Top 5 Must-Have Firewall Features
From small gateways to large hyper-scale solutions, firewalls come in a range of options. Here we discuss the 5 software features and capabilities any firewall must have to effectively prevent cyber attacks.
Traditional firewalls were created to safeguard traditional networks against traditional cyber threats. As organizations' networks and the cyber threat landscape evolve, network firewalls require more functionality and features to ensure the security of the company's network and the sensitive data it contains.
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Below, we list the top 5 features:
1: Unified Security Management
Organizations must deal with the ever-increasing complexity of network security. As mobile devices, cloud deployments, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices join traditional user workstations and on-premises servers on the corporate network, most companies' networks are becoming larger and more complex. Simultaneously, cyber threats are becoming more sophisticated and widespread. As a result, in order to manage cyber risk, businesses must deploy, monitor, and maintain a growing array of security solutions.
A company's next-generation firewall should help to reduce security complexity rather than add to it. A firewall with integrated Unified Security Management (USM) functionality enables an organization's security team to manage and enforce security policies across their entire network environment in an easy and efficient manner. This allows the security team to keep up with the company’s expanding digital attack surface and minimize the organization’s cyber risk.
2: Threat Prevention
The longer a cyber threat has access to an organization's network, the more expensive the remediation will be. Cyberattacks can cause damage and additional costs in a variety of ways. Exfiltration of sensitive data can result in legal and regulatory penalties, ransomware can reduce productivity and cause a loss of profits, and even simple malware frequently has persistence mechanisms designed to make removal difficult and time-consuming.
Threat prevention is required to limit the damage that a cyberattack can cause to a network. An organization eliminates the threat posed to the network by detecting and blocking an attack before it crosses the network boundary. This is why a network firewall with integrated threat prevention functionality – such as anti-phishing, anti-malware, anti-bot, and integration with high-quality threat intelligence feeds – is a critical component of a company's cybersecurity strategy.
3: Application and Identity-Based Inspection
Due to digital transformation efforts, an organization's network landscape is constantly changing. New applications are deployed on the corporate network to achieve specific objectives, while others are phased out as they become obsolete. Different policies are required for different applications. Some applications may be considered high-priority traffic, while others should be blocked, throttled, or managed in some other way on the network. The next-generation firewall in an organization should be capable of identifying the application that generates a specific stream of traffic and applying application-specific policies to that traffic.
Organizations are also made up of a variety of people with various job roles and responsibilities. The security policies of an organization should also be configurable based on the user's identity. Employees in an organization should have access to a variety of systems and be able to use a wide range of applications. A firewall should allow for the creation and enforcement of policies based on user identity.
4: Hybrid Cloud Support
Almost all businesses use cloud computing, and the vast majority of them use a hybrid cloud deployment. Private and public cloud deployments have different security requirements, and an organization must be able to enforce consistent security policies across cloud-based environments hosted by various vendors.
As a result, a company's next-generation firewall should include hybrid cloud support. The firewall should be simple to deploy and scale in any major cloud environment, allowing an organization's security team to manage all security settings from a single console. According to Gartner, 99 percent of cloud security failures will be the fault of the customer through 2025, a problem that the company's firewall should assist the organization in avoiding.
5: Scalable Performance
Because of its increased scalability and flexibility, cloud-based infrastructure has been adopted by many organizations. Finally, we want to reap the benefits of the cloud, both in the cloud and on-premises. In the cloud, this is as simple as selecting an NGFW template. In terms of on-premises solutions, this entails looking beyond legacy HA clustering solutions.
The ability of an architecture to scale appropriately as increased demand is added to the system is referred to as hyper-scale. This entails being able to seamlessly provision and add more resources to the system, which is part of a larger distributed computing environment. To build a robust and scalable distributed system, a hyper-scale is required. In other words, it is the tight integration of an infrastructure's storage, compute, and virtualization layers into a single solution architecture.
Conclusion: Selecting the Right Next-Generation Firewall
Choosing the right firewall for your organization can be difficult because there are numerous options available, and not all of them are created equal. Small gateways to hyper-scale solutions are available as firewall solutions.
Understanding the critical features that a next-generation firewall should provide is the first step in selecting a next-generation firewall capable of ensuring your organization's network security now and in the future. Check out this guide for more information on what to look for in a firewall.
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