NGFWs combine traditional firewall functionality with advanced security systems to offer a powerful network protection solution. Combining these capabilities into one system helps companies reduce infrastructural complexities and improve device throughput. For example, an NGFW includes an intrusion prevention system (IPS) that can detect malicious activity by matching threat signatures or spotting anomalous behavior. It also enables centralized management of multiple devices and services.
Advanced Threat Protection
Unlike traditional firewalls, NGFWs include advanced security features that work like a multi-tool. Typically, they are part of a UTM system that includes functions for antivirus software and other security tools to provide a multilayered defense against cyberattacks. To further understand its benefits, it’s essential to understand what is a next generation firewall. A next-generation firewall (NGFW) is a security solution that combines multiple threat detection and prevention measures into a single device. It has been developed to address the advanced Gen V cyberattacks that have become a real threat to corporate systems. The key advantage of an NGFW is that it can scan data at layer 7 of the OSI model, which allows it to examine the actual application being transmitted instead of just a port number. This helps identify and stop web-based threats that could otherwise bypass traditional firewalls, such as ransomware.
Additionally, NGFWs often combine their internal threat intelligence with external sources to boost their effectiveness at spotting emerging threats. The advanced threat protection capabilities of an NGFW allow for fine-grained policy management, streamlined threat intelligence and built-in malware protection. These features are essential to a comprehensive digital security strategy, especially for companies operating in regulated industries and relying on cloud environments.
Layer 7 Protection
Unlike traditional firewalls based on ports, protocols and known IP addresses of senders and receivers, NGFW inspects deeper into data packets at layers 2 to 7 of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model. This helps prevent advanced threats from bypassing security policies by hiding in the applications layer. An NGFW enables granular controls by matching network traffic to pre-defined models and applications. This allows good applications to be accessed while preventing access to bad ones, thereby protecting business information. An NGFW can also offer integrated features such as anti-ransomware, antimalware and sandboxing. These capabilities are especially useful for organizations operating in regulated industries like banking and insurance. Having all these features in one device is a big advantage, as it eliminates having separate devices for each function. This reduces costs and complexities for businesses. In addition, an NGFW can provide high availability by deploying two firewalls configured in synchronization. This ensures that your infrastructure will be available even if one of the firewalls fails or shuts down unexpectedly.
Security Operations Center (SOC)
A SOC helps protect your business against security breaches that can wreak havoc on your reputation and bottom line. Among other things, it identifies and responds to advanced threats that can bypass conventional protection systems. It also ensures that your business gets the most out of your cybersecurity investments by providing that all tools work together to their full potential. The traditional firewall only filters up to Layer 3 and 4. By contrast, NGFWs filter up to Layer 7, which means they can see and block application-level threats. This capability is a big part of what makes NGFWs more efficient than traditional firewalls. It is especially useful for businesses that store large amounts of data and use high-performance computing applications. SOC teams analyze and monitor threat activity and performance in real-time. They can also identify discrepancies and anomalies within the security stack and prevent attacks before they threaten your business. They are also responsible for reducing your organization’s attack surface by continuously updating software and patches and identifying misconfigurations.
While traditional firewalls only monitor data at the OSI model’s Data Link and Transport Layers, NGFWs can inspect up to layer 7 (the application layer). This enables greater visibility into applications, user devices and internet traffic. This level of control is important in combating today’s Gen V cyberattacks. An NGFW with a WAF (web application firewall) can apply filters based on the specifics of each web application. This allows your business to block access to malicious software while allowing essential applications to work properly. As cyberattacks continue to grow in number and sophistication, you need a security solution that can scale with your data demands. This includes handling many simultaneous connections without sacrificing performance or requiring hardware upgrades. You also want to ensure that your NGFW provides high availability in case one device fails or is shut down. This is achieved through active-active load balancing and clustering capabilities.
An NGFW’s built-in threat protection features help organizations reduce data breaches. This is especially important for industries with sensitive data, such as healthcare, pharma and financial services, which can experience higher risks due to the prevalence of malware and ransomware in cyberattacks. NGFWs are better equipped to thwart these attacks than traditional firewalls with advanced capabilities like application visibility and control, anti-malware and intrusion prevention systems integrations, and centralized management options. Many NGFWs integrate antivirus, firewall, deep-packet inspection, and more into one device or panel. As a result, they require less hardware and lower infrastructure costs than legacy security appliances. An NGFW’s security intelligence visibility functions can provide detailed traffic analytics to see exactly what data is being transferred to and from your network. This visibility is critical to ensure you have all the information you need to keep your business running smoothly.
Additionally, some NGFWs offer a cloud-based management option that can eliminate the need for additional devices and servers. This makes them even more scalable. This feature is particularly useful for businesses with remote workers, as it helps them secure their home networks and connect to the office remotely while remaining protected.