FWAAS vs NGFW: Which One’s Best for You?


Today, ensuring robust cybersecurity measures is paramount for businesses of all sizes. Choosing the right firewall solution is at the heart of this endeavor, and the decision often boils down to two prominent choices: Firewall-as-a-Service (FWaaS) and Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW). 

To navigate this intricate decision-making process effectively, it’s crucial to understand the key distinctions between these options. This article walks you through the key differentiators to help you make an informed choice for your business’s security infrastructure. 

For a comprehensive glossary of essential cybersecurity terms, you can refer to resources like Perimeter 81’s glossary, which offers in-depth insights into Firewall-as-a-Service

What is a Firewall and What Does it Do?

A firewall is a fundamental component of any robust cybersecurity strategy, acting as a critical barrier that stands between your network and potential threats. Essentially, it functions as a gatekeeper, monitoring incoming and outgoing network traffic, and making decisions about whether to allow or block it based on a set of predetermined security rules. 

Its primary purpose is to protect your network from unauthorized access and cyberattacks, effectively serving as a shield against a wide array of threats, including malware, hackers, and other malicious entities. 

Firewalls come in various forms, including hardware and software solutions, as well as cloud-based implementations, each tailored to specific security needs. Check out our guide for a deeper dive into the types and functionalities of firewalls, where we delve into the intricacies of firewall technology and its pivotal role in safeguarding your digital assets.

What Is Fwaas (Firewall as a Service)?

FWaaS is a cutting-edge cybersecurity solution that has gained significant traction in recent years. At its core, FWaaS is a cloud-based firewall service provided by specialized cybersecurity vendors. This service effectively shifts the paradigm of traditional on-premises firewalls, delivering a more flexible and scalable security approach.

FWaaS offers a range of advantages, such as seamless scalability, simplified management, and enhanced threat protection. It operates on a subscription-based model, making it a cost-effective choice for businesses of all sizes. 

As the business world continues to adapt to evolving cybersecurity challenges, Firewall as a Service has emerged as a game-changing solution.

Why is FWaaS Important?

With the internet becoming the lifeline of most organizations, it’s essential to maintain a robust security posture, and FWaaS plays a pivotal role in achieving this. It allows companies to filter and inspect network traffic in real time, ensuring that only legitimate and safe data passes through, thus reducing the risk of malware, data breaches, and other malicious activities.

Another critical reason for the importance of FWaaS is its adaptability and scalability. Traditional firewall solutions often require significant investments in hardware and maintenance. FWaaS, on the other hand, is cloud-based, making it cost-effective and flexible. It can effortlessly scale with your business as it grows, eliminating the need for costly hardware upgrades and maintenance. 

Moreover, FWaaS simplifies network management and ensures that security measures remain up to date. It empowers organizations to maintain a proactive approach to cybersecurity, thereby safeguarding sensitive data and preserving the integrity of their operations. 

Difference Between FWaaS and a Regular Firewall

The fundamental difference between FWaaS and a regular, traditional firewall lies in their deployment and operational models. 

As briefly mentioned above, regular firewalls are typically hardware-based, installed on-premises, and are designed to protect a specific physical location, like an office. They often require substantial upfront investment in hardware, ongoing maintenance, and expertise for configuration.

In contrast, FWaaS is a cloud-based solution delivered as a service. It provides the flexibility to protect data and resources both within traditional office settings and in cloud-based environments. FWaaS eliminates the need for physical hardware and offers a more scalable, cost-effective approach. 

Another key distinction is the management of these systems. Traditional firewalls necessitate hands-on management, updates, and rule configurations by IT teams. In contrast, FWaaS service providers often handle the maintenance, updates, and monitoring, allowing businesses to focus on their core operations.

FWaaS streamlines the process of adapting to evolving threats and regulations by providing automatic updates and quick scalability, reducing the burden on internal IT staff. This makes FWaaS an attractive choice for businesses aiming to bolster their cybersecurity posture without the complexities associated with traditional firewalls.

