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Why is everybody speaking about next-generation firewalls

NGFWs are here to stay, as Old Firewalls may not be sufficient anymore

Updated: October 27, 2021 By Hamna Imran

Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW)

Why do we need to strengthen perimeter firewalls?

Once, a small number of people only utilized the Internet due to its high cost and restricted information. Also, security was not an issue at that time.

A better technique for securing the corporate network was required as viruses and hackers got more motivated and sophisticated with time.

It is where next-generation firewalls are helpful. They can do deep packet inspection and assess data entering the network at Layer 7, the application layer of the OSI architecture.

Standard firewalls are no longer sufficient to defend businesses from Internet threats; new technologies such as next-generation and cloud-based firewalls are now available.

Advanced packet inspection devices can help you save time and money. Ensure that your gateways are secure.

In 2010 only 5-10% of the security devices deployed were next-generation firewalls. In 2015, 35% of installed firewalls were next generation. From 2020 to 2027, the Next-Generation Firewall Market is expected to develop at a CAGR of 12.65%: from USD 3.19 billion in 2019 to USD 7.74 billion in 2027.

Read on for more insight.

What is Next-Generation Firewall?

According to Gartner,

In addition to a port/protocol inspection and blocking, a next-generation firewall (NGFW) includes intrusion prevention, application-level inspection, and bringing intelligence from outside the firewall. District leaders and IT experts may use NGFWs to see what apps are doing rather than just what they are.

The initial generation of firewalls was quite rudimentary, providing only the bare minimum of network protection.

The next generation, on the other hand, is nothing like the one before it. This sort of firewall provides comprehensive protection against today's cyber dangers, such as viruses, hackers, spyware, ransomware, and other malware.

Some districts are using Next-generation firewalls to monitor network activity and secure data. Rather than merely analyzing objects at the TCP/IP level, next-generation firewalls give an in-depth approach to analyze and handle aspects, including the ability to inspect data within packets.

Lou Norman, technical solutions architect at Cisco

The NGFW is based on the concept that every gadget and network should have its firewall, allowing for a more comprehensive and detailed approach to security at the individual level yet providing network-wide protection.

Traditional firewall vs. next-generation firewall

Next-generation firewalls (NGFWs) are a more advanced version of traditional firewalls with enhanced features. Conventional and next-generation firewalls differ in several ways.

The most evident distinction is that an NGFW may inspect traffic depending on the application with which it is employed.

An NGFW has a lot of control and knowledge over the programs it can discover through signature matching and analysis.

To differentiate between safe and unwanted applications, you can use safelists or a signature-based detection approach, and then SSL decryption can be used to identify them.

Because things change so quickly in the security industry, everything you put to market is instantly out of date.

Lisa Plaggemier Interim Executive Director, National Cyber Security Alliance

When comparing the two models, the newer model provides better protection than the older one. A firewall like this may protect a wide range of devices, including PCs and mobile phones. Traditional firewalls can't prevent malware from gaining access to a network in the first place, and NGFWs can.

Threat prevention enforced by next-generation firewall

Threat prevention functions can be added to next-generation firewalls as an extension of their deep packet inspection capabilities.

They also inspect the traffic as it passes through the firewall device for known exploitation of existing vulnerabilities.

Files can be transferred off-device and examined in a virtual sandbox to detect harmful activity (sandbox security).

NGFW also includes email security, which guards against spam and other types of unwanted and unpleasant communications.

With the industry's first threat-focused NGFW, you can block more attacks and swiftly mitigate those that do get past your defenses.

Benefits of Next-Generation Firewalls: Boosting School's Security against Complex Threats

Enterprises are looking to next-generation firewalls for improved protection due to the complexity of recent cyberattacks and sophisticated hacking methods.

Every network expert should be aware of the top five benefits next-generation firewalls offer over older firewalls.

Multifunctional regarding security

Next-generation firewalls include integrated intrusion prevention systems (IPS) and intrusion detection systems (IDS) that identify assaults based on behavioral traffic analysis, abnormal activity, or threat signatures, in addition to all the features of traditional firewalls. This feature allows for a more thorough examination of network data and improved packet-content filtering up to the application layer.

Efficient Infrastructure

Every new danger necessitates the use of a different security appliance with a traditional firewall.

However, security protocols may be managed and updated from a single authorized device with the next-generation firewall.

NGFWs use a single device or console to deliver integrated antivirus, deep packet inspection, spam filtering, and application control.

There are no additional devices required, which reduces infrastructure complexity.

