Next-generation firewalls offer a new level of control and visibility. They deliver more granular policies by providing the ability to filter traffic based on application type and user identity, among other features. It enables businesses to identify a specific application and restrict access for certain groups of users. But it also presents new challenges for firewall administrators.
Next-generation firewalls (NGFWs) combine several security technologies into one platform to provide a unified solution. They include data inspection, application-level protection and intrusion prevention, and other features. NGFWs examine the data in network packets, going beyond port and protocol inspection to inspect all four TCP/IP communication layers (application, transport, IP/network, and hardware/data link). This deep-packet inspection provides application awareness, allowing them to compare transit patterns between applications. Another critical advantage of NGFWs is their ability to granularly monitor and block traffic at the application level, preventing attacks from malicious applications that could affect business-critical systems. NGFWs also integrate intrusion prevention (IPS), which analyzes traffic to identify threats, then automatically blocks them or sends an alert to administrators. The application-level capabilities of NGFWs also help to reduce network complexity. For example, NGFWs can use security features like IP fragmentation to break packets into smaller pieces that can travel across network links more easily without being detected by attackers. It helps to reduce network overhead and can increase bandwidth, minimizing the impact of an attack on an organization’s IT resources. NGFW offers more advanced security tools and capabilities than traditional firewalls. However, choosing the right one can be difficult if you don’t have robust IT security expertise or a comprehensive network infrastructure. Determining your business’s budget, needs, and personnel experience is the best way to address the issue.
Providing complete visibility into application connectivity flows is critical to network security. With visibility, administrators can effectively manage security policy and prevent a security hole from forming in their cloud architecture. In addition, application visibility allows network operators to identify unmanaged or unknown applications that are causing security holes. This capability can prevent a company from becoming a victim of shadow IT or being subjected to data breaches caused by cloud security issues.
NGFWs use deep packet inspection (DPI) to detect typical network applications based on data flow. It allows for more granular firewall policies and helps protect against threats targeting applications at layer 7 in the OSI model. However, DPI is only effective if it can inspect the packet body rather than just its headers. It requires the ability to collect and store significant traffic for analysis. Cloud traffic visibility is offered to extend application detection capabilities and quickly alert customers of new applications. It also allows NGFWs to proactively block attacks from specific application categories and keep your business safe. Next-generation firewalls can also perform deeper packet inspection to identify and block malware, phishing attacks, spyware and other threats from your network. Moreover, they can be integrated with third-party threat intelligence feeds to help identify new threats and attack sources in real-time. It enables them to react to threats before they impact your business, saving your company from costly and time-consuming attacks.
In today’s complex networks, the manual management of hundreds to thousands of change requests and security policies creates security, compliance and business agility challenges. There is an acute need for seamless, comprehensive, centralized security policy management to address these issues. One key area of security automation in next-generation firewall management is firewall rule management. NGFWs provide a dynamic, identity-based policy allowing administrators to define and manage objects once in a unified console, simplifying security operations. It also allows teams to automate repetitive tasks, employ shortcuts and reuse elements, and perform more effective security operations with reduced manual effort. NGFWs also provide greater visibility into the network and application so that admins can identify potential threats, including malicious web pages and code downloaded by users on the internal and external networks.
A key feature of next-generation firewalls is that they can inspect packets up to Layer 7 in the OSI model, which means that they can examine the contents of a packet rather than just the IP headers. It is critical for spotting attacks at the application layer, which is higher than the network and session layers.
NGFWs also offer features that protect against weaknesses in IP packet fragmentation and TCP segmentation, which allow attackers to send part of a packet to a different location than its original address without detection. It is especially critical for the granular protection of web traffic.
Next-generation firewalls offer the features organizations need to protect their networks and applications. They are a type of firewall that goes beyond traditional security features such as stateful packet inspection and policy enforcement. They include network-based intrusion detection, malware protection, and cloud-delivered threat intelligence.
NGFWs also support application awareness and control, which is critical to preventing advanced malware attacks. Additionally, many NGFWs can be integrated with cloud security to detect and block threats from public cloud services. However, a key challenge for many organizations is operationalizing threat intelligence within a next-gen firewall. Because a traditional next-gen firewall uses IPS signatures and IP reputation information to determine whether to allow or deny traffic, threat intelligence feeds are needed to maintain effective IPS detection. To effectively integrate threat intelligence, a next-gen firewall must be able to process a large volume of data quickly and easily. It is incredibly challenging for small and midsize businesses (SMBs) because of limited IT resources. The ability to operationalize threat intelligence is critical in ensuring next-gen firewalls keep pace with today’s constantly changing threats. This capability makes it easier to keep up with the latest attack techniques and malware strains.