Key Ingredients of a Strong Firewall

As firewalls have evolved, key technology features have evolved as well. Below, we discuss which essential features make up a strong, robust firewall that can prevent cyber attacks from inflicting irreparable damage to your organization.

Key Ingredients of a Strong Firewall

What is a Firewall?

Network firewalls are security appliances that are deployed to define and enforce network boundaries. The purpose of a firewall is to perform inspection of all traffic attempting to cross a network boundary, enabling the organization to maintain complete traffic visibility and enforce security policies for this traffic.

 

This ability to define and enforce network boundaries is crucial to enterprise network security. By filtering all traffic attempting to cross the network boundary, it is possible to keep a large percentage of the malicious content out of the network while ensuring that sensitive data remains inside the perimeter.

Top Must-Have Features of a Next-Generation Firewall

The cyber threat landscape is constantly evolving, and security technology needs to evolve with it to keep up. Traditional firewall solutions are no longer capable of protecting the enterprise against modern cyber threats. Organizations require next-generation firewalls – with certain critical capabilities – to detect and protect against cyberattacks and other malicious content attempting to gain access to the organization’s network.

• Unified Security Management

The modern network contains a wide variety of different systems. This includes traditional workstations and servers, cloud-based infrastructure, Internet of Things (IoT) and mobile devices. All of these systems carry their own unique security risks and requirements that need to be properly addressed to minimize the organization’s cyber risk.

 

Enforcing consistent security policies across such a diverse infrastructure requires unified security management. A next-generation firewall should provide efficient and intuitive management of security across the entire enterprise network. This enables a lean security team to effectively secure the company’s large and growing digital attack surface.

• Threat Prevention

Cyber threats are growing more sophisticated, and the pace of the cyber threat landscape is accelerating. Relying on manual threat detection and response can leave an organization vulnerable to cyber threats. If malware or other cyberattacks successfully gain a foothold on the organization’s systems, they become much more difficult to remove and may cause significant damage before they are successfully remediated.

 

A next-generation firewall should contain an array of threat prevention features, including anti-phishing, anti-virus, and anti-bot protections and threat intelligence integrations. This enables the firewall to correctly identify and block potential attacks before they pose a threat to the organization’s network.

• Application and Identity-Based Inspection

Every organization has its own unique business drivers and use cases. Within a company’s network are a wide variety of applications and users. Securing the enterprise requires tailoring security to the unique needs of each of these applications and users.

 

A next-generation firewall and application and identity-based inspection is essential to accomplishing this. With application and identity-based inspection, an organization’s security team can create security policies that are customized for certain applications, users, or groups. This makes very granular security enforcement not only possible but also scalable.

• Hybrid Cloud Support

93% of enterprises currently have a multi-cloud strategy and 83% are using hybrid clouds. This means that the organization needs to be able to effectively secure both public and private cloud infrastructure within an organization’s environment and to deploy and enforce consistent security policies across multiple cloud platforms.

 

Next-generation firewalls must have support for hybrid cloud environments to be effective. This includes the ability to use dynamic workloads and flexible consumption models to provide scalable and cost-effective security.

• Scalable Performance

Traditional firewalls, that implement security functionality solely in hardware, do not scale well. This hardware often has a maximum capacity, whether in terms of data volume or number of connections. If an organization’s security requirements exceed a firewall’s capacity, it may be necessary to augment or replace the existing firewall with new hardware. This incurs additional expenses and does not enable the organization to adapt to sudden surges in demand.

 

Many organizations adopted cloud-based infrastructure due to its increased scalability and flexibility. Ultimately, we want the benefits of the cloud, both in the cloud and on-premises. In the cloud this simply means choosing a NGFW template. On-premises this means looking beyond legacy HA clustering solutions.

 

Hyperscale refers to an architecture’s ability to scale to meet increased demand. This includes the ability to seamlessly provision and add more resources to the system that make up a larger distributed computing environment. Hyperscale is necessary to build a robust and scalable distributed system. In other words, it is the tight integration of storage, compute, and virtualization layers of an infrastructure into a single solution architecture.

Selecting the Correct Firewall Solution

A number of different next-generation firewall solutions exist, and they do not all necessarily provide the core capabilities required for enterprise network security. To learn more about the critical capabilities of a next-generation firewall and how to select one that is capable of securing your network environment and minimizing the company’s cyber risk exposure, check out this guide to selecting a next-generation firewall solution. And once you know what you are looking for, reach out for a demo or contact us to see how Check Point can meet your organization’s security needs.

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