State of the Art Firewall Hardware and Firewall Management Is Critical for the Protection of Your Infrastructure.
Your firewall is the guardhouse that sits between your network and the dangers that lurk everywhere on the internet. The software that runs your firewall device is the traffic cop that watches carefully for suspicious traffic trying to access your network.
But that’s just the starting point.
Next-generation firewalls offer a host of functionalities that form a critical part of your security matrix.
- Geolocation – Because IP addresses change and can be spoofed, next-gen firewalls have the capability of blocking traffic from countries or specific regions. Alternatively, geolocation can be used to direct traffic from specific countries or regions to the office your company has set up to serve that region.
- Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems – Software within the firewall checks data packets to determine whether or not they look suspicious. This functionality relies on constantly updated firewall threat signature databases and is most effective if managed by firewall maintenance professionals.
- Antivirus/Anti-Malware – Viruses and common malware are often blocked by antivirus software housed within the firewall. Again, the databases of known viruses and malware must be regularly updated for the antivirus within a firewall to be effective.
- Sandboxing – When a next-gen firewall spots a suspicious data packet, it directs it to a “sandbox.” The sandbox is a fake operating system that allows the automatic tools and firewall management team to see if suspicious data packet acts in a malicious manner when it comes into contact with a “target” operating system. In the sandbox, a threat can be contained and destroyed.
- Web Proxy – Because much of the traffic through a firewall is encrypted, a web proxy is useful. It works inside the encrypted HTTPS session, decrypting the session so the firewall software can see what’s happening and search for troubling anomalies.
- URL Checking – Cybersecurity specialists keep lists of URLs that are commonly associated with malware, spyware, and hacking activity. These lists are kept current, and they allow a URL checking and blocking firewall feature to be effective against known threat vectors using known URLs.
- Reverse Proxy – A reverse proxy is a server that acts as a separate “reception area” for requests sent from other servers to your main servers. This separation of the “reception area” and “backend” allows for greater security, scalability, and compliance.
- Web Application Firewall – Web Application Firewalls are most commonly used to decrypt data packets so they can be examined before they hit their target.
- Load Balancing – When activity ramps up, and your web traffic is high, load balancing is an effective way of making distributed use of your existing resources, so one resource isn’t overloaded while others are sitting nearly idle.
- Threat Intelligence – This is a subscription service function. Next-gen firewalls are set up to download information about current and horizon-level threats in order to protect your systems against those potential attacks.
- Behavior Analysis – Data traffic, like people, acts in predictable ways. When traffic behaves in a way that is unexpected, it triggers a red flag and is quarantined for further inspection.
- Central Management – Next-gen firewalls can be configured, monitored, and updated from a central control panel. This allows for fast, efficient updates and incident response.
What Next-Generation Firewall Hardware Should I Buy?
There are several reputable firewall manufacturers, that can be taken into consideration in this discussion. Each has its pros and cons. It’s best to speak to an unbiased firewall specialist from Hill Tech Solutions before buying and implementing a firewall solution. However, here are some general points to consider.
- What is the firewall manufacturer’s reputation?
- How good is the firewall manufacturer’s user support?
- Is the firewall you are considering compatible with your current systems?
- Can the firewall you are considering handle the increase in traffic that will occur as your company grows?
- Who is going to implement the firewall you buy? Are they familiar with the brand and model you are considering?
- Who is going to keep the firewall updated to spot current and emerging threats?
- Is the firewall manufacturer a leader in the cybersecurity arena or simply a company that makes firewalls?