In the past when fires were fought, people used traditional means like fire extinguishers and water hoses.
Translating this to the virtual world of computing — a cloud firewall is akin to the digital ‘fire extinguisher’ and ‘hose.’ It is a tool designed to stop, slow, or prevent unauthorized access to or from a private network.
It inspects incoming and outgoing traffic, based on predetermined security rules. They can be a standalone system or incorporated into other network components.
In technical words, it acts as a barrier between on-premises networks and external networks.
Cloud firewalls are often deployed in a ‘perimeter’ security model — where they act as the first line of defense against cyber threats. This includes protection against DDoS attacks, SQL injections, and cross-site scripting.
In this section, we’ll discuss the benefits of using a cloud firewall over traditional ones.
Traditional firewalls can’t keep pace as your network grows — their hardware limitations bound them.
On the other hand, a cloud firewall can easily adapt and expand in line with your business needs. Because it’s cloud-based, scaling does not require any additional hardware investment or complex configurations.
Be it on-site installation, maintenance, or upgrading, cloud firewalls wipe out all those physical processes, saving you time and resources.
Unlike traditional firewalls that rely on singular hardware systems and can fail, cloud firewalls are designed for high availability. Their decentralization means that even if one part fails, the rest continue to operate, ensuring constant protection.
Being cloud-based, they can also balance the load during peak traffic times to prevent slowdowns or outages.
For instance — during an attack like DDoS when the traffic dramatically increases, a cloud firewall can distribute the traffic across multiple servers. This ensures that your systems remain accessible and functional.
Cloud-based firewalls are not just scalable and highly available — they are also highly extensible.
This means that you can easily integrate them with other security features or services — such as Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS), Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS), and Secure Web Gateways (SWG) — to create a solid security system.
Release updates and patches can be applied automatically, ensuring that the security is always up-to-date.
When it comes to identity protection, cloud firewalls reign supreme.
They can identify and control application access on a per-user basis. This means that if unauthorized access is attempted, it can be immediately identified and blocked, providing extra security to your sensitive information.
Along with that, they can also provide an audit trail so that attempted breaches can be traced back to their origins. This info is beneficial for investigating cyber crimes and strengthening your cybersecurity strategy in the long run.
Sometimes, it’s not just about blocking harmful traffic, but also about prioritizing useful traffic.
Cloud firewalls enable performance management by prioritizing network traffic and providing quality of service (QoS) capabilities.
This can be handy during peak usage times or when certain services require higher bandwidth.
For instance, a cloud firewall can prioritize the traffic for certain high-demand resources, ensuring uninterrupted access and excellent performance. As a result, end users experience less lag and appreciate better service.
Moreover, the firewall can be programmed to give a higher priority to certain types of workloads or specific applications, like Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) or video streaming services.
Remote work is another area where cloud firewalls shine.
Cloud firewalls enable a consistent security policy across all locations and users, no matter where they’re accessing from. This ensures that remote workers are just as protected as on-site ones.
Also, you get comprehensive visibility and control over all network traffic, and thanks to their cloud nature — updates can be pushed globally.
Migration — in particular to the cloud — can be a risky process in terms of security. The necessity to move data from one place to another can expose it to potential threats. Cloud firewalls eliminate these concerns.
Due to their inherent design, they provide end-to-end security during data migration. The data is protected at the source, during transit, and at the destination. This ensures a secure and seamless cloud migration process.
It’s like having a secure convoy for your data as it travels.
There are four major types of cloud firewalls which can be broadly categorized as — SaaS Firewalls/Firewall as a service (FWaaS), Next-generation Firewall (NGFW), Public Cloud Firewall, and Web Application Firewall (WAF).
SaaS Firewalls, or Firewall as a Service, operate directly in the cloud. Offering security as a service — they are a scalable, flexible, and cost-effective solution.
Next-Generation Firewalls represent the evolution in firewall technology, designed to go beyond traditional firewall functions.
Public cloud firewalls are built within public cloud infrastructures like AWS, Google Cloud, and Azure to provide a layer of security control.
A Web Application Firewall specifically protects web applications by filtering, monitoring, and blocking HTTP traffic that could exploit vulnerabilities in these applications.
How do cloud firewalls compare to other network security approaches? See how they compare to virtual firewall appliances, IP-based network security policies, and security groups.
Despite brands like Cisco, Juniper, and Fortinet making a strong push for them, virtual firewall appliances don’t fit in a work environment that is heavily cloud-based.
IP-based network security policies have traditionally been used in many organizations. However, they also have shortcomings when compared to cloud firewalls.
Lastly, security groups, while being a crucial part of network security in a cloud-based environment, fall short compared to cloud firewalls on several fronts.
It’s evident, compared to the other network security approaches, cloud firewalls provide superior flexibility, scalability, visibility, and control.
SASE is a concept introduced by Gartner that stands for Secure Access Service Edge. It combines network security and wide area networking (WAN) capabilities in a single cloud-based service.
Cloud-based firewalls fit wonderfully into this framework as they provide network security enforcement. Below’s how.
Organizations across the globe are transitioning to a cloud-first strategy. Perimeter 81 can assist you in this journey. Our Firewall-as-a-Service model provides security, scalability, and simplicity that is unmatched in the industry. Learn more here!