Why Do You Need FWaaS?

As businesses increasingly adopt cloud-based technologies and remote work models, the need for a more adaptable, scalable, and cost-effective security solution becomes apparent. FWaaS provides this much-needed flexibility, offering businesses the ability to extend robust security measures to a dispersed workforce and diverse network environments.

FWaaS streamlines processes by centralizing management, automating updates, and allowing IT teams to focus on strategic tasks rather than routine maintenance. By embracing FWaaS, businesses can not only enhance their security posture but also reduce the operational burden associated with traditional firewall solutions, making it a pivotal element of a modern cybersecurity strategy.

What is NGFW (next-generation firewall)?

A Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) is an advanced network security solution that extends beyond the capabilities of traditional firewalls. It integrates features like application-layer filtering, intrusion detection and prevention, deep packet inspection, and advanced threat protection. NGFWs are designed to provide enhanced security by identifying and mitigating a wide range of modern cyber threats, including malware, zero-day vulnerabilities, and sophisticated attack techniques. They play a crucial role in safeguarding networks and data in today’s ever-evolving digital landscape.

Why is NGFW Outdated?

Traditional on-premises firewalls were conceived to protect corporate offices with most work taking place within these physical spaces. However, the shift towards cloud services, remote work, and a ubiquitous internet presence has rendered these legacy firewalls inadequate.

These traditional firewalls, often represented by Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFWs), struggle to adapt to the changing network demands and the evolving threat landscape. They were not designed with the cloud in mind and are unsuitable for the dispersed and decentralized nature of today’s workforce.

In contrast, FWaaS leverages the cloud’s inherent flexibility and scalability to provide advanced security measures, ensuring that organizations can secure data, endpoints, and cloud applications in an agile and adaptive manner. FWaaS doesn’t just virtualize the traditional firewall; it revolutionizes the approach to network security, allowing centralized management, scalability, and more effective threat detection. 

Furthermore, the inherent limitations of NGFWs are evident in their inability to efficiently handle cloud applications, SSL-encrypted traffic, and the sheer volume of modern cyber threats. Traditional firewall solutions can’t effectively scale to support the dynamic and distributed nature of contemporary networks, making them an outdated choice in today’s cybersecurity landscape.

In contrast, FWaaS solutions, designed for the cloud from the ground up, offer dynamic scalability, the capability to inspect SSL/TLS traffic at scale, and better protection against modern cyberattacks. FWaaS’s centralized management, granular security policies, and cloud-native architecture provide superior protection for organizations in the cloud era.

As businesses increasingly adopt cloud infrastructure and require enterprise firewall capabilities across diverse locations, FWaaS emerges as the clear choice to address the limitations of NGFWs and enhance network security in the age of remote work and cloud computing.

Cloud Firewalls vs. Traditional Firewalls

As businesses increasingly transition to cloud-based infrastructure and remote work becomes the norm, the debate between cloud firewalls and traditional firewalls takes center stage. In this comparison, we’ll delve into four crucial aspects to help you make an informed choice that aligns with the dynamic needs of the digital age.

Setup and Deployment

Cloud firewalls are renowned for their rapid and straightforward deployment, often requiring minimal hardware and in-house expertise. Traditional firewalls, on the other hand, typically demand complex setup, involving physical hardware installation and configuration. Cloud firewalls offer an agile approach, allowing businesses to secure their network environments swiftly, making them ideal for organizations seeking quick and hassle-free solutions.


Cloud firewalls ease the burden of maintenance, as updates and patch management are often handled by service providers. Traditional firewalls necessitate meticulous in-house management, involving regular hardware maintenance, software updates, and the coordination of outage windows. Cloud firewalls offer businesses a maintenance-free experience, freeing up resources for other critical IT tasks.


Cloud firewalls outshine traditional firewalls in terms of scalability, easily adapting to the evolving needs of an organization. Traditional firewalls, constrained by physical hardware, can become bottlenecks as network demands grow. With cloud firewalls, scaling is as simple as adjusting configurations, making them the preferred choice for businesses experiencing growth or changes in network requirements.


