next generation firewalls
Before jumping into the Next Generation Firewall, let’s start the simple meaning of the Firewall. I think our readers have already known various meanings of why we use the Firewall. However, the simplest meaning of using Firewalls is to filter the traffic between good ones and unwanted ones which are going inside our organization network. Last decade ago, organizations used layer-4 Firewalls known as traditional stateful Firewalls. Nowadays, organizations start to choose Next-Generation enterprise Firewalls that can provide new features and functionality allowing them to inspect traffic at a much finer level.
Let’s continue to extensive features of Next-Generation Firewalls.
➡ Intrusion Prevention System (IPS)
NGFW is equipped to address the broader spectrum of intrusion by adding IPS system. It consists of threat Intelligence System (TI) in IPS. Some of the next-generation Firewall providers connect their NGFW with their own TI system with examples – AMP cloud for Cisco Firepower and Wildfire for Palo Alto Next-Generation Firewalls. TI system always provides updated attack behavior and malware signatures to Firewalls as TI feeds. That’s why Next-Generation Firewalls not only know updated signatures of attack traffic but also block known/ unknown threats included in downloaded files or Apps.
➡ Deep Packet Inspection (DPI)
This technology goes beyond just the inspection of packet headers to search for and block known threats within traffic packets. It is easier to manage for security engineers as they can pre-define the inspection point to block unwanted packets.
➡ SSL Inspection
NGFW also has the next proper protection for sophisticated threat landscape. Some traffic encrypts threat signatures in SSL traffic. Next-Generation Firewall can be able to inspect encrypted traffic to stop known threats by using SSL decryption.
➡ Application Awareness
Traditional Firewalls typically block common application ports or services on a network to control application access and monitor specific threats. However, network connectivity becoming more complex, several applications use multiple or various ports, making it extremely difficult for traditional firewalls to identify the targeted port. To counter this, Next-Generation Firewall devices monitor traffic from layer 2 through layer 7. This means that these Firewalls can filter application traffic to a much finer level. For examples, we can allow Facebook App using but block Facebook chatting and next one is allowing Skype voice-over-IP but blocking file sharing via Skype App. After we’ve all known new features of Next-Generation Firewalls in a comprehensive view, let’s think about NGFW competitors.
➡ Vendor Selection
If we use NGFW security product in our organization, there has a question on how to choose one of NGFW competitors in the current market. This solution is to check the Gartner Chart. We can use a Gartner Magic Quadrant as the first step to understanding which NGFW providers we should consider for a specific investment opportunity. A Magic Quadrant provides a graphical competitive positioning of four types of technology providers based on the provider’s market vision, provider differentiation, and market growth.
➡ Gartner’s latest 2018 Magic
Quadrant listed Palo Alto Networks (PA), Cisco, Fortinet and Check Point Software Technologies as leaders in Next-Generation Firewall market. Among them, Palo Alto Firewall market got in higher point than other market leaders. This means that PA can provide more powerful features and has the ability to execute better than other NGFW providers. Although Cisco, Fortinet and Check Point Firewalls cannot provide new features as much as PA, they’ve got the market leader place trusted by customers. Gartner named Huawei as Challenger in the market. Sophos, Juniper Networks, Barracuda, Sangfor and Watchguard were in niche players quadrant. As they are niche players, they can support better customer requirements than some market leaders. In last visionaries’ quadrant, Forcepoint had to stand alone as a mid-sized pure-play security vendor that offers not just an NGFW, but also web and email security platforms. After checking this Gartner chart, users can evaluate the right provider for their business goals.
2018: Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Firewalls
I would like to recommend that next-generation firewalls are the most suitable security products for today’s organizational networks as soon as threat landscape and attacks are more complex.
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