What is Firewall as a Service (FWaaS)?
FWaaS is based on cloud-based technologies. When a user or application connects to the FWaaS over the internet, the service employs domain rules, Web filtering, and other security features similar to those found in physical firewall appliances.
Firewalls are software or hardware that act as a filter for data that tries to access your computer or network. Firewalls scan packets for malicious code or attack vectors that have been identified as known threats. The firewall prohibits data packets from connecting to the network or accessing your computer if they are classified as a security concern.
new hacking techniques can soon render a firewall's procedures obsolete. Firewall databases and processes must be updated regularly for them to remain effective, which necessitates maintenance duties.
Firewall maintenance may take a long time, and it necessitates specialists learning a lot about how firewall software runs and about cybersecurity in general. Because the hardware configuration decisions and software quality assurance responsibilities are handled by the cloud, cloud-based firewalls are easier to administer. The teams that created each firewall are the ones that know the most about it.
In many cases, FWaaS functions similarly to an on-premises hardware firewall. It does, however, have some notable advantages, such as the capacity to scale almost instantly to accommodate a growing network. All of this is made feasible by the fact that it is cloud-based. As a result, it can be tailored to your network's size, architecture, demand, and specific security requirements.
More than merely virtualizing appliances, this concept lies at the heart of the FWaaS concept. Organizations may utilize FWaaS to eliminate firewall hardware and streamline their IT infrastructure.
With centralized management from a single console, companies can offer uniform policies throughout the company, regardless of where users connect.
Change control, patch management, coordinating outage windows, and policy management difficulties associated with NGFW appliances are eliminated with centralized management from a single console, allowing enterprises to offer uniform policies throughout the company wherever users connect.
How does Firewall as a Service Work?
Each block of data packets coming or exiting the Intranet or the host computer is analyzed by firewalls. A firewall can take three different actions based on a set of security rules:
- Accept: Allow data packets to be transmitted.
- Drop: data packets that do not receive a response are blocked.
- Reject: Block packet data and notify the source of an "unreachable error."
Figure 1. How does Firewall as a Service Work?
Assume you're working for an IT firm with hundreds of PCs connected via network cards. To connect these PCs to the outside network, the firm will require one connection (internet). Suppose the C1 connection links the intranet (internal network) to the Internet. In this instance, the organization will need to install a firewall on the C1 line (and/or on each intranet PC). All of those machines will be exposed to external attacks if there isn't a solid firewall in place. If a worker makes an error and leaves a security flaw, attackers can use it to test internal devices and create a connection. They can, however, keep harmful traffic out by using a firewall. The organization can set security restrictions, such as not allowing File Transfer Protocol (FTP) connections, in which case the firewall will block all public FTP traffic from and to the external network.
A firewall not only protects harmful malware from infecting host systems but also inhibits unnecessary traffic. Firewalls can assist in avoiding a variety of security threats by establishing protective filters around your networks and devices. These can include the following:
- Backdoors: While some apps are meant to be accessed remotely, others may have defects that allow potential hackers to get access to and abuse the program for malevolent reasons via a "backdoor," or a concealed mechanism to access and exploit the software. Some systems may also have flaws that allow experienced hackers to exploit backdoors for their gain.
- Service interruption: This increasingly common sort of malware can cause a server to slow down or crash. Hackers use this approach by sending a request to access the server, which responds with an acknowledgment and tries to connect. The server, on the other hand, will be unable to discover the machine that began the request as part of the attack. A hacker can slow down a server's performance or knock it offline altogether by flooding it with these one-sided session requests. While firewalls may be used to detect and guard against some types of denial of service attacks, they are frequently tricked and ineffectual. As a result, having a variety of security mechanisms in place to defend your network from various sorts of attacks is critical.
- Macros: Macros are codes that may be performed by programs to combine many complex operations into a single executable rule. If a hacker gains access to your customers' devices, they can use the software to execute their macros. This can have serious consequences, such as data loss or system failure. These executable parts might potentially contain embedded data trying to infiltrate your network, which firewalls can detect and block.
