput levels. Scalability is also a key factor for a good NGFW, as many organizations have multiple sites and locations that require security. The ability to scale the firewall across multiple sites is important because it can increase security while reducing costs and complexity by not having to buy, deploy, manage and replace appliances when the business expands or changes policies. Unlike traditional firewalls, which typically process traffic at only network and transport layers, NGFWs can look at several OSI model layers. It enables them to detect and block attacks that bypass network and transport-layer security. Another benefit of NGFWs is that they can perform packet filtering and deep packet inspection (DPI). It is crucial for detecting malware, as attackers use Layer 7 HTTP traffic to target networks.