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What are the Advantages of Next-Generation Firewall Over Traditional Firewall?

We've heard of the term "next-generation firewall," but some of us aren't sure what it means because this technology is still in its early stages. What does it add to the traditional firewall, and why is it necessary?

In layman's terms, a Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) is a firewall that adds defensive layers such as application-level inspection, advanced levels of intrusion prevention, and intelligence to the boundaries of a traditional firewall in addition to normal port/protocol security.

Firewalls are the fundamental component of most IT organizations' security strategy. Traditional firewalls, as we know them, provide security based on certain ports and protocols, as well as source and destination IP addresses. These firewalls are popular because they are easy to use and maintain, are typically affordable, and have a high throughput.

However, with new, advanced attacks being released faster than ever since the COVID-19 outbreak, conventional firewalls are becoming less and less effective of adequately defending business networks. Protection based on ports, protocols, and IP addresses is becoming less and less reliable as traditional firewalls consider a specific port as corresponding to a given service (such as TCP port 80 equating to HTTP), which is simply not the case anymore owing to the development of web-based applications.

Next-generation firewalls can recognize applications independent of port, protocol, evasive tactics, or SSL encryption and provide real-time protection against a wide range of threats, including those operating at the application layer. This increases security since we can identify the exact programs that are operating on port 80 because we are looking at the application rather than simply the port. In addition to recognizing apps, they can limit or even ban their usage and the functions included inside them.

The next-generation firewall (NGFW) is an improvement to the traditional firewall, and we will examine the key benefits of the next-generation firewall over traditional firewalls in this article.

What are the Advantages of Next-Generation Firewall Over Traditional Firewall?

Figure 1. What are the Advantages of Next-Generation Firewall Over Traditional Firewall?

1. Multi-Layered Protection

A simple antivirus program that is installed on your smartphone is no longer adequate in today's digital world. To keep cyber attacks at bay, many levels of defense are required.

Traditional firewalls include basic packet filtering, network and port address translations, stateful inspections, and virtual private network compatibility. They are, however, confined to the OSI model's Data Link Layer and Transport Layer.

A typical firewall provides single-layer security by limiting access through ports using information from layer 4, but an NGFW goes further and inspects traffic from layer 2 to layer 7 of the OSI model. This provides enterprises with greater visibility into network activities, such as who is accessing hazardous websites, and when and from where.

Next-generation firewalls include integrated intrusion detection systems (IDS) and intrusion prevention systems (IPS) that identify attacks based on traffic behavioral analysis, threat signatures, or unusual activity, in addition to all of the features of classic firewalls. This feature aids in performing deeper network traffic inspection and improving packet-content filtering up to the application layer.

2. Antivirus, Ransomware, and Spam Protection

To secure your company's data, an NGFW includes antivirus, ransomware, and spam protection, as well as endpoint security. You don't need to use separate tools for such tasks if you use these features.

Because NGFW has all of these functions, you not only save time and effort but also make it easier to detect and handle cyber threats.

Unlike traditional firewalls, next-generation firewalls (NGFWs) contain antivirus and malware protection that is automatically updated anytime new threats are found. The NGFW device further reduces attack vectors by restricting the programs that run on it.

It then examines all permitted apps for any hidden vulnerabilities or secret data breaches, as well as hazards posed by unknown applications. This also helps to reduce bandwidth utilization from unnecessary traffic, which is impossible with traditional firewalls.

3. Capability to Implement Role-based Access

It cannot be a one-size-fits-all solution. In reality, depending on their work, each employee in a corporation will require varied internet rights. Employees in marketing must be able to use social media platforms and streaming websites at work. The CIO will require a complete internet connection, whilst the PCs at the reception will serve reception and visitors. You may use NGFW to establish role-based access, which allows you to adapt network access to the needs of each employee.

4. Advanced Policy Control

Traditional firewalls operate on a straightforward deny/allow model. In this paradigm, anybody with access to a decent program may use it. Nobody has access to an application that has been considered unsafe. This model is no longer valid. In today's world, an application that is detrimental to one organization may be excellent for another. Granular degrees of control are made possible by NGFWs. The excellent features of an application are to be accessed by the right personnel, while the negative aspects of an application are to be blocked from all access.