- Logins from a distance: Remote logins vary in intensity, but they always pertain to someone accessing your computer and manipulating it. They can be a beneficial tool for allowing IT experts to swiftly update something on a specific computer without having to be physically there, but they can also be exploited by bad actors to get access to sensitive information or even run malicious malware.
- Spam: While the majority of spam is innocuous, some spam may be quite harmful. Links in spam are frequently included, and they should never be clicked! Users may allow cookies into their computers by clicking on links in spam mail, giving hackers a backdoor into their systems. You must obtain cybersecurity awareness training to prevent network risks.
- Viruses: Viruses are little programs that reproduce themselves from one computer to another, causing them to spread across networks and devices. Some viruses are only a little concerning, while others can cause significant damage, such as wiping your customers' data. Although some firewalls feature virus protection, it is wiser and safer to use a firewall in conjunction with antivirus software.
Because of the different types of cyberattacks, firewalls can't possibly screen out every danger. While firewalls are incredibly useful in safeguarding networks, they must be used in conjunction with other security applications and hardware as part of a comprehensive security strategy.
Firewall as a Service (FWaaS) service works in the same way as any other cloud infrastructure service does. FWaaS providers set up data centers with enormous firewall deployments, resulting in considerable cost savings. They thus provide virtual isolation between the services given to various clients, eliminating security risks that may develop if one customer could change or examine the network traffic of another.
The FWaaS service is provided to each client as a virtual instance, which they may later access via a centralized panel. Vendors generally employ firewall configuration interfaces that cybersecurity personnel are already familiar with. Customers that migrate from an on-premises appliance to an FWaaS service provided by the same vendor may be able to use the same administration interface.
After defining firewall rules to execute the firm's security policy, cybersecurity teams change network and DNS settings to turn on the virtual switch, directing traffic via the FWaaS vendor's infrastructure to enforce the security policy.
"Firewall as a Service" (FWaaS) " works in the same way as an on-premise firewall, but it does so online, either from a physical point of presence in a data center or from the cloud. It's also worth mentioning that networking manufacturers frequently combine FWaaS with a Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) or just utilize it in conjunction with another SD-WAN product. It becomes a new connection that the SD-WAN monitors and protects with a centrally controlled firewall.
The firewall as a service function is easy to set up, and usually only entails updating your network settings. Internet traffic is routed via the provider instead of your system after the router is linked to the firewall as a service provider.
What are Firewall as a Service Features?
The more complicated an organization's network footprint is, the more likely it is to benefit from FWaaS administration that is centralized. The following are four important benefits provided by this method:
- Streamlined policy implementation: Security teams may define all of their policies in one place. The FWaaS platform will then enforce those regulations across all locations, both on-premises and in the cloud.
- Incremented network visibility: All traffic is routed to a centralized location when using a managed platform. Security teams despise distributed firewall deployments because they are either improperly configured to log centralized or go unnoticed when logs cease arriving. FWaaS vendors can interact with a company's SIEM to offer crucial security data consistently.
- Streamlined adaptability: Organizations that experience spikes in demand can count on their firewall vendor to scale up and match the demand. Cloud-based firewall services can easily absorb spikes of traffic generated by a single customer due to their scalability.
- Improved dependability: Although all services have failures, FWaaS platforms are designed to be extremely dependable, and providers' 24/7 personnel monitor performance to swiftly find and rectify service faults.
FWaaS should be on the list of options for organizations with a sophisticated firewall deployment that is nearing a natural firewall design decision point.
What are the Benefits of Firewall as a Service?
FWaaS offers several benefits to businesses seeking a nimble security solution. Many enterprises are moving away from traditional in-house choices and entrusting the security of their network to an FWaaS provider to preserve flexibility.
The following are some of the advantages that enterprises may gain by using FWaaS:
- Easy to set up: Cloud-based firewalls are simple to set up and maybe built in a modular fashion to perform certain tasks. An FWaaS, for example, may be set up to simply guide traffic while also filtering Web links from within the network and defending against threats. IT administrators may pick which firewall features they want to use and which ones they don't.
