Skip to main content

What are the Best Next-Gen Firewalls?

A next-generation firewall (NGFW) is a deep-filtering firewall that can manage and stop traffic at the application level and is integrated with an intrusion detection system (IDS) or intrusion prevention system (IPS).

There are several advantages to using a next-generation firewall over a regular firewall. At a high level, NGFWs give full application visibility and control, can differentiate between harmful and safe apps, and can aid in the prevention of malware penetration into a network.

NGFWs also enable network micro-segmentation based on applications rather than merely ports and IP addresses. They are often provided as stand-alone devices, although next-generation firewalls are also available as virtual machines or as cloud services.

Here are five of the most critical features of how an NGFW may help organizations:

  • Defends the network from viruses and trojans.
  • Blocks well-known productivity drainers.
  • Detects and mitigates bandwidth hogs.
  • Simplifies administration and aids in cost savings.
  • Saving time and money.

The market for next-generation firewalls is predicted to grow to USD 4002.6 million by 2025, up from USD 3148.3 million in 2021. Investing in an advanced NGFW is an expensive endeavor, and it's reasonable to want to do it right the first time.

In this post, we'll introduce you to the best NGFW solutions. This is an excellent spot to begin your investigation and can assist you in swiftly identifying a suitable partner to work with.

Before we go any further, here is a list of the best NGFW solutions:

  1. Zenarmor®

  2. Fortinet FortiGate

  3. Juniper Networks SRX Series

  4. Sophos XG Series

  5. Cisco FirePOWER Series

  6. SonicWall Next-Generation Firewall TZ Series

  7. Barracuda CloudGen Firewall

  8. Forcepoint

  9. Huawei USG6700E Series

    What are the Best Next-Gen Firewalls?

Figure 1. What are the Best Next-Gen Firewalls?

1. Zenarmor®

Zenarmor® (Sensei) is a rapid firewall that is software-based and can be deployed practically anywhere.

This technology offers cutting-edge, next-generation features that are not yet available in open source firewalls like OPNsense. Zenarmor can assist if you're running an L4 packet filtering firewall (all open source firewalls fall into this category) and want features like Application Control, Network Analytics, and TLS Inspection.

Zenarmor is currently available for:

Because of its appliance-free, all-in-one, all-software, lightweight, and simple architecture, it can be quickly implemented on any platform with network access. Whether it's virtual or physical metal. Is it better to have it on-premises or in the cloud? Almost any cloud will do.

The followings are the primary features of Zenarmor:

  • Commercial-grade web/content screening and ad blocking for more than 300 million websites
  • Based on real-time cloud-based threat information, auto-blocking against developing malware, and phishing threats.
  • Best-in-class network reporting and analytics, including drill-down functionality
  • Filtering based on policy
  • Attacks are protected by encryption.
  • Security based on users and groups, utilizing Microsoft Active Directory or OPNsense LDAP interface.
  • Captive Portal Application-based Filtering Controls User Access
  • Centralized control through the cloud

2. Fortinet FortiGate

Fortinet is a well-known leader in the NGFW industry due to its low-cost, high-quality solutions. In Gartner's Magic Quadrant for enterprise network firewalls, Fortinet is ranked third. The FortiGate 60 series is an excellent choice for a genuinely scalable system. It's simple to set up and integrate with other FortiOS-based applications and products.

Fortinet's FortiGate next-generation firewalls (NGFWs) deliver high-performance, unified security for end-to-end network protection. FortiGate NGFWs provide complete protection against known and undiscovered threats by monitoring applications, users, and content in network traffic (e.g., ransomware, malicious botnets, zero-day, and encrypted malware). They provide scalable throughput of sophisticated security services, versatile network interfaces, and outstanding performance powered by Fortinet's strong security processors. Our market-leading FortiOS operating system provides exceptional performance and security efficacy at a low cost.

FortiGate firewalls also aid in reducing deployment complexity and conserving IT resources. Full-featured network firewall, application control, intrusion prevention, sandboxing, anti-malware, and web filtering are all included FortiGuard services. FortiGate firewalls are designed for enterprise edge, cloud, and data center environments, as well as dispersed and distant sites. FortiGate NGFWs may also be placed in internal network segments to improve threat visibility, breach detection, and mitigation, hence preventing the uncontrolled propagation of attacks within the network.

