The Advantages of a Next-Generation Firewall

Did you know that October is Cyber Security Awareness month? Although it is widely known that cybercrime is the most dangerous threat to businesses of any size, unfortunately, very few SMEs have the right processes in place to protect them in the event of an attack.

A major part of having a secure network is installing next-generation firewalls. A next-generation firewall (NGFW) is an upgrade to the traditional firewalls, and offers greater protection to your network. If you’re wondering what an NGFW can do for your business, read on to find out:

The Advantages of a Next-Generation Firewall

 

  • Multi-Layered Protection

In today’s digital age, a simple antivirus software that comes preinstalled on your device doesn’t cut it anymore. You need several different layers of protection to keep cyberattacks at bay. While a traditional firewall offers single layer protection by blocking access through ports using information from layer 4, an NGFW goes deeper and inspects traffic from layer 2 through to layer 7 of the OSI model. This offers businesses more insight into the activity that conducted on their network, including who is accessing malicious websites, when and from where.

  • Multi-Functional

NGFWs include all the benefits of a traditional firewall, but takes it one step further by also including integrated intrusion detection systems (IDS) and intrusion protection systems (IPS), which can help businesses improve packet-content filtering. They also detect regular user behaviour and any deviations from it, protecting your network from intelligent attacks and informing you in case any unusual activity is taking place on any of the devices connected to your network.

Even more importantly, the IDS/IPS constantly adds to its own database of viruses and cyberattacks. What this means is that as cybercriminals come up with newer viruses, your NGFW will constantly be learning and devising strategies to fight with them to offer you better protection.

  • Threat protection

Traditional firewalls typically do not come with antivirus and malware protection. With a traditional firewall, in order to protect against viruses and malware that make it through, you would have to buy separate antivirus software. On the other hand, any next-generation firewall worth its salt will come with antivirus software that will check any file or data that is uploaded or downloaded on a device. The software will also look at checksums, do a signature-based analysis and scan the file for malware.

  • Geolocation

Using a next-generation firewall, you can control who has access to your network. Geolocation allows you to create NAT (Network Address Translation) rules, using which you can direct traffic from different areas to different servers. Because IP address allocations are constantly changing, an NGFW needs to be evolving and updating according to the needs.

  • Stateful inspection (Dynamic Packet Filtering)

An NGFW inspects all data packets entering and exiting a network, whether from a browser or an app, and determines if it should be let through or blocked. An administrator can set rules or policies around which websites and apps can be accessed or downloaded, and the NGFW matches all data to these rules to see if the website is safe.

  • VPN Support

With the frequent lockdowns in Australia forcing employees to work from home, and employees regularly conducting work from personal devices such as smartphones and tablets, your network can get exposed to cybercriminals. When a device connected to your network is connected to an unsecured internet point, it becomes susceptible to phishing attempts, hacking attacks and malware infections. An NGFW allows you to create VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) that are more secure, monitored and well-protected.

  • Network Speed

The more devices and security measures you need to install for your traditional firewall to provide adequate security, the more your network speed will decrease. This is because when all of these devices and softwares are turned on, they tend to choke the network speed, which can cut the promised network speed by one-third by the time it reaches the end user.

Because NGFWs integrate all of these security devices and services into one, you constantly achieve the same throughput irrespective of the number of protection services.

  • Cost-effectiveness

It may seem like upgrading to an NGFW is actually costing you more initially than just replacing your traditional firewall with another, but when you consider that you’re replacing at least 3 security products with a single product, you’re eliminating maintenance and replacement costs for 3 devices. Additionally, because it offers greater protection against all kinds of new and existing treats, you may be better protected than you previously were, reducing chances of cyberattacks and saving you money in the long run.

To learn more about next-generation firewalls and what they can do for you, give the IT specialists at Intellect IT a call. Not only will we answer any questions you may have, you may also get a customised demonstration tailored precisely to your organisation’s needs!

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