- Secure Remote Work: FWaaS excels at extending network protection to remote employees in the "work from home" age. They use their authorized client to connect to the FWaaS and enjoy automated protection when using the internet or accessing enterprise cloud services.
- Scalability: FWaaS cloud firewalls adapt to the size of the enterprise, both in terms of security usefulness and ease of deployment to additional users and threats. It's simple to add a new branch office or user to an FWaaS backend, and even simpler to add more capacity or expand protection to new resources-all without having to buy new hardware. FWaaS enhances scalability, provides a consistent security plan, improves visibility, and simplifies management when compared to ordinary firewalls. These characteristics enable a company to spend less time on repetitive processes like patching and upgrading, as well as provide responsive scalability to rapidly changing business needs.
- Central Management: Firewall as a Service design is easier compared to the previous technique of combining numerous solutions and endpoints since all network traffic (data centers, branches, remote employees), is viewable on one cloud platform. ?t doesn't take a lot of work to coordinate firewall settings across many traffic sources.
- Visibility: One logical network enables full visibility and management with FWaaS. The firewall sees all WAN and Internet traffic, both encrypted and unencrypted, so there are no blind spots and no need to deploy and maintain numerous pieces of equipment.
- Manageability: Managing physical firewall equipment entails patching and upgrading the software, which poses extra risks because updates might fail or be omitted entirely. There is no need to size, update, patch, or reload firewalls with FWaaS. Finally, instead of continually fussing with equipment maintenance activities, IT employees can focus on delivering genuine value to the business through early identification and mitigation of hazards.
Why Do Organizations Need FWaaS?
A company's cyber security is required to prevent and fight against fraud, hacking, theft, and a variety of other major threats that can harm and cripple commercial operations. These hostile organizations are rapidly evolving, necessitating the development of stronger and smarter instruments to defend against attack.
Traditional appliance-based firewalls are useful in many scenarios, but they aren't appropriate in all. Some possible drawbacks of a device firewall include: ?
- Location: A firewall can only scrutinize traffic that passes through it. As a result, an appliance-based firewall may struggle to protect distant users accessing the cloud.
- Scalability: Because many firewall appliances have limited resources, they can only analyze and safeguard a certain amount of traffic. When an organization's demands outgrow its current gear, it must acquire and deploy new hardware.? Previously, businesses kept all of their apps and user data on-premises servers, which required onsite security in the form of firewall appliances.
However, given the evolution of the perimeter and the adoption of the cloud and remote employees, the perimeter-based network security solution is no longer relevant.
Without insight into third-party clouds, IT teams must develop their cloud-friendly security architecture, and firewalls remain a crucial element of this approach. Companies move to the cloud and use FWaaS products for their IT teams to use. FwaaS integrates seamlessly with local resources as well as other cloud-based SaaS solutions used worldwide.
FWaaS can help deal with scenarios where restrictions are an issue. FWaaS provides extra functionality that allows a company to efficiently identify and repel intrusion attempts. FWaaS allows IT to collect traffic from all sources on the network, gain full visibility, and enforce global policies that secure a network more effectively than any physical firewall.
Customers may use FWaaS to shift security inspection to the cloud in part or entirely. Your solution is maintained by the cloud provider, who will also maintain the hardware infrastructure that drives your solution when you use security in the cloud. Depending on the subscription you pick, your service agreement will include specifics defining the sorts of things you will have access to. Many businesses require a service-based architecture because it allows them to scale up and down without worrying about providing additional hardware.
Many firms' budgets and operational workflows do not allow for the maintenance of hardware firewalls, making FWaaS an appealing solution. The convenience of having the provider manage all configuration changes and modifications helps enterprises free up key resources, time, and energy for other mission-critical activities.
FWaaS uses developments in software and cloud technology to provide a wide range of network safety and inspection capabilities that can be accessed on-demand by users from anywhere. With an in-house setup, your IT staff is responsible for staying up-to-date on the newest software and technology changes affecting network security. Some businesses use FWaaS merely to guarantee they have the most up-to-date security. You are more likely to have cutting-edge technology and procedures if the supplier safeguards your network rather than your in-house team.