  • Consolidated security strategy for complete protection against sophisticated threats and the avoidance of any one point in the network introducing vulnerability
  • Security processor (SPU) technology that is cutting-edge for high-performance application layer security services (NGFW, SSL inspection, and threat protection)
  • The fast SSL inspection engine to assist defend against malware hidden in SSL/encrypted communication.
  • Third-party validation to demonstrate greater efficacy and a good price per performance.
  • Management through a single pane of glass simplifies deployment and allows uniform security rules with granular control and visibility across the network.

3. Juniper Networks SRX Series

Juniper Networks® SRX Series Branch Services Gateways combine next-generation firewall and unified threat management (UTM) services with routing and switching in a single, high-performance, cost-effective network device.

The SRX Series Services Gateways for the branch are next-generation security gateways that provide critical features for connecting, securing, and managing workforce locations ranging in size from a few to hundreds of users. Enterprises can safeguard their resources while also delivering innovative services, safe connections, and a pleasing end-user experience by combining fast, highly available switching, routing, security, and next-generation firewall features in a single device.

All SRX Series Services Gateways, including products scaled for Enterprise branch, Enterprise edge, and Data Center applications, are powered by Junos OS -the tried-and-true operating system that delivers unrivaled consistency, better service performance, and superior infrastructure protection at a lower total cost of ownership.

Next-Generation Firewall SRX Series Services Gateways provide next-generation firewall security, including application awareness and broad user role-based management options, as well as best-of-breed UTM to safeguard and govern your corporate assets. Next-generation firewalls are capable of performing comprehensive packet inspection and enforcing security policies based on layer 7 data. This means that you can create security policies based on the application running on your network, the user receiving or sending network traffic or the content traveling across your network to protect your environment from threats, manage how your network bandwidth is allocated, and control who has access to what.

To avoid application-borne security attacks that are difficult to identify and halt, the intrusion prevention system (IPS) knows application habits and vulnerabilities.

With unified threat management, the SRX Series can provide full content protection against malware, viruses, phishing attacks, intrusions, spam, and other threats (UTM). By simply adding these services to your SRX Series Services Gateway, you may have a best-of-breed solution with anti-virus, anti-spam, web filtering, and content filtering at a low cost. Both cloud-based and on-premises options are offered.

Some of the remarkable features and benefits of Juniper Networks® SRX Series are;

  • Next-Generation Firewall
  • Intrusion Prevention
  • Unified Threat Management (UTM)
  • User role-based firewall control solutions
  • Adaptive Threat Intelligence
  • Secure Routing
  • High Availability

4. Sophos XG Series

Sophos XG Series complete next-generation firewall security was designed to identify hidden hazards, prevent both known and unknown attacks, and respond to incidents automatically.

The Sophos XG Firewall offers unparalleled insight into problematic users, unknown and undesired programs, sophisticated attacks, suspicious payloads, encrypted communications, and much more. Rich on-box reporting is included, as is robust centralized reporting for several firewalls in the cloud.

Sophos XG Firewall includes IPS, Sophisticated Threat Protection, Cloud Sandboxing, comprehensive AI-powered threat analysis, Dual AV, Web and App Control, Email Protection, and a full-featured Web Application Firewall(WAF) to defend your network against ransomware and advanced attacks. It's also simple to set up and operate.

One of the network security solution that can properly identify the source of an infection on your network and immediately block access to other network resources in response is XG Firewall. This is made possible by Sophos Security Heartbeat, which communicates telemetry and health status between Sophos endpoints and your firewall.

You may tailor the protection provided by your firewall to your specific needs and deployment situation by selecting from a variety of modules.

