Best Next-Gen Firewalls

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Firewalls play a crucial role in cybersecurity architectures all over the world. With an increasing amount of data being generated each day and evolving threats to enterprise security, defending data and applications is becoming more difficult. Firewalls are virtual barriers that secure enterprise networks from hackers, malware, and other forms of attack.

Firewalls come in the form of both software and hardware and provide consolidated security between enterprise networks and outside threats. Next-generation firewalls (NGFWs) are the third generation of firewall technology.

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Benefits of Next-Gen Firewalls

NGFWs cover all the services that traditional firewall technologies like unified threat management (UTM) and web application firewalls (WAF) have to offer. In addition, they provide advanced threat protection, intrusion prevention systems (IPS), deep-packet inspection (DPI), and layer 7 application control technologies.

IT administrators configure NGFWs to specific system requirements to make sure that no data is vulnerable. Once a NGFW is implemented, they oversee firewall tools to ensure security. NGFWs can be deployed in four methods: public cloud, private cloud, on-premises (edge) and on-premises (internal).

The benefits of NGFWs include:

  • Creating virtual barriers between enterprise networks and the internet.
  • User access filtering and assessment.
  • Alerting IT managers when unauthorized access is attempted.
  • Outlining and enforcing security and authentication rules.
  • Automating tasks associated with monitoring or testing.

When considering NGFW vendors and products, look for these features:

  • Application and user identity awareness
  • Centralized management, visibility and auditing
  • Dynamic packet filtering
  • Deep-packet inspection
  • Intrusion prevention systems
  • Network sandboxing
  • HTTPS, SSL/TLS and encrypted traffic
  • Threat intelligence feeds and dynamic lists
  • Integration capacity

In this guide, we will dive into all you should know about the top products and service providers in the NGFW sphere.

Also read: Top Zero Trust Security Solutions & Software 2021 

Top Enterprise Next-Gen Firewall Providers

Here are the best next-gen firewall vendors.

Huawei

Huawei’s HiSecEngine USG6600E Series AI Firewall (fixed-configuration) is designed for medium- and large-sized enterprises and next-gen data centers. HiSecEngine USG6600E Series AI Firewall provides NGFW capabilities and cooperates with other security devices to dynamically defend against enterprise network threats, resolve performance deterioration issues, and enhance border detection capabilities.

USG6600E firewall provides Internet Protocol Security (IPsec) services, security detection and encryption/decryption service processing acceleration and pattern matching capabilities.

Key Differentiators

  • Provides real-time intelligent threat processing at the network edge. The device can defend against vulnerability-based attacks, like Structured Query Language (SQL) injections and cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks.
  • Offers simplified operations and maintenance (O&M) based on change policies and service deployment, significantly reducing operating expenses.
  •  Provides several integrated protection capabilities, including uniform resource locator (URL) filtering, anti-spam functions, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack protection, bandwidth management, data leak prevention, a virtual private network (VPN), intrusion prevention and antivirus.
  • Identifies more than 6,000 applications and combines application identification with data filtering, antivirus and intrusion detection, thereby improving detection accuracy and performance.
  • Manages per-user and per-internet protocol (IP) bandwidth by managing policy-based routing (PBR), ensuring the minimum bandwidth, limiting the maximum bandwidth and changing application forwarding priorities.
  • Coordinates with the local or cloud sandbox to detect and block harmful files.

Fortinet

Fortinet logo

Fortinet’s FortiGate 7121F Series (hardware) delivers high-performance NGFW capabilities for large-sized enterprises. With high-throughput, high-port density and multiple high-speed interfaces, ideal deployments are at the network edge, across internal segments and the hybrid data center core. The NGFW provides advanced threat protection, IPS and SSL inspection to optimize your network’s performance. FortiGate 7121F Series is the only NGFW that offers 400G connectivity.

Key Differentiators

  • Actively identifies thousands of applications inside network traffic for granular policy enforcement and deep inspection.
  • Protects against malware, malicious websites and other forms of attack in both encrypted and unencrypted traffic.
  • Fortinet’s AI-powered, real-time threat intelligence detects and prevents known and unknown attacks.
  • Delivers ultra-low latency and sublime threat protection performance using purpose-built Security Processing Unit (SPU) technology.
  • Offers multi-tenancy, extensive deployment flexibility and effective utilization of network resources.
  • Includes a simple and effective management console that provides network automation and visibility.
  • Provides full user, device and application visibility across the entire attack surface.  