Cloud firewalls inherently offer high availability by distributing security services across data centers, reducing the risk of a single point of failure. Traditional firewalls, predominantly tied to on-premises locations, may suffer from availability issues in the event of hardware failures or network disruptions. Cloud firewalls ensure consistent protection, even during unforeseen outages, making them a dependable choice for uninterrupted security in an interconnected digital world.

FWaaS vs NGFW: Comparing Key Differences in Network Security Solutions

Below, we break down the essential differences between FWaaS and NGFW:

1. Deployment and Accessibility

FWaaS leverages the cloud to deliver security services, enabling easy and rapid deployment across geographically dispersed networks. Users can access the firewall service from virtually anywhere, making it an ideal choice for organizations with remote workers or distributed network environments.

NGFWs, typically hardware-based, require on-premises installation, which can be cumbersome and time-consuming. They are primarily accessible from fixed physical locations, making them less suitable for modern, mobile workforces and cloud-centric operations.

2. Scalability

FWaaS excels in scalability, with the cloud’s inherent flexibility enabling organizations to adjust resources and security measures as needed. It offers an agile approach, accommodating network growth or changes in demand without the need for costly hardware upgrades.

NGFWs, constrained by physical hardware, may face limitations when it comes to scaling to meet evolving network requirements. Extending or upgrading traditional firewalls can be resource-intensive and less adaptable to fluctuating needs.

3. Maintenance and Updates

FWaaS providers typically handle maintenance and updates, reducing the burden on in-house IT teams. This cloud-native approach ensures that the firewall remains up to date with the latest threat intelligence and security patches, enhancing overall protection.

Traditional NGFWs demand meticulous in-house management, including hardware maintenance, software updates, and coordination of outage windows. This can strain IT resources and divert attention from strategic tasks.

4. Advanced Threat Protection

FWaaS often integrates advanced security features like deep packet inspection, intrusion prevention systems (IPS), and threat prevention, providing robust protection against modern cyber threats. Its cloud-native architecture is built to address contemporary security challenges.

While NGFWs offer security measures, they may lack the agility to keep pace with rapidly evolving threats and sophisticated attack techniques. Their capabilities might not be as comprehensive as those of FWaaS, leaving potential vulnerabilities in the network.

5. Cost and Budget Considerations

FWaaS typically operates on a subscription-based model, eliminating significant upfront hardware costs. This cost-effective approach makes it an attractive option for organizations with budget constraints.

Traditional NGFWs involve substantial upfront investments in hardware, ongoing maintenance, and associated operational expenses. This can strain the budget, especially for smaller businesses.

6. Remote Workforce and Cloud Integration

With the rise of remote work and cloud-based operations, FWaaS seamlessly adapts to these modern workplace paradigms. It ensures consistent security measures regardless of users’ locations or connection methods.

NGFWs may struggle to extend their security services to remote workers or cloud-based applications. Their effectiveness diminishes in these scenarios, potentially leaving security gaps.

Deployment and AccessibilityLeverages the cloud for easy deployment and accessibility from anywhereOn-premises installation, primarily accessible from fixed physical locations
ScalabilityHighly scalable with cloud flexibility, no costly hardware upgrades neededLimited scalability due to physical hardware constraints, may require resource-intensive upgrades
Maintenance and UpdatesFWaaS providers handle maintenance and updates, reducing IT burdenRequires meticulous in-house management, including hardware and software updates
Advanced Threat ProtectionOffers advanced security features for modern threatsMay lack the agility to keep pace with rapidly evolving threats, potentially less comprehensive protection
Cost and Budget ConsiderationsOperates on a cost-effective subscription modelInvolves substantial upfront hardware costs and ongoing expenses
Remote Workforce and Cloud IntegrationAdapts seamlessly to remote work and cloud-based operationsStruggles to extend security services to remote workers and cloud applications, potentially leaving security gaps

In conclusion, choosing between FWaaS and NGFW hinges on the specific needs and dynamics of your organization. FWaaS leverages the cloud’s advantages, providing scalability, accessibility, and advanced threat protection. Meanwhile, NGFWs may still have a place in traditional, on-premises environments but may face limitations when dealing with the requirements of today’s digitally transformed, cloud-centric, and mobile workforce.

