In our technologically advanced world, working without a firewall installed on your computer is a considerable risk. It is the primary defense for your network as it monitors and filters incoming and outgoing network traffic and blocks unauthorized access to your computer so you can protect your private data. And with the rise of new techs also comes with it more risks concerning data and network security.
There are two basic types of firewalls: traditional and next generation firewall such as SangforNGAF. Based on the names alone, you can probably already tell which one is the better choice but let’s properly define them first and point out the differences to make a more informed choice on which one to invest.
The traditional firewall polices the flow of traffic that goes in and out of a network. It does this based on port, protocol, source address, and destination address. This basic function can be done in two ways by a traditional firewall: stateless and stateful. Usually, though when talking about a traditional firewall, it refers to the stateful inspection firewall.
So what does stateless and stateful mean? The stateless method checks over each packet of data individually, but it can’t identify its context or traffic flow. The latter, meanwhile, is done by more sophisticated traditional firewalls because it applies basic intelligence and is capable of discerning the operating state of packets. Simply put, they are “state-aware” and can monitor traffic flow and distinguish between what is safe, potentially unsafe, and malicious.
Additionally, traditional firewalls also have Virtual Private Network (VPN) capabilities for when traversing a public or untrusted network like when you’re connecting your device to a public internet connection.
Next Generation Firewall
Gartner defines next generation firewall or NGFW as a “deep-packet inspection firewall that moves beyond port/protocol inspection and blocking to add application-level inspection, intrusion prevention, and bringing intelligence from outside the firewall.”
NGFW does the same thing that a traditional firewall can: static and dynamic packet filtering, VPN support, and stateful inspection to ensure that all connections are valid and secure. But an NGFW brings additional security compared to a traditional one to fight against the latest cyber threats that come with technological advancement. As mentioned above, it has application-level inspection, intrusion prevention, and can gather intelligence from outside the firewall to create a unified threat management system.
Next Generation Firewall Advanced Features
A standard set of advanced features that an NGFW has can include the following:
Application awareness and control
This is the most apparent difference between NGFW and traditional firewalls. With this feature, the NGFW can filter packets based on applications. While traditional firewalls only worked on layers 2 to 4, NGFWs can monitor traffic from layers 2 to 7 and determine whether that traffic is malicious or not.
Because of application awareness, the firewall can allow for application control as well. The firewall can track who the user is and then have usage controls set in place to control both the inbound and outbound traffic and what the user can send or receive through the network.
Deep Packet Inspection
Whereas traditional firewalls typically inspect only the header of the data packets going through, a next generation firewall can read the footer, source, and destination of the incoming packets. It can also examine the content to search for illegal statements and pre-defined criteria and decide whether or not to let it through.
It utilizes signature matching technology with data analysis to determine the impact of that information packet. It takes the packet apart, examines and compares the data with set criteria, and then reassembles it speedily and efficiently that won’t affect the network traffic speed.
Integrated Intrusion Protection System
A step up from the intrusion detection system, the IPS will detect and block cyberattacks. It can drop malicious packets, log the IP addresses, and blacklist future traffic from them. It identifies these attacks based on integrated threat signatures, anomalous activity, and analyzing traffic behavior.
IDS and IPS are installed separately with older firewalls, but with an NGFW, these systems are fully integrated into the firewall. This makes it accessible and efficient for all layers of the network.
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Inspection and Secure Shell (SSH) Control
Additionally, a next generation firewall can also recognize and decrypt traffic encrypted with SSL and SSH. It has the necessary software to perform the decryption, analysis, and then encrypting it again in a virtually seamless manner that won’t affect performance.
Invest in Next Generation Firewall Hardware and Software
Next generation firewall brings many benefits thanks to its advanced capabilities that further improve what traditional firewalls have already been doing for the past years. Despite the rapid evolution of malicious cyberattacks, many tech companies have adapted just as quickly to ensure the protection of networks and the private data of many organizations.
That’s why Sangfor has developed NGAF, the world’s first AI-enabled NGFW that is fully integrated with WAF (Web Application Firewall) and Endpoint Secure (Next-Generation Endpoint Security) to provide all-around protection from all kinds of threats.
It’s an all-in-one, easy-to-use security solution designed to protect your organization from internal, existing, and future threats. And to ensure that your network is completely safe, NGAF databases are updated regularly. Make the change now and invest in your organization’s future.