Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW)
Gartner defines next-generation firewalls as “deep-packet inspection firewalls that move beyond port/protocol inspection and blocking to add application-level inspection, intrusion prevention, and bringing intelligence from outside the firewall.”
A great example of a next-generation firewall is the Sophos XG which, among its other useful features, synchronizes your endpoint and firewall security in real time.
Generally, NGFWs are more feature-rich, and they combine many of the features that traditional firewalls are known for with the ability to conduct antivirus and malware scanning.
Unlike traditional firewalls, NGFWs can filter packets based on applications by using a signature-based IPS to distinguish between safe and malicious applications. They’re also the go-to device for SMBs, especially in office environments.
Difference Between NGFWs and Traditional Firewalls
NGFWs combine the standard features that come with traditional firewalls with the features mentioned below.
- Packet-filtering firewalls — Ensures that incoming and outgoing packets are properly inspected before being granted access.
- Circuit-level gateways — provides User Datagram Protocol (UDP) and Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) connection security. Monitors TCP data packet handshakes to inspect incoming traffic without consuming large amounts of time or resources.
- Stateful inspection firewalls — Can identify the operating state of packets as they’re attempting to gain access to your network, so it knows when they’re malicious or safe and can respond accordingly.
- Application-level gateways (a.k.a. proxy firewalls) — Detects and blocks attacks that would otherwise go unnoticed, such as those attacked to HTTP request strings.
- SSL packet inspection — Prevents the transmission of malware through encrypted connections.
- Reporting — Allows you to customize your reports to understand your network’s health and safety, identify applications that are at risk, and visualize CPU and memory usage.
- Anti-malware/Anti-virus — Synchronizes your firewall and endpoint security to protect against malware, viruses, and other more sophisticated cyberattacks.
- Site to site VPN — Can securely connect different workstations to a central office, granting company-wide access to a larger corporate network.
What are the core benefits of using next-generation firewalls?
- Reach prevention and advanced security — Obviously, the primary benefit of utilizing a next-generation firewall is to prevent breaches in your organization’s security. But it also has advanced capabilities that can quickly detect and isolate any malicious entities that just so happen to by-pass your front-line defenses.
- Comprehensive network visibility — Network visibility is critical to proper network security. A good next-generation firewall should give you a clear view of threat activity across users, hosts, networks, and your company devices. If a threat occurs, this benefit would, among other things, allow you to find out where a threat originated, it’s travel, and it’s the current position.
- Flexible management and deployment options — Your next-generation firewall can be configured to meet the specific unique requirements of your business. Deployment can be on-premise or on the cloud, you can choose from a variety of throughput speeds, and to access different features, you need only turn on different subscriptions.
- Fastest time to detection — Threats are detected within seconds, and you can customize alerts to prioritize certain threats over others.
- Automation and product integrations — You can integrate your NGFW with different tools from your vendor, and automation enables the sharing of all kinds of information relevant to your network security.
We recommend getting a next-generation firewall like the Sophos XG, but unless you have members on your team who know how to properly maintain and make use of its vast array of features, you won’t be making the most out of the amazing tool.
Instead of dealing with the headache and costs that come with training new or current employees to manage your network security, why not hand the task over to an MSP like Commprise?
Our Managed Security Services is ready to provide your business with the technologies, insight, and oversight that your organization needs to stay ahead in the modern business landscape.
Of course, your network security isn’t merely a technological problem, it’s a people problem, as well.
Not only will we make sure your next-generation firewall is up to date to protect against the new threats, but we’ll also work with your team to keep them up to speed on the security best practices and provide comprehensive security awareness training.