Advantages of Firewall as a Service (FWaaS)

FWaaS offers a wealth of advantages that are transforming the way organizations approach network security. From DNS security and control to modernized network architecture support, it revolutionizes network protection in the digital age.

  • DNS Security and Control: FWaaS enhances DNS security by protecting against malicious domains and optimizing DNS resolution, ensuring a safer, smoother online experience and safeguarding against DNS tunneling, a common attack vector.
  • Proxy-Based Architecture: Employing a proxy-based architecture, FWaaS dynamically inspects traffic for all users, devices, and applications. It can natively inspect SSL/TLS traffic at scale, enabling the detection of malware concealed in encrypted data, while facilitating granular firewall policies based on multiple parameters.
  • Visibility and Simplified Management: FWaaS provides real-time visibility into network traffic, offering centralized management from a single console. It logs every session in detail, employs advanced analytics to correlate events, and offers insights into threats and vulnerabilities, simplifying security administration.
  • Cloud IPS: A cloud-based Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) ensures constant threat protection across connection types and locations, even for hard-to-inspect SSL traffic, delivering full visibility into user, app, and internet connections.
  • Zero-Trust Ready: Integrating seamlessly with the Zero Trust framework, FWaaS empowers organizations to bring security policies to users at their endpoints in line with the secure access service edge (SASE) framework, an essential approach in the era of remote work.
  • Unified Security Policy: FWaaS allows the creation of unified security policies spanning multiple layers, encompassing network apps, cloud apps, domain names (FQDN), and URLs, ensuring consistent, comprehensive protection.
  • Simpler Deployment and Maintenance: FWaaS simplifies deployment, reducing the complexity associated with physical installations. Moreover, it offloads maintenance, updates, and patch management to service providers, minimizing in-house management requirements.
  • Better Scalability: FWaaS can easily adapt to changing network demands, offering scalability without the need for costly hardware upgrades, accommodating network growth and evolving requirements.
  • Boosted Flexibility: FWaaS provides the flexibility to secure data, endpoints, and cloud applications across a dynamic and geographically dispersed environment, making it suitable for organizations with diverse network structures.
  • Global Reach: With a global presence, FWaaS ensures consistent, dependable security measures across international locations, offering comprehensive protection for global enterprises.
  • Modernized Network Architecture Support: FWaaS supports modern network architectures, ensuring alignment with contemporary networking paradigms, including remote work, cloud services, and software-defined solutions.
  • Simplified Network Architecture: FWaaS streamlines network architectures, eliminating the need for extensive hardware, and offering a simplified, agile approach to securing network environments.
  • Better Network Visibility: FWaaS offers improved network visibility, allowing organizations to monitor, analyze, and respond to network traffic more effectively, enhancing threat detection and incident response capabilities.

Challenges of Firewall as a Service 

While Firewall as a Service (FWaaS) offers numerous advantages, it also presents a set of challenges that organizations should consider when evaluating its adoption. These challenges include considerations related to internet connectivity, customization, data privacy, vendor reliability, and more.