The firewall is a critical component of most IT organizations' security strategy. Traditional firewalls, as we know them, defend against certain ports and protocols. This security can be provided based on the source and destination IP addresses. These firewalls are popular because they are easy to use and maintain. They are generally affordable, have high throughput, and have been the standard design for more than two decades.

5. Network Speed

With typical firewalls, each extra layer of security creates another chance for the entire system to get clogged. Despite the high promises made by traditional firewall providers, network speed might be drastically reduced if these safeguards are put in place. Regardless of whether protection services -or how many- are offered, NGFWs ensure steady throughput. There is no need to sacrifice the speed or quality of your connection in order to get good security.

6. Simple Infrastructure

The ease of use of the infrastructure is one of the most significant advantages of NGFW. By simplifying network security, your IT staff will be able to implement new strategies across the whole network from a single device more quickly.

If you're tired of dealing with complex security architecture and want a simple solution to handle cyber risks, all you have to do is select a next-generation firewall. This new firewall, which has a streamlined infrastructure, will help you save significant time while dealing with day-to-day activities for your firm. Furthermore, the simple infrastructure will assist you in administering and upgrading security protocols from a single device.

What is the Difference Between Traditional Firewalls vs. Next Generation Firewalls?

A traditional firewall is a network security device that offers stateful inspection of network traffic that enters or exits a network based on state, port, and protocol. So, in a nutshell, a typical firewall primarily regulates the flow of control. It may connect to a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Traditional firewalls, on the other hand, are no longer as effective in providing all of the necessary security against today's complex and diverse cyber threats.

A Next-Generation firewall is a network security device that not only enables stateful inspection of network traffic that enters or exits a network based on state, port, and protocol, but also has considerably more functions than a regular firewall.

Next-generation firewalls are more advanced than classic firewalls, yet both offer the same advantages to businesses. Next-generation firewalls, like classic firewalls, employ static and dynamic filtering, as well as VPN support, to guarantee that all connections inside the network, internet, and firewall are legitimate and safe. Both types of firewalls may also translate network addresses and ports in order to determine the IP address.

A next-generation firewall has various benefits over a traditional firewall. At a high level, NGFWs provide complete application visibility and control, can distinguish between malicious and secure apps, and may help prevent malware infiltration into a network.

In addition, NGFWs offer network micro-segmentation based on applications rather than just ports and IP addresses. Next-generation firewalls are frequently delivered as stand-alone devices, but they are also accessible as virtual machines or as cloud services.

A next-generation firewall and a standard firewall vary in several ways. The following are the distinctions between next-generation firewalls and old firewalls:

TRADITIONAL FIREWALLNEXT GENERATION FIREWALL
Traditional firewalls primarily provide stateful inspection of incoming and outgoing network traffic as it enters and exits a network.Traditional firewalls allow stateful inspection of incoming and outgoing network traffic that enters or exits a network, as well as many other functions.
Traditional firewall is an old firewall security system.The Next Generation Firewall is a sophisticated firewall security solution.
It allows for partial application visibility and control.It enables complete application visibility and control.
Traditional Firewall works on Layer 2 to Layer 4.Next-Generation Firewall works on layer 2 to Layer 7.
It is not capable of supporting application-level awareness.It facilitates application-level awareness.
It does not support reputation or identity services.It supports reputation and identification services.
Separately maintaining security tools is costly in typical firewalls.It is simple to install and configure integrated security technologies in next-generation firewalls, which minimizes administrative costs.
It does not offer a comprehensive set of security technologies.It offers a comprehensive set of security technologies.
SSL communication cannot be decrypted or inspected by a traditional firewall.SSL traffic in both directions may be decrypted and inspected by a Next-Generation Firewall.
It provides Network Address Translation (NAT), Port Address Translation (PAT), and Virtual Private Network (VPN) functionality (VPN).It enhances the capability of Network Address Translation (NAT), Port Address Translation (PAT), and Virtual Private Network (VPN) while also including new threat control technology such as sandboxing.
Separately, an Integrated Intrusion Protection System (IPS) and an Intrusion Detection System (IDS) are implemented.It is fully integrated with an Integrated Intrusion Protection System (IPS) and an Intrusion Detection System (IDS).

What Should Be Considered When Choosing A New Generation Firewall?

