A next-generation firewall (NGFW) is part of the 3rd generation of firewall technology. It surpasses traditional firewalls, combining various network functions such as application firewalls, deep packet inspection (DPI), and intrusion prevention systems (IPS).
Additional techniques include encrypted traffic inspection, website filtering, and antivirus checks bolstered by third-party identity management integration and SSL decryption.
In comparison, NGFWs encompass traditional firewall features like packet filtering, NAT, stateful inspection, and VPN support, but they expand into OSI model layers for more precise traffic filtering.
NGFWs incorporate intrusion prevention and application control, conducting thorough packet payload analysis and signature matching to counter exploits and malware.
The threat environment has evolved, with web-based malware, targeted, and application-layer attacks, leading to the ineffectiveness of port-based protection. NGFWs offer refined control over applications, enabling rule-setting for network access.
This identity-based security approach advances beyond traditional IP-address-bound security, providing enhanced awareness and control over applications within the network.
Next-generation firewall specifications vary but generally include the following:
The benefits of an NGFW include the following:
In summary, NGFWs offer comprehensive and dynamic security features that go beyond traditional firewalls, providing effective protection against the diverse and sophisticated threats that businesses face in today’s digital landscape.
Traditional firewalls protect enterprise networks by inspecting and blocking traffic based on ports and protocols, primarily focusing on the data link and transport layers (layers 2 and 4 of the OSI model).
In the past, this static method was effective since the IT environment was less complex, and applications were commonly associated with specific ports. However, as the IT landscape has evolved into a more dynamic and intricate ecosystem, this approach has shown limitations in effectively countering advanced security threats.
Today, increasingly sophisticated threats demand a more intelligent and adaptable security solution. This is where next-generation firewalls come into play. Unlike their traditional counterparts, next-gen firewalls exhibit a higher level of intelligence.
They can analyze and filter packets not just based on simple port and protocol information but also on the application layer (layer 7 of the OSI model). Moreover, they can make fine-grained differentiations based on network traffic behavior, allowing for more precise and effective threat detection and prevention.
One of the distinguishing features of next-generation firewalls is their ability to tap into external sources of data to recognize emerging threats and patterns.
By integrating external threat intelligence, these firewalls remain updated with the latest information about potential risks, enabling them to proactively identify and thwart attackers. This adaptive and flexible approach marks a significant departure from the generic methodologies employed by traditional firewalls.
Next-generation firewalls offer a smarter, more adaptable, and more effective defense strategy against modern cybersecurity challenges.
When considering a next-generation firewall, here’s a list of our top 20 features to look for to ensure advanced security, rapid threat detection, comprehensive visibility, and seamless integration within your security infrastructure:
As technology evolves and cyber threats become more sophisticated, the role of firewalls in safeguarding organizations’ digital assets has become increasingly vital. While effective in their time, traditional firewalls are now faced with challenges beyond their scope.
NextGen Firewalls have advanced features that provide comprehensive protection against modern threats. With capabilities like application-level security, deep packet inspection, intrusion prevention, and dynamic threat intelligence integration, NGFWs represent a paradigm shift in network defense.
Perimeter81’s cutting-edge NextGen Firewall solutions offer a holistic approach to threat detection and prevention, providing breach prevention, advanced malware protection, comprehensive visibility, flexible deployment, and seamless integration. Take the next step in securing your network — explore our NextGen Firewall solutions today.