  • Internet Connectivity Dependence: FWaaS relies on internet connectivity, which can introduce potential vulnerabilities and latency issues. Organizations need to ensure robust and consistent internet access to maintain continuous protection.
  • Limited Customization Control: FWaaS solutions may have limitations in terms of customization compared to traditional firewalls. Businesses with highly specific security requirements may find it challenging to tailor FWaaS to their exact needs.
  • Data Privacy Issues: Storing and processing data in the cloud raises data privacy and compliance concerns. Organizations need to carefully assess the jurisdiction and regulations where their FWaaS provider operates to ensure data privacy compliance.
  • Vendor Reliability: Organizations depend on FWaaS providers for their security infrastructure. If a vendor experiences downtime or disruptions, it can affect the organization’s security posture and network operations.
  • Setup Difficulty: While FWaaS simplifies deployment compared to traditional firewalls, setting it up may still pose challenges for organizations unfamiliar with cloud-based security solutions. Adequate training and expertise are necessary for a smooth implementation.
  • Long-Term Costs: Although FWaaS often eliminates upfront hardware costs, long-term subscription expenses can accumulate over time. Businesses should conduct a cost-benefit analysis to ensure it aligns with their budget and security needs.
  • Low Visibility in Local Network Activities: FWaaS, being cloud-based, may offer less visibility into local network activities within an organization’s premises. This can affect monitoring and incident response capabilities for activities that don’t traverse the cloud.
  • Existing Systems Integration: Integrating FWaaS with existing systems and applications can be a complex task. Compatibility issues and potential disruptions during integration need to be addressed carefully.

It’s important to weigh these challenges against the advantages of FWaaS to make an informed decision that aligns with an organization’s specific security requirements and operational considerations.

When is FWaaS Suitable for Your Company?

When should you consider adopting Firewall as a Service (FWaaS)? Well, it’s evident that hardware firewalls often pose budgetary and operational challenges for many companies. FWaaS, in contrast, provides a streamlined solution that facilitates uniform resource access for employees across various devices, ensuring scalability regardless of your organization’s size.

If you find yourself routing remote user traffic back to a central location to meet security requirements, or if your user access predominantly hinges on either private or public cloud services and internally hosted servers, FWaaS offers a compelling alternative to simplify management and enhance scalability with a unified security policy.

Is your current firewall primarily designed for in-house users, and you’re now transitioning to supporting remote users? FWaaS can bridge this gap by offering local and cloud integration, delivering comprehensive network visibility to meet evolving needs.

Moreover, if you seek robust protection against Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks, FWaaS can align with your requirements. It’s also an excellent choice if you desire control over versioning and updates to your firewall software, allowing you to thoroughly test updates before implementing them in your production environment.

Deciding Between FWaaS and NGFW

Ultimately, the choice between FWaaS and traditional firewalls hinges on the unique needs and dynamics of each organization. FWaaS shines with its cloud-native agility, simplified management, scalability, and comprehensive threat protection, making it a compelling choice for modern businesses navigating the complexities of remote work, cloud integration, and dynamic network architectures.

However, it’s essential to weigh the advantages against the challenges to determine the right fit for a specific organization. While FWaaS offers numerous benefits, it also introduces considerations related to internet connectivity, customization, data privacy, and vendor reliability. 

Ultimately, the suitability of FWaaS depends on the organization’s alignment with cloud-based operations, commitment to modern security practices, and the need for simplified, cost-effective network security measures. For more insights on FWaaS and best practices, explore here


What is the difference between NGFW and WAF?
While both NGFWs and WAFs serve as critical network functions, they operate at distinct traffic interaction points. Visualize an NGFW as the gateway to a hotel, while the WAF functions as the key to an individual hotel room. NGFWs oversee network-wide traffic, while WAFs specifically safeguard the application layer, ensuring a comprehensive defense strategy.
What is the difference between NGFW and a firewall?
Simply put, NGFWs feature multiple layers of security, fortifying defenses against advanced threats. What sets them apart is their ability to transcend the limited static inspection of traditional firewalls, offering dynamic application-level control for enhanced security.
What is FWaaS in cloud computing?
Firewall as a Service (FWaaS) is a cloud-based security solution offering hyper-scalable, next-generation firewall (NGFW) features. This comprehensive service encompasses web filtering, advanced threat protection (ATP), intrusion prevention systems (IPS), and Domain Name System (DNS) security, delivering a robust suite of network defenses.
What are the benefits of FWaaS?
FWaaS streamlines traffic routing through a single firewall, facilitating the enforcement of consistent and unified security policies across an organization’s entire network with exceptional ease.