The foundation of every current network security plan is today's next-generation firewalls. However, not all NGFWs are the same. While certain capabilities and advantages obviously overlap from one vendor's NGFW to the next, there are significant distinctions that you must understand and assess based on your network's security requirements.

We'll look at seven aspects to think about while analyzing and finally selecting your next-generation firewall technology.

  • Performance: When it comes to next-generation firewalls, there must be a balance made between threat prevention and sheer performance. Getting the features you desire while maintaining the performance you require to prevent bottlenecks can be difficult.
  • Interoperability: NGFWs do not operate on an island. Instead, they frequently interact with a wide range of additional network and security technologies, including network monitoring tools, logging servers, authentication servers, network access control (NAC) products, and external web/email security solutions. Interoperability will differ depending on the manufacturer and NGFW product line. Make sure you understand and test compatibility with the external components and apps that your NGFW must work with.
  • Scalability: Timelines for network hardware renewal differ from one company to the next. However, three to six years is when the majority of people decline. When selecting an NGFW, be sure it can scale to meet your company's data demands. This might imply acquiring large hardware for what is required now, or expanding through active-active load balancing or clustering capabilities.
  • Advanced security features: Next-generation firewalls have evolved into a true IT security multi-tool. And, like with other multi-tools, businesses will rely on some of the specific capabilities on a regular basis while seldom, if ever, using others. Customers will almost probably employ typical stateful access control rules with NGFWs. VPN, secure remote access and intrusion protection are also regularly utilized features. However, it is up to you if you wish to adopt - and pay for licensing - capabilities like as sandboxing, advanced emerging threats, and global threat prevention. For certain businesses, implementing all three may be a must. Others, though, may consider them excessive.
  • Visibility and control: Network and application visibility is one area where NGFWs differ greatly from one another. We're not only talking about visibility down to the application and user level here, but also visibility that gives network behavior intelligence. Make certain that you understand each vendor's security intelligence visibility functions to ensure that they meet or surpass your expectations.
  • Management and reporting: If your security administrators are in charge of dozens or hundreds of firewalls, having the correct management platform is critical to reducing the number of human resources required. Most business NGFWs include built-in or optional centralized management capabilities, allowing you to configure, monitor, and report on all NGFWs on your network from a single interface. Alternatively, an increasing number of companies are beginning to provide cloud-managed NGFWs, which basically perform the same thing as a centralized server without the headache of managing yet another server on-premises.

What is the Best Next-Generation Firewall?

In the area of IT security, there are various types of NGFWs. The next-generation firewall market is estimated to reach USD 4 billion by 2025, up from USD 3 billion in 2021. As a result, deciding on the finest NGFW for your network architecture may be tricky. Furthermore, because acquiring a new NGFW is an expensive investment, you may only have one shot and should do it right the first time.

Zenarmor, formerly known as Sensei, is a next-generation firewall that offers complete protection for devices, networks, and the IT interface. It is regarded as the greatest firewall software of 2022 because of its numerous options.

Its data visualization and external integrations set it apart from the competition. Furthermore, the features are dependable and constantly keep you ahead of regular firewall users. Another element of the firewall that simplifies management is multi-user access.

Aside from the features listed above, its malware protection can cope with complicated malware attacks from hackers and reduce the likelihood of getting infiltrated by malware.

Zenarmor offers network traffic monitoring as a tool that gives comprehensive control over network administration.

Sunny Valley Networks wants its solution to work in any networking environment that processes Layer 3-4 traffic, whether that environment is a container, cloud, virtual, or bare-metal deployment (firewalls, switches, UTMs). OPNsense®/pfSense® firewalls, Centos, AlmaLinux, Debian, Ubuntu, and FreeBSD are among the systems supported as of March 2021. To put it another way, Zenarmor provides IT administrators with a number of platform alternatives based on their hardware, technical skills, and budgets. They may select the appropriate operating system and hardware for their firewall based on their needs.

Many people prefer Zenarmor because of its affordable cost (and affordability). Zemarmor offers a free basic version, while its subscription version begins at $9.99/month - best suited for non-commercial usage, the SOHO package at $39/month - best suited for small workplaces, and the Business package at $50/month - best suited for bigger organizations. The free version includes many important features and is a wonderful opportunity to try out the program before purchasing the commercial version.