Network Protection safeguards you need to thwart sophisticated attacks and advanced threats while granting secure network access to individuals you trust. Some of the network protection features are as follows:

  • Next-generation intrusion prevention system: Offers strong defense against all forms of contemporary assaults. It goes beyond the standard server and network resources to safeguard network users and apps as well.
  • Security Heartbeat: Creates a connection between your Sophos Central-protected endpoints and your firewall, allowing you to spot threats quicker, simplify investigation, and reduce the impact of attacks. Heartbeat status may be easily included in firewall settings to automatically isolate infected servers.
  • Advanced Threat Protection: To today's most sophisticated threats, instant detection and fast response is required. Threats are identified instantaneously by defense in depth approach, and an emergency reaction is provided by Security Heartbeat.
  • Advanced VPN technologies: Adds novel and easy-to-use VPN technologies, such as clientless HTML5 self-service site, which makes remote access a breeze, or use lightweight secure SD-RED (Remote Ethernet Device) VPN technology. Web Protection features provide visibility and control over all online and application activity by your users. Some of the web protection features are as follows:
  • Web policy that is effective for both individual users and groups: This allows you to quickly manage advanced user and group web restrictions with enterprise-level Secure Web Gateway policy controls. Apply regulations based on online terms that have been submitted and indicate improper use or conduct.
  • Application Control and Quality of Service (QoS): Provides user-aware visibility and control over thousands of apps with comprehensive policy and traffic-shaping (QoS) choices based on application category, risk, and other factors. Synchronized Application Control detects all unfamiliar, evasive, and bespoke programs on your network.
  • Advanced Web Threat Protection: Sophos's sophisticated engine, backed by SophosLabs, delivers innovative approaches such as JavaScript emulation, behavioral analysis, and origin reputation to contribute to the security of your network.
  • High-performance traffic scanning: Xstream SSL inspection, which has been optimized for maximum speed, enables ultra-low latency inspection and HTTPS scanning while preserving performance.

Besides the above-mentioned features, it has also additional features like;

  • Email Protection
  • Web Server Protection
  • Sandstorm Protection

5. Cisco FirePOWER Series

The Cisco Firepower Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) is the first fully integrated, threat-focused NGFW in the industry. From the network to the endpoint, it provides full, unified policy management of firewall operations, application control, threat prevention, and enhanced malware protection.

By using Cisco Firepower Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW) you can prevent data breaches, you can gain deep visibility into risks to detect and stop them quickly, and also you can automate your network and security processes to save time and work smarter.

It may be installed on Cisco Firepower 1000, 2100, 4100, and 9300 appliances to provide a performance and density optimized NGFW security platform for Internet edge and other high-performance settings.

Cisco Firepower Advantages:

  • Enforce regulations that include more security control points.
  • Protect users anywhere they connect to the internet.
  • Increase the capabilities of your network equipment to provide better, more integrated security.
  • Obtain a solid set of product integrations for complete confidence.

6. SonicWall Next-Generation Firewall TZ Series

The SonicWall TZ series of firewalls is tailored to the needs of SMBs and branch offices, providing enterprise-class protection without enterprise-grade complexity.

Installation and operation are simple with Zero-Touch Deployment and streamlined centralized management. Advanced networking and security capabilities, such as the multi-engine Capture Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) cloud-based sandbox service with patent-pending Real-Time Deep Memory Inspection (RTDMITM), detect complex threats, including encrypted attacks. Create a unified security solution for wired and wireless networks by including optional technologies like PoE/PoE+ compatibility and 802.11ac Wi-Fi.

Simply connect in and enjoy the powerful security of the SonicWall TZ series firewall without having to worry about complicated management or the next threat.

Some features & benefits of the SonicWall TZ series are as follows:

  • "Single-pane-of-glass" Administration and Reporting: Network Security Manager, a unified firewall management system that is scalable for any environment, allows you to control everything from a single spot.
  • Capabilities for SD-WAN and Zero-Touch Deployment: SonicWall Secure SD-WAN interfaces with TZ firewalls without the need for an extra license and is scalable easily thanks to Zero-Touch Deployment.
  • Deep Memory Inspection: Real-Time Deep Memory Inspection (RTDMITM) and Capture Advanced Threat Protection stop even the most sophisticated threats (ATP).
  • SSL/TLS Inspection and Decryption: Take advantage of industry-leading real-time decryption and inspection of TLS/SSL-encrypted communication, as well as TLS 1.3 capabilities.
  • Outstanding Performance and Features: Get powerful threat prevention at breakneck speeds without sacrificing performance. The newest TZ firewalls have expandable storage, redundant power, SonicExpress App onboarding, and other features.

