Given the abbreviation NGFW, Next Generation Firewalls are rapidly becoming one of the most critical features of any cybersecurity defense. These newer types of firewalls go far beyond the older, traditional port-based firewalls to include multi-purpose security defenses and identity-based application controls. While NGFW does lack a certified definition, there are a number of real benefits this security equipment has that is unrivaled by the conventional alternatives.
With the sophistication of modern threats, at a minimum your business needs to be armed with a Next Generation Firewall with built in IPS, threat intelligence and protection and wireless security. By covering most of these security bases without deploying too many point products, an NGFW can increase the complexity of management and maintenance. Implementing Next Generation Firewalls can also reduce your total-cost-of-ownership (TCO) by consolidating several of your existing technologies into a single solution.
What’s The Difference?Why aren’t a traditional firewalls good enough? Rather than acting as a simple wall to your network, NGFWs have the unique ability to investigate your network traffic at a much finer level. With the ability to inspect network packet signatures, detect anomalies, and even scan for malicious data on deeper levels, NGFWs can act as a gatekeeper, protecting your network rather than just keeping the most overt attacks out.
What Makes A Firewall Next Generation?
- NGFWs must have standard firewall features such as network address translation, stateful inspection, VPN and be suited for the large enterprise.
- The intrusion-prevention system needs to be “truly integrated” with the firewall.
- There’s an “application-awareness” capability to recognize applications and set controls.
- An “extra-firewall” intelligence can bring in information to help make decisions; examples would be reputation analysis, integration with Active Directory, or useful blocking or vulnerability lists.