FWaaS connects an organization's scattered sites and users to a single, logical, global firewall with a uniform application-aware security policy, allowing them to scale security more effectively. The Firewall as a Service provider allows all employees access to resources that secure a wide range of devices, making FWaaS a one-size-fits-all solution regardless of company size.
What is the Difference Between an FWAAS and a Traditional Firewalls?
For nearly 30 years, firewalls have been an integral part of comprehensive network security solutions. Technological innovations surrounding network communication have improved firewalls to match organizational needs as the notion has grown. Thanks to cloud computing, virtually deployable firewall solutions are now possible.
Firewalls can be thought of as barriers between trusted networks that need to be protected and unreliable networks like the internet. Before the introduction of firewalls in the early 1990s, routers were the primary means of isolating networks and applying packet inspection filters. Firewall services, as we know them, inspect network traffic, allow or restrict traffic depending on port and protocol, and filter suspicious activities according to administrator-defined rules. As the popularity of internet-based applications expanded, so did the need to regulate connectivity to prevent unwanted connections, data compromises, and other issues. As the attention turned more to applications, firewalls (WAF) offered systems built for the HTTP protocol in 2006.
Web servers and hosted web applications are protected from application-layer HTTPS attacks by a web application firewall (WAF). WAFs create barriers between public users and web applications, similar to how traditional firewalls separate internal and external network traffic. WAFs can discover and defend your company from SQL injections, cross-site scripting (XSS), and distributed denial-of-service attacks(DDoS) by examining the hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP).
Firewall as a Service (FWaaS) is a cloud-based firewall service that supports Layer 7 and Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFWs). As businesses have adopted cloud-based IaaS and PaaS models, a less well-defined network boundary has emerged. To handle this expanding difficulty, FWaaS companies often offer important access controls, including IDPs, sophisticated threat prevention, URL filtering, and DNS security. Outsourcing FWaaS, like other SaaS products, can provide businesses with a cost-effective, scalable, and efficient network security solution.
To summarize the differences between FWAAS and traditional firewalls,;
- A firewall appliance's level of protection is limited by its physical capabilities. For example, protecting rising traffic volumes necessitates greater processing and the expenditure of time and resources on forced upgrades. Because of this capacity constraint, IT is frequently forced to prioritize cost-efficiency over security, resulting in a weak security posture. FWaaS, which is given as a cloud service, eliminates any concerns about appliance capacity and the complexity of upgrading multiple firewalls. IT can safeguard all resources and maintain an optimal security posture, scalable and elastic cloud infrastructure, which eliminates the restrictions of old firewall capacity.
- Distributed deployments and different security rules are naturally part of appliance-based security. IT must devote time and resources to managing the network life cycle, which includes manually sizing, deploying, configuring, patching, and upgrading firewall appliances across numerous sites. With a unified application-aware security policy, Fwaas vendors connect the entire enterprise to a single, logical global FWaaS. They handle service maintenance, allowing IT to focus on managing the business's security policy rather than wasting time manually managing various firewall appliances, their software, and their configuration.
- Keeping an optimal security posture is a difficult task. For instance, appliance-based IPS necessitates significant IT engagement. When an IPS vendor releases new signatures, IT must evaluate their relevance and performance impact, then test them on real traffic for false positives and end-user disturbance, and lastly install them in full production mode. Because of the resource constraints, many IT departments simply disregard IPS upgrades, putting their network security at risk. FwaaS providers that offer Firewall and IPS as a managed service, relieving IT of the responsibility of maintaining security posture. Firms assess new threats and set laws to counter them. Then run these rules through a simulation on live traffic to ensure that no businesses are harmed and to eliminate false positives before deploying them. As a consequence, risks are prevented and terminated without causing IT to become overburdened.
What is the Difference Between a Firewall as a Service and a Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW)?