Optimal usage of network speed

As the number of security protocols and devices rises, the network speed of a traditional firewall decreases. It occurs because the dedicated network speed does not reach its full potential because of the increased number of security devices and services.

However, regardless of the number of devices or security protocols, you can always obtain the maximum throughput with the next-generation firewall.

Threat mitigation

NGFWs feature antivirus and malware protection automatically updated anytime new threats are identified, unlike traditional firewalls. The NGFW device also reduces the number of attack vectors by restricting the programs that run on it.

It then analyzes all the allowed apps for hidden vulnerabilities or data breaches and mitigates threats from unfamiliar apps.

It also aids in bandwidth reduction by removing any unnecessary traffic, which is impossible with traditional firewalls.

Awareness of the application

Firewalls generally block popular application ports or services on a network to manage application access and monitor risks. However, as network communication becomes more complicated, many programs use several or different ports, making classical firewalls exceedingly challenging to identify the targeted port.

Next-generation firewall devices track traffic from layer 2 to layer seven and can determine what is being delivered or received to combat this problem.

If the material complies with the policy, it is forwarded; otherwise, it is blocked.

Next-Generation Firewalls in the future

According to major NGFW suppliers, innovations are being developed to simplify the IT department's life while enhancing network security.

These firms are likewise committed to developing NGFW devices that satisfy the network security needs of businesses of all sizes.

By 2023, the worldwide NGFW market is anticipated to reach $4.69 billion. The largest market for IT security products is still expanding at an annual rate of approximately 8%.

Next-generation firewall market growth

Image source − marketersmedia.com

To stay up with today's sophisticated threats and fulfill the comprehensive adaptability and accessibility criteria, NGFW companies are investing a significant amount of time and money in Research and Development.

Threat intelligence that is current, open, continuous, adaptable, and automated is one of the primary characteristics that leading NGFW firms offer.

Top Next-Generation Firewalls

Most NGFWs are appliance-based, although others are offered as software packages that companies may install on their servers or as cloud-based SaaS. Most are modular, allowing a company to buy and activate features according to their unique needs and risks.

Which three traits are characteristics of a next-generation firewall?

The next generation of firewall security needs to include three things:

  • Power and Performance
  • Deep and Comprehensive Visibility Beyond the Application
  • Automation, Deep Inspection, and Application layer inspection

Keeping this criterion, below are some of the best next-generation firewalls available

Cisco Firepower

Because of its deep visibility and advanced security capabilities, you can use Cisco's Firepower Next-Generation Firewall as it prevents breaches and can quickly identify and eliminate stealthy attacks.

Small and medium businesses, corporations, government entities, and service providers can choose from various Cisco services. According to users, Cisco's Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) 500-X series of firewalls are good, easy to operate, and dependable.

Cisco logo

 Image source – wikipedia.org

Forcepoint

Forcepoint NGFW ensures that security, performance, and operations are consistent across virtual, physical, and cloud systems.

It was built from the bottom up with high availability and scalability in mind and integrated management and 360-degree visibility.

Forcepoint logo

Image source – barikat.com.tr

Palo Alto

Next-generation firewalls from Palo Alto Networks Inc. provide companies with comprehensive visibility and exact control over their network traffic while protecting them from unexpected threats. Palo Alto offers NGFW versions ranging from the PA-200 to the PA-7000.

Users on the Trust Radius review site claim the PA-800 series is simple to set up and that the firewall efficiently controls traffic.

Palo Alto logo

Image source – cci.calpoly.edu

Huawei

The Unified Security Gateway (USG) Next-Generation Firewalls from Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. provide complete security for small to midsize businesses and enterprise branch sites.

Huawei detects over 6,300 apps, analyzes service traffic in six dimensions, and produces security policy recommendations automatically to counteract risks.

Huawei logo

Image source – pngegg.com

Conclusion

Every day, threats to personal devices and more extensive networks evolve. An NGFW's versatility means it can defend your devices and your organization from a far more extensive range of threats. Although these firewalls are not the best answer for every organization, you should carefully evaluate the advantages that an NGFW may offer since they have a significant upside in most cases.

Now, what's next to the next-generation firewall? Companies are migrating away from Next-Generation Firewalls and towards a new firewall technology called the "Network Firewall" by Gartner as security risks continue to rise.

Network firewalls deliver real-time threat intelligence and other security services across the data center, cloud, mobile, endpoint, and IoT.

Stay curious; keep evolving.

Author
Hamna Imran
Cyber Security student and keen learner, writing articles for several other websites.

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