A firewall is one of the oldest forms of network security. While this might not sound enticing to some, the fact that firewalls have been used for decades only reinforces the fact that they hold a substantial amount of inherent value. This, however, doesn’t fully answer some important questions about firewalls. Why are they still useful today? And moreover, what is a firewall?
No matter if you’re an international conglomerate or a small business, having a firewall in place can greatly limit your exposure to dangerous threats. The purpose of a firewall is to investigate traffic at the packet level to determine whether connections are safe. Beyond threat deterrence and mitigation, firewalls also serve an important role in logging network and device activity. This is key both for understanding the behavior of devices and traffic, as well as for compliance and liability issues. Finally, firewalls will often have a built-in virtual private network (VPN) to help encrypt traffic. This makes it more difficult for transmitted data to be extracted and used against you, regardless of physical location.
These are the basics of network firewalls. But as already mentioned, firewalls have been around for a while now. In that time, they haven’t just been stagnating there. Things have been changing in terms of the delivery, role, and capabilities of firewalls. One of these evolutions have been the development of the network Firewall-as-a-Service (FWaaS). Next, we’ll look at the qualities of a FWaaS, and also determine if a network Firewall-as-a-Service is more secure.
What Is a Network Firewall-as-a-Service (FWaaS)?
There are two ways you need to distinguish the traditional firewalls that have been in use since the 1980s to next-generation firewalls and a network Firewall-as-a-Service. Before diving into the benefits of FWaaS, it’s essential to first understand how next-generation firewalls, which are the foundation for FWaaS, have gone beyond their predecessors. These are a few of the top features of next-generation firewalls that put them leagues ahead of more basic versions:
- Encrypted traffic inspection – By investigating encrypted traffic, next-gen firewalls are able to go deeper into securing network traffic. These communications are then re-encrypted after they have been deemed safe.
- Deep packet inspection (DPI) – A basic firewall can investigate for potential threats on the packet level. But with a deep packet inspection from a next-gen firewall, it’s possible to actually look at the contents of the packets themselves. This leads to more thorough and accurate threat assessments, which can stop malware and ransomware in its tracks.
- Intrusion prevention system (IPS) – This is used for stopping known threats, which can still pose significant risks to enterprise networks. But quickly identifying these issues and altering the necessary parties, threats can be shut down before causing damage.
- Third-party integration – No matter how expansive a next-gen firewall is able to make your network defenses, there’s always more that can make it better. Simple integrations with other security protocols can build an even stronger security layer without creating unintended vulnerabilities.
These are all pretty clear benefits next-generation firewalls hold over less advanced iterations. But how does a network Firewall-as-a-Service fit into all of this? It’s simple—by delivering all these enhanced capabilities through a cloud-based service.
With the update to as-a-service models, firewalls can now bring even better security to firms, while also offering increased flexibility and cost savings. When you opt for as-a-service solutions, the vendor really has to prove their worth. Otherwise, it’s easy and inexpensive for you to change to an option that works better for you.
Firewalls have changed a lot over the years; but their core mission of securing networks has remained the same. Upgrading to a network Firewall-as-a-Service can help boost the security of your organization in a big way.