A next-generation firewall (NGFW) is a firewall that incorporates new features not seen in previous firewall systems, such as an intrusion prevention system (IPS) that detects and stops cyber threats. In the other deep packet inspection (DPI), NGFWs look at both the headers and the payload of data packets, rather than simply the headers. This assists in the detection of malware and other dangerous data, and applications. NGFWs can restrict access to specific programs or completely ban them. NGFWs can be deployed in the cloud or on-premises. A cloud-based firewall may include NGFW capabilities, but so might an on-premises firewall.
With a cloud-based architecture, you may be faced with a difficult choice: FWaaS or NGFW?
For many cloud-based businesses, there are several unique advantages to choosing FWaaS versus NGFW.
- With cloud applications, FWaaS delivers quicker performance: Microsoft 365 and other cloud apps are designed to be utilized via the internet. An NGFW would require traffic to be routed via a corporate data center before returning to the internet. This might have a negative impact on performance.
- It's easy to replicate security designs using FWaaS: Setting up NGFWs at each of your sites might be prohibitively expensive or time-consuming. The implementation of a FWaaS is simple and rapid.
- Some NGFWs are unable to properly evaluate SSL traffic: To process SSL inspections, an NGFW may need to employ the software. This may have a detrimental influence on the user's experience.
FWaaS The Future of Network Firewalls?
Many information security experts think that in the future, FWaaS will be more widely used than traditional network firewalls. They believe that FWaaS is the way of the future for network firewalls for the reasons listed below.
Organizations are pursuing cloud-first strategies, in which they strive to outsource as much infrastructure, software, and other services as feasible to cloud providers. Outside the organization, traffic may be routed to the cloud, avoiding on-premises data centers and communications links for remote and mobile users while also lowering the load on local infrastructure. Offloading a critical security function to the cloud frees up internal resources to focus on other tasks. Because of these major considerations, FWaaS platforms are becoming highly relevant in cybersecurity programs.
FWaaS has a number of advantages and overcomes the constraints of traditional firewalls. With the growing epidemic, worldwide enterprises have begun to adopt a remote work culture, resulting in network traffic that is geographically dispersed. Traditional appliance-based firewalls can only scan and monitor network traffic passing through them, making it impossible to protect distant users against cloud threats. On the other hand, FWaaS is a cloud-based solution that can secure network connections from virtually anywhere in the world, including branch offices and remote locations. FWaaS is also highly scalable, making it a better option for many startup businesses.
Are Cloud Firewalls and FWaaS the Same Thing?
A cloud firewall, like a regular firewall, is a security solution that filters out potentially dangerous network traffic. Cloud firewalls, unlike traditional firewalls, are hosted in the cloud. Traditional firewalls create a virtual wall around an organization's internal network, whereas cloud-based firewalls create a virtual wall across cloud platforms, infrastructure, and applications. On-premise infrastructure can also be protected by cloud firewalls.
The term "cloud firewall" is a marketing term, and it could be argued that cloud firewall and FWaaS are not the same things. A cloud firewall that provides a firewall as a service is a form of cloud firewall.
We can say Firewall-as-a-Service, or FWaaS for short is a form of cloud firewall. FWaaS, like other "as-a-service" categories like software-as-a-service (SaaS) or infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), is hosted in the cloud and accessed through the Internet, with updates and maintenance provided by a third-party provider.
Firewall-as-a-Service (FWaaS) is a cloud firewall that comes with powerful features like
Advanced threat detection and prevention
Intrusion detection and prevention systems
By eliminating firewall hardware, FWaaS allows businesses to simplify their IT architecture. It eliminates the issues of change control because it can be managed centrally from a single console. Patch management, policy management, and coordinating outage windows with firewall appliances are also no longer problematic.
What are the Best FWaaS Providers?
On third-party infrastructure, more apps and data are being executed and managed every day. Companies have a hard time defining their network perimeters, and the implications can be disastrous. FWaaS vendors provide enterprises with an alternative with the launch of firewalls as a service. For a monthly fee, users can aggregate traffic from many sources into the cloud, enforce security policies for all users and locations, and have comprehensive visibility and control over their networks.