7. Barracuda CloudGen Firewall

The use of cloud-based networks and apps is growing, and so is the potential of cybersecurity breaches. You can safeguard your critical company assets with Barracuda, a cloud-based firewall. The Barracuda CloudGen Firewall can protect your digital assets from intrusions, malware, denial-of-service assaults, and advanced persistent threats. You may easily control the entire system with a cloud-based interface that delivers real-time updates on the most recent threats.

Here are some of the notable features the Barracuda CloudGen firewall carries:

  • Stateful Deep Packet Inspection Firewall
  • Single-Pass Architecture
  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
  • Auto VPN
  • Application Control
  • User Identity Awareness
  • Web Filtering
  • Advanced Threat Protection
  • Botnet and Spyware Protection
  • Intrusion Detection and Prevention
  • Denial of Service (DoS) and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Protection
  • Malware Protection
  • SSL Interception

8. Forcepoint

Forcepoint NGFW connects and protects people and the data they use across varied, developing business networks by combining fast, flexible networking (SD-WAN and LAN) with industry-leading security. Forcepoint NGFW ensures consistent security, performance, and operational efficiency across physical, virtual, and cloud systems. It is built from the bottom up with high availability and scalability in mind, as well as centralized management and complete 360-degree visibility.

Forcepoint NGFW employs a novel approach. Industry-leading security engine is intended to combat evasions, identify vulnerability exploits, and halt malware at all three phases of network protection. It may be put behind existing firewalls invisibly to enhance protection without causing a disturbance, or as a full-featured NGFW for all-in-one security.

Furthermore, Forcepoint NGFW offers quick decryption of encrypted traffic, including HTTPS online connections, as well as sophisticated privacy controls to keep your business and users secure in a continuously changing environment. It may also restrict access from certain endpoint apps, allowing devices to be locked down or preventing the usage of insecure software.

Some key features of Forcepoint NGFW include are listed below:

  • SD-WAN connectivity at the corporate level.
  • Integrated intrusion prevention system with anti-evasion measures.
  • Device and network clustering for high availability.
  • Updates that are automated and need no downtime.
  • Policy-driven centralized administration.
  • Actionable, interactive 360-degree visibility.
  • Sidewinder security proxies for mission-critical applications.
  • Human-centric user and endpoint context.
  • Decryption with high performance and extensive privacy settings.
  • Whitelisting and blacklisting based on the client application and version.
  • Integration of CASB and Web Security.
  • Anti-malware sandboxing.
  • Unified software for physical, AWS, Azure, and VMware installations.

9. Huawei USG6700E Series

The Huawei USG6700E series next-generation firewalls are intended for usage in next-generation data centers and big company campuses. USG6700E firewalls have NGFW features and cooperate with other security devices to proactively fight against network threats, improve border detection capabilities, and tackle performance degradation issues. It offers pattern matching and encryption/decryption service processing acceleration, which significantly improves the performance of firewalls and IPSec services.

Some of the key features of Huawei USG6700E series next-generation firewalls are outlined below:

  • Application Identification and Control: Identifies over 6,000 applications by granularizing access control to application operations, such as differentiating between WeChat text and voice. Improves detection performance and accuracy by combining application identification with intrusion detection, antivirus, and data filtering.
  • Bandwidth Management: Manages per-user and per-IP bandwidth, as well as identifying service applications, to ensure critical services and users have a positive network access experience. Control methods include restricting the maximum bandwidth, assuring the minimum bandwidth, using PBR, and adjusting application forwarding priority.
  • Intrusion Prevention and Web Protection: Obtains the most up-to-date threat intelligence in a timely way to provide accurate detection and defense against vulnerability-based assaults. The gadget may protect against web-specific threats such as SQL injection and XSS.
  • AAPT: Helps the local or cloud sandbox discover and prevent dangerous files. Supports the flow probe information collecting function, which collects traffic data and sends it to the Cybersecurity Intelligence System (HiSec Insight) for analysis, assessment, and identification of threats and APT attacks.
  • Cloud Management Mode: Starts the authentication and registration process for the cloud management platform in order to provide plug-and-play and ease network construction and deployment. Cloud-based administration of mass devices is implemented through remote service configuration management, device monitoring, and fault management.
  • Cloud Application Security Awareness: Controls enterprise cloud applications in a sophisticated and differentiated manner to satisfy organizations' cloud application management requirements.