Palo Alto Networks

Palo Alto Networks’ ML-powered virtual NGFW, VM-Series Virtual NGFW, adopts complete zero trust network security. The VM-Series Virtual NGFW flexibly scales to secure deployments in SDN environments, public clouds and private clouds. The NGFW is easy-to-deploy, automatable, scalable and helps isolate and safeguard critical systems. The VM-Series Virtual NGFW helps you watch over software-defined agility and cloud speed.   

Key Differentiators 

  • Consistently protects against advanced threats in real time, with full control and traffic visibility. Secures development and multi-cloud environments with the same extent of protection as on-premises data centers.
  • Stops lateral attacks in private cloud and virtualized environments. By integrating with software solutions like VMware NSX, you can segregate and secure traffic between microsegments and enforce trust zones.
  • Safeguards cloud applications, on-premises deployments and branches and boosts overall security posture.
  • Eliminates network security gaps and simplifies policies across clouds and infrastructures with Panorama network security management.
  • Detects difficult-to-find threats by inspecting every inbound/outbound packet for known/unknown threats.
  • Stops outbound traffic exfiltration with integrated data loss prevention (DLP).
  • Integrated IPS provides enriched segmentation and micro-segmentation.

Check Point

Check Point’s gateways (hardware) feature out-of-the-box SandBlast Zero Day protection and provide over 60 innovative security features. The gateways are based on the Infinity Architecture, can scale on demand and deliver up to 1.5 TBps of threat prevention performance.

Check Point’s Quantum Security Gateways provide a scalable and unified architecture that protects mid- and large-sized enterprises from the fifth generation of cyber attacks. Quantum 6900 is ideal for mid-sized enterprises and Quantum 16200 is best-suited to large-sized enterprises.

Key Differentiators

  • Quantum 6900 delivers 7.4 Gbps full threat prevention performance and Quantum 16200 delivers 15 Gbps full threat prevention performance against fifth-generation attacks. Both gateways feature SandBlast Zero Day protection.  
  • These gateways come with a NGFW as well (17 and 27 Gbps full threat prevention performance respectively) for third-generation attack protection.
  • Helps significantly cut operation management time.
  • On-demand expansion (hyperscalability) with up to 1.5 TBps of threat prevention performance.
  • Protects against fifth-generation attacks with unified security.
  • Provides the latest CPUs for accelerated, high-performance SSL inspection.
  • Optimal CPU utilization enables faster processing to prevent fifth-generation attacks.

Cisco

Cisco logo

Cisco Firepower NGFWs (hardware) deliver advanced malware protection from the network to the enterprise endpoint, advanced threat protection in real time, granular application control, and unified policy management of firewall functions.

The Firepower 2100 Series is ideal for enterprise use. The NGFW delivers up to 8.5 Gbps of threat prevention performance and optimizes threat prevention, firewall and cryptographic services simultaneously, with an ingenious dual multicore CPU architecture.

Key Differentiators

  • Protects against malware, allows granular application control, reduces complexity with the comprehensive, on-device management interface and shrinks time to detection and remediation.
  • Delivers optimized performance and port density with up to 8.5 Gbps of firewall throughput speed.
  • Maintains throughput performance without hampering threat inspection capabilities with its innovative dual multicore CPU architecture.
  • By integrating with third-party security solutions, you can share policy controls, intelligence and context to further strengthen your defenses.
  • You can enable rapid threat containment and automatic device quarantining with Cisco ISE.
  • Easy to configure and manage, with local, centralized and cloud-based managers to choose from.  

Comparing Top Next-Gen Firewall Providers

Huawei’s next-gen firewall, HiSecEngine USG6600E Series AI Firewall, is ideal for medium- and large-sized enterprises. The NGFW provides all the features you expect of a top product in the NGFW market, including real-time threat processing at the edge, simplified O&M, integrated protection, application identification and local/cloud sandbox collaboration. 

FortiGate 7121F Series is best-suited to large-sized enterprises. The NGFW provides continuous advanced threat protection, ultra-low latency, application identification, IPS, SSL inspection, a comprehensive management console and 400G connectivity. If you are looking for a virtual NGFW, Palo Alto Networks’ VM-Series Virtual NGFW is a reliable solution.

Check Point’s gateways protect enterprises from fifth generation cyber attacks and are hyperscalable. Cisco’s Firepower 2100 Series is a viable option as well. Select a NGFW that best meets your requirements, be it a software or hardware solution.  

Read next: Boosting IT Security with AI-driven SIEM

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