Because FWaaS is still relatively new and fast increasing, a big disadvantage for any corporation is that it can be costly. Overtime charges for FWaaS are typically higher than those for traditional on-premises equipment. Because FWaaS is a cloud-based solution, its functionality is greatly reliant on the network connection. Any level of latency or cloud service provider outage can have a significant impact on enterprises.
Several FWaaS vendors are currently available throughout the security spectrum. Traditional firewall providers such as Cisco, Palo Alto Networks, Fortinet, and Zscaler have begun to deliver FWaaS solutions in addition to key cloud infrastructure vendors such as AWS, Google, and Microsoft. Because researching all possibilities can take a long time, we've prepared this evaluation to look at the best suppliers in the sector. In the sections below, you may learn more about each of these alternatives:
- Perimeter 81: Perimeter 81 is an edge platform with a central product called Firewall-as-a-Service. The Perimeter 81 system, unlike traditional firewalls, isn't limited to protecting a single network. Instead, it can be used to manage access to all of an organization's resources. This includes remote home worker workstations, cloud platforms, and all of the LANs that a multi-site corporation might use.
- CrowdStrike: CrowdStrike Falcon Firewall Management is an excellent FWaaS since it combines network and endpoint security. Because this security system is based on a subscription model, there are no upfront hardware or software fees. Thanks to CrowdStrike Falcon Firewall Management's cloud architecture, administrators may incorporate security for remote workers and other locations into the home network protection plan.
- Zscaler: Zscaler created the FWaaS system based on virtual offices. Traditional corporate practices, such as cramming all employees into a small office space, are no longer applicable, according to the corporation. This system provides a way for remote workers to securely connect to the corporate network while remaining protected by the corporate firewall. The firewall service software does not need to be installed on the protected machine. Instead, the service simply safeguards the connection by inspecting all traffic to ensure that the worker's device does not transmit viruses to the main system.
- SecurityHQ: SecurityHQ goes a step farther than simply hosting a firewall service; it also provides firewall administration. This is a wonderful alternative for companies that don't have their own IT team or who have but don't have specific cybersecurity capabilities on staff.
- Secucloud: Secucloud Firewall as a Service employs AI-based machine learning techniques to detect unusual traffic. This is the distinguishing feature of a next-generation security system, and it minimizes the number of false-positive anomaly detections.
- Fortinet: Fortinet comprises Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFWs), which may move your organization's network performance and security to the cloud in real-time. SD-WAN, intrusion prevention, anti-malware and virus protection, high-speed VPN, browser and content filtering, and decryption are all included in FortiGate. FortiGate is accessible as a virtual appliance in the cloud environments of AWS, VMware, Azure, GCP, Oracle, and Alibaba. Users can utilize Fortinet Fabric Connectors with FortiGate's firewall as a service technology to provide open, API-based integration with numerous software-defined networks (SDN), cloud management, and partner technology platforms.
- Palo Alto: Palo Alto caused a paradigm shift in the firewall business with the launch of its NGFW. At the time, this invention provided critical visibility and application-based controls. Palo Alto now offers a line of machine learning-capable NGFWs. Users can manage on-demand scalability, limit risk with simpler compliance, and act instantaneously across various settings with the VM-Series of virtual firewalls. VMware NSX helps enterprises limit lateral threat movement, prevent data exfiltration, and protect traffic between trusted zones using Palo Alto's virtual enterprise network.
- Cisco: Cisco currently offers physical firewall appliances, or firewalls, as a service for the public and private cloud. Cisco's security portfolio is available through the Cisco SecureX platform for virtual firewalls. You can discover problems, enable automation, and improve access across the net, endpoints, cloud, and applications by integrating the SecureX platform into your enterprise. Cisco also offers Cisco Umbrella, a SASE solution that includes SD-WAN, SWG, FWaaS, and CASB features.
- Sophos: Sophos' XG Firewall firewall range is managed using its cloud-based service, Sophos Central. Enterprise protection, SD-WAN & branch, endpoint integration, public and private cloud, and an all-in-one plan are all available as firewall products. Users can create policies, change access controls, and evaluate insights on threats, compliance, system performance, and user traffic using Sophos' xStream architecture.