Which Next-Generation Firewall Should You Choose?

Organizations considering deploying an NGFW strategy should carefully select the device that best meets their security and commercial requirements. They should approach this like they would any other technology selection process, by speaking with a number of providers and experts. Here is some practical advice to help organizations select the right NGFW for their needs.

Six firewall selection criteria, as well as questions to ask when comparing and contrasting these IT security solutions throughout the procurement process, are provided to help readers get started on this process and make the best NGFW purchasing decisions for their individual settings.

  1. Controllability

  2. Execution

  3. Platform Design

  4. Price

  5. Customer Service

  6. Feature Set

When we consider the above criteria, Zenarmor fits as the best next-generation firewall.

Zenarmor is a straightforward and effective firewall designed to protect IT resources such as the web and applications. As a result, it is extensively used in homes and small businesses. This corporate firewall is used in large organizations as well.

Its cloud-based control capability, user-friendly UI, solid support and documentation, comprehensive and expanding feature sets, as well as its affordable pricing for residential users, make it the finest option for next-generation firewalls.

Which Next-Generation Firewall to Use in Schools?

K-12 institutions must secure student data, such as social security numbers, while also ensuring that school-provided devices access only suitable information. For schools one of the best fitting solutions as an NGFW is Zenarmor.

Zenarmor, formerly known as Sensei, is a simple-to-install plugin that transforms an open-source firewall into a Next-Generation Firewall. Zenarmor provides cutting-edge, next-generation firewall functionality for open-source firewalls that are presently not accessible in solutions such as OPNsense and pfSense® software. Zenarmor Release 1.8 has supported pfSense® since March 2021. The FreeBSD operating system serves as the foundation for the pfSense® operating system.

OPNsense's plugin design is extremely versatile, allowing developers to simply add new features to the firewall. Sunny Valley Networks has created Zenarmor (previously known as Sensei), an easy-to-install plug-in that adds Next-Generation Firewall functionality to OPNsense by using the OPNsense architecture.

In the OPNsense community, Zenarmor is a well-known online content filtering/application control program. Before releasing it, the Sunny Valley Networks team extensively tested it. Since 2017, hundreds of Zenarmor installations have occurred in households, small enterprises, educational institutions, and enterprise-level networks all across the world. Zenarmor offers a robust and trustworthy technology that can be trusted in school networks.

Which Next-Generation Firewall to Use in Business?

Choosing a next-generation firewall with the features you need to protect your organization from malicious hackers, malware, and viruses may be challenging and time-consuming.

There are several types, each with its own set of features and levels of security. Furthermore, the size, breadth, and scale of your business must be taken into account when picking a firewall.

We'll offer a few next-generation firewall software for enterprise businesses use to help you make your decision.

  • Zenarmor: Zenarmor is a simple and effective firewall that is primarily intended for the protection of information technology resources, such as apps. As a result, it is often used in both home-based and small company settings. Additionally, this corporate firewall is used by huge corporations. Zenarmor may be installed on any network platform with relative ease. The only need is that the user has access to the internet. As a result, Zenarmor may be employed in a variety of settings, including large corporations, small companies, and private occasions.
  • Cisco FirePOWER Series: A network firewall series that contains capabilities such as an intrusion prevention system (IPS), malware detection, centralized policy management, URL filtering, and others.
  • Fortinet FortiGate (7000 series): A well-known next-generation firewall that includes intrusion prevention, artificial intelligence, SSL inspection, a management panel, and other features.