HomeEditor's PickWhat to Expect in Your Next-Gen Firewall: A 2023 Guide

What to Expect in Your Next-Gen Firewall: A 2023 Guide

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Discover the features of next-generation firewalls in this 2023 guide. Understand how they contribute to stronger cybersecurity in the digital age.

In 2023, the global average cost of a data breach due to cyber-attacks was USD 4.45 million. These numbers are expected to grow in the coming days. The growing cyber-attacks eventually stimulate the development of more complicated firewalls to help protect websites and online resources from unauthorized parties.

To protect data from cyber criminals and fight attacks and scams on the internet, a next-generation firewall (NGFW) is the best resource. NGFW has improved technological capabilities that filter out possible threats and malicious attack attempts.

Introduction to Next-Gen Firewalls

The next generation firewall (NGFW) is a particular type of firewall designed to ensure high levels of safety against increasing cyber threats. NGFW includes integrated intrusion detections, application control, deep-packet filtering, and increased network visibility. The utilization of NGFW is based on the functionality of monitoring traffic in network ports and IP addresses. 

NGFW combines the functionality of traditional systems with technologies, e.g., threat anticipation, deep packet inspection, and intrusion detection. NGFW increases the company's levels of protection against increasingly robust and dangerous threats.

READ ALSO: Network Firewalls: Comprehensive Guide For Non-Tech-Savvy People

Key Features of Next-Gen Firewalls in 2023

NGFW is a security feature developed to assess and monitor networks to block potentially harmful traffic. Some of the key features of NGFW are:

Advanced threat prevention and detection

Using intelligent predictions, NGFW can be used to incorporate complicated threat detection mechanisms, e.g., AI-driven algorithms, behavioral analysis, and machine learning. These technologies allow the firewall to block and recognize unknown and known threats efficiently.

Cloud integration

With the rapid adoption of cloud services, NGFWs will integrate more seamlessly with cloud environments. This incorporation ensures constant privacy policies and security for both on-premises and cloud-based assets.

SSL/TLS Inspection

As encryption becomes more prevalent, NGFWs are expected to have improved SSL/TLS inspection capabilities. They can inspect and decrypt encrypted traffic to identify threats hidden in encrypted communication.

Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA)

NGFWs are expected to support Zero Trust Model, where access is granted based on user verification and other contextual factors rather than exclusively relying on perimeter-based security.

The Evolution of Firewall Technology

Essential advancements have marked the evolution of firewall technology since its beginning in the 1980s. Below are the evolutions of firewall technology:

First Generation Firewalls

Packet Filtering- The Packet Filtering Firewalls inspected the packet’s header information, e.g., source IP addresses and ports, to verify whether to block or allow traffic.

Second Generation Firewalls

Stateful Inspection and Proxy- Stateful Inspection Firewalls brought more intelligence through connection tracking, while Proxy firewalls acted as intermediaries, protecting internal networks.

Third Generation Firewalls

Application-level Gateway- Application-level gateway provided granular control over application data. These firewalls understood application-specific protocols, e.g., HTTP and FTP, and could block, inspect, or modify application data.

Unified Threat Management (UTM)- Unified Threat Management (UTM) Firewalls integrate multiple security functions into a single device, e.g., firewall, antivirus, VPN, and anti-spam, providing comprehensive protection in a compact package.

Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW)

Next-Generation Firewalls is the part of third-generation firewalls. In the late 2000s, NGFW integrated advanced features like SSL and IPS inspections. As technologies evolve, firewalls will adopt automation and cater to emerging security demands.

How Next-Gen Firewalls Enhance Network Security

NGFW is an improvement over traditional firewalls, which hackers and cyber-attackers can override. NGFW enhances network security in different ways, some of which are:

Application and User Identification

NGFWs will continue to provide user identification capabilities and application-aware filtering. NGFWs have evolved into the first line of protection against computer malware. This feature allows organizations to implement granular policies based on user profiles and particular applications, enhancing safety and control over network traffic. 

Intrusion Prevention System (IPS)

NGFW serves to monitor your internet network to prevent malicious activity. IPS uses a signature-based monitoring system to log threats. In addition, IPS also includes policy-based and anomaly techniques, which screen for security threats.

Deep Packet Inspection (DPI)

DPI keeps an eye on the type of data present in packets. This is an expansion over the old firewalls, which only checked the IP header to ensure a traffic source was a threat.

Application Awareness

NGFWs can filter traffic from different sources using their complex algorithms. This technology can distinguish which applications are suitable and which are accompanied by distractions. 

Understanding the Role of AI in Next-Gen Firewalls

AI plays an essential role in NGFW by enhancing their capabilities and making them more effective in mitigating and detecting advanced threats. Some roles of AI in NGFW are:

Threat intelligence integration

AI-enabled NGFW can integrate with threat intelligence feeds, keeping them updated with the latest threats and blocking malicious traffic.

Predictive analytics

AI can predict potential privacy breaches by identifying trends, analyzing historical data and anomalies that might signify future cyber attacks.

Automated Security Rules

AI can automatically update and create safety rules based on real-time network traffic analysis, reducing the need for manual interference and ensuring adaptive safety measures.

Cloud-Based Security

AI-powered NGFW can leverage cloud-based computing power to perform complex analysis and scale efficiently as network traffic grows.

The Importance of Integrated Intrusion Prevention in Next-Gen Firewalls

An integrated Intrusion prevention system (IPS) in NGFW is essential since it offers real-time threat prevention, the ability to check unusual activity, and security against known vulnerabilities.

By automatically blocking malicious traffic and performing deep packet inspection, IPS reduces the attack surface and complements traditional firewall rules. It enhances network safety by preventing intrusion, guaranteeing compliance with industry policies, and detecting suspicious activities.

Evaluating the Performance and Scalability of Next-Gen Firewalls

Evaluating the scalability and performance of NGFW is essential in ensuring adequate network safety. These firewalls combine cutting-edge technologies like intrusion deterrence, deep packet inspection, application responsiveness, and safety threats.

Scalability is tested to determine the firewall’s ability to accommodate network growth, while performance metrics such as latency and connection are evaluated under realistic conditions.

Choosing the Right Next-Gen Firewall for Your Organization in 2023

Choosing the right NGFW for organizations needs a thorough understanding of the current threat landscape. Begin by identifying the chief features your organization needs, e.g., application control, packet inspection, and intrusion prevention, while considering the organization’s development plan to guarantee scalability. 

Moreover, work with trustworthy vendors and seek feedback from trusted sources to make an informed decision that aligns with the organization’s safety objectives and supports its future development. Also, make sure that the firewall integrates seamlessly with the organization’s existing network infrastructure and offers centralized management for smooth operations.

Final Words

NGFW is important compared to other firewalls already existing on the market because their protection and security methods are improved according to the existing threat landscape. To choose a good firewall for your company, NGFW has essential features capable of solving threats, visibility, protection, and response challenges, e.g., deep packet inspection and intrusion prevention, advanced threat protection, and application control.


About the Author:

Owner at TechSegun LLC. | Website | + posts

Daniel Segun is the Founder and CEO of SecureBlitz Cybersecurity Media, with a background in Computer Science and Digital Marketing. When not writing, he's probably busy designing graphics or developing websites.


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