By Roger Carvosso, Product and Innovation Director
As the digital world continues to evolve, so too do cyber threats. Zero-day exploits are becoming both more common and severe, and staying ahead of them is challenging to say the least.
But despite rapid change in the cyber realm in recent years, there is one tried and true technology that remains foundational to protecting an organisation’s digital assets from malicious attacks - the humble firewall.
A firewall is a network security system that monitors and controls incoming and outgoing network traffic based on a set of predetermined security rules. It typically establishes a barrier between a trusted internal network and an untrusted external network, such as the Internet.
Traditional first-generation firewalls, also known as packet filters, controlled network access by monitoring outgoing and incoming packets and allowing them to pass or halt based on the source and destination Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, protocols and ports. Second-generation firewalls built upon their first-generation predecessors by attempting to increase the level of security between trusted and untrusted networks via proxy services - an interface between the user on the internal trusted network and the Internet.
The newest generation of firewalls - often referred to as next-generation firewalls (NGFWs) - are hardware or software-based network security solutions that can detect and block sophisticated attacks beyond traditional firewall technologies. They perform deeper inspections, checking packet payloads and matching signatures for harmful activities such as exploitable attacks and malware. NGFWs also offer administrators greater awareness of and control over individual applications. Most are modular, meaning users can choose to purchase and activate features commensurate with their specific needs and risks.
Irrespective of the type of firewall you’re using or considering, perhaps the most important things to weigh up are whether the product meets the specific security requirements of your organisation, as well as whether it is a good fit for your IT environment. And remember, as cyber threats continue to evolve, firewalls remain an integral asset in your cyber defence line.
FirstWave's cloud-based NGFW service offering combines application awareness, deep packet inspection and advanced threat prevention to give companies better control over applications for their cloud deployments while also detecting and blocking malicious threats. Also available as a high availability, managed solution, this offering can be customised to meet high-end, enterprise-specific needs. Learn more.