To keep up with the rate of digitization, cybersecurity programmes desperately need to be modernised. Currently, only around 60% of a company’s business ecosystem is secured by a strong security perimeter. The other 40% is frequently exposed to data breaches, vulnerability exploitation, and targeted hacker attacks.
Given the company’s growing technical footprint, such an equation makes sense. This, however, is hardly acceptable. As a result, more complete cybersecurity solutions are becoming available. Next-generation firewalls are among them (NGFWs).
What are Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW)?
Next-generation firewall (NGFW) is a third-generation network security technology (hardware and software). It allows for detailed analysis of both inbound and outbound network traffic. NGFW solutions include add-on capabilities for application inspection, intrusion prevention and detection, and threat intelligence, in addition to typical dynamic packet filtering.
These characteristics make NGFWs more capable of protecting against APTs, malware, ransomware, and zero-day attacks, all of which are common in businesses of all sizes.
NGFW’s distinguishing qualities include the following:
- Advanced routers and software solutions in combination
- Enforcement of security policies on a finer scale
- Analyses of networking data in context
- Control and awareness of advanced applications
- Capabilities for integrated intrusion prevention and detection
- Global network visibility across users, hosts, networks, and applications
- Numerous deployment options
- Centralized management of security
- Reporting and visualisation of threats
Furthermore, ngfw aids in the collection of cybersecurity intelligence from sources beyond the firewall. This gives your cybersecurity staff more experience in defending all network users, regardless of where they are or what device they are using.
What are the distinctions between next-generation firewalls and old firewalls?
Firewalls were originally designed to control network traffic based on source/destination IP/network addresses, protocols, or source/destination port numbers. To get a go/no-go status, each incoming or leaving packet is subjected to an inspection check based on the aforementioned criteria. When it comes to ad hoc inspections, however, it’s a different storey.
The system is unable to comprehend the broader context of the sent content because each packet is evaluated independently.
This can inconveniently restrict user access to important resources (for example, if all corporate IPs are blocked for Twitter, your social media staff will be unable to post updates) while allowing more sophisticated threats to get through the door (e.g., such as man-in-the-middle attacks).
Stateful inspections, on the other hand, are supported by next-generation firewalls. This type of technology is capable of analysing the content of packets attempting to enter the network and identifying their functionality. A signature-based intrusion detection system (IDS) is also included in NGFW solutions, which analyses unusual patterns in network traffic and warns users to a breach attempt.
In comparison to standard firewalls, NGFWs allow for the implementation of more granular security rules for URL filtering, application access, and traffic shaping.
Finally, rather than standalone router devices and/or accompanying software, you should implement NGFW technology as a connecting network to security solutions (both hardware and software).
Organisations who stand to benefit the most from NGFW
Given the dramatic rise in cyber-attacks in recent years, almost every company may benefit from a next-generation firewall. Certain industries, on the other hand, are more exposed to long-term sophisticated threats. According to IBM’s X-Force Threat Intelligence Index, the following industries are targeted the most:
Financial services and insurance
Energy Retail Services Manufacturing. Government sHealthcare sMedia sTransportation sEducation sGovernment sHealthcare sHealthcare sHealthcare sHealthcare sHealthcare sHealthcare sHealthcare
Linux systems, operational technology, cloud environments, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices are all targets for hackers. The spread of ransomware and malware also surged last year. Unfortunately, the number of attacks is unlikely to go down anytime soon.
NGFW adoption can assist organisations in the aforementioned verticals greatly, since these systems offer a robust technique of preventing breaches through fine-grained policy management, simplified threat intelligence, and built-in malware protection.
Furthermore, suppliers of next-generation firewalls provide cost-effective pricing based on the size of your infrastructure, the capabilities required, and the deployment circumstances (on-premises or in the cloud). Smaller businesses in regulated industries may be able to afford such solutions, but larger multi-branch companies will certainly experience a faster return on investment.