Firewalls in general are utilized to protect and secure corporate data from cyber attacks. Yet only a next-generation firewall has a number of features that make it capable of dramatically improving a company’s security posture and decreasing its exposure to cyber threats, in any industry.
An organization’s first line of defense against cyber threats, the firewall is deployed at a network boundary and inspects all traffic crossing over that boundary. This provides the organization with deep visibility into traffic passing through the firewall and the ability to enforce network security policies at this location.
Of course, different industries can have very different cybersecurity requirements. Organizations in the financial industry require the best available security to ensure regulatory compliance and often select specialized, best-in-breed solutions to protect against the latest threats. In contrast, Operational Technology (OT) organizations, such as manufacturing and critical infrastructure, are often targeted by older or highly-targeted attacks and have strict availability requirements that make remediation of a cybersecurity incident complex. Companies may also have unique security needs around providing secure remote access, supporting high-performance computing, protecting cloud environments, and securing specialized systems (such as medical Internet of Things devices).
Despite the varying needs of different organizations, some security requirements span all industry verticals, and a network firewall is one such universal security solution. Whatever industry an organization operates in, a modern next-generation firewall has a number of features that make it capable of dramatically improving the company’s security posture and decreasing its exposure to cyber threats.
Every organization has both internal and external pressures driving its cybersecurity. Every company, regardless of industry, operates under regulations that require it to protect the personal data of its customers. Additionally, the threat of ransomware and other damaging and expensive attacks makes strong cybersecurity a necessity.
A next-generation firewall should include robust threat prevention, including protection against phishing, malware, and bots, and integration with threat intelligence feeds. The ability to leverage specialized threat intelligence – tailored to the threats that an organization is most likely to face – enables network firewalls to provide personalized protection for organizations in any industry.
Organizations in different industries have very different network infrastructures. A retailer’s network, including many geographically distributed sites, looks very different from a financial institution, which differs heavily from a company working in the manufacturing sector. Each industry has unique network requirements and can face very specialized cyber threats.
A major advantage of the modern firewall is that it can be deployed in any network environment. On-premises data centers can be protected by hardware-based firewalls while cloud firewalls secure an organization’s cloud-based infrastructure. This easy deployability of the modern firewall enables organizations in any industry to design and implement the security that they need without being limited by the capabilities of their chosen security solution.
Organizations in different industries use specialized and industry-specific applications and have employees performing specialized duties. An organization needs to be able to tailor their security policies to particular applications and job roles to ensure that the company’s cyber risk is minimized.
A next-generation firewall with application and identity-based traffic inspection and policy enforcement can meet the security needs of any industry. The ability to identify the application that is the source of a particular traffic stream means that an organization’s security team can define policies specific to that particular application and that comply with regulatory requirements and corporate security policy.
Support for identity mapping and groups-based security policies also makes it easy to adapt a next-generation firewall’s capabilities to the unique needs of a particular organization or industry. Security policies can be defined based upon the responsibilities and access requirements of a particular employee or job role. When traffic from an individual or a member of a group is identified, the firewall can apply the appropriate policies, enabling easy compliance and security management for organizations in any industry.
Many organizations can deploy their firewalls within controlled environments such as server rooms or cloud-based infrastructure. This helps to ensure that the device is working optimally and that environmental factors do not impact the organization’s cybersecurity.
However, this is not true of all industries. For organizations with operations technology (OT) networks, security solutions may need to be deployed in harsh environments that could impact the effectiveness and lifetime of the security appliance. To address this possibility, specialized industrial firewalls are available that are capable of operating in these conditions, making robust cybersecurity a possibility for any organization.
A good firewall is the cornerstone of any organization’s network security. Any traffic wanting to enter or leave the corporate network has to pass through it first, enabling it to filter out any traffic that poses a threat to the organization’s systems or the security of the sensitive data in its care.
However, not all firewalls are created equal. A traditional firewall and a next-generation firewall have very different capabilities, and even among next-generation firewalls, not all options offer the same level of protection. If you want to know more about how to evaluate different firewall options and what core capabilities to look for in a next-generation firewall, check out this guide. And of course, you’re always welcome to contact us or reach out for a demo to learn why a Check Point firewall is the right choice for your organization.