The 5 fundamentals of powerful, next-generation firewalls

As more businesses work globally, often underpinned by a hybrid working model, cybersecurity must be optimised to counter ambitious cybercriminals. In particular, security teams must protect business networks where people are logging on across multiple territories and any number of devices.

Linked to this trend is how business-critical applications increasingly leverage a blend of on-premises and cloud-based components. The cloud can drive game-changing transformation, but it also poses critical security challenges. Thankfully, CIOs are increasingly aware their security posture may need updating. In Foundry’s 2022 Security Priorities study, 90% of security executives said they believe their organisation is falling short when it comes to addressing cyber risk. Moreover, in the same study, a lack of resources was cited as one of the reasons behind that discouraging assessment.

So, what technology might security leaders need to enhance their defensive postures in this new era? A new type of firewall would be one answer, since traditional enterprise firewalls might not withstand modern threats.

The solution is this: A “next-generation” firewall.

While a traditional firewall typically provides stateful inspection of incoming and outgoing network traffic, a next-generation firewall includes additional features like application awareness and control, integrated intrusion prevention, and cloud-delivered threat intelligence.

With next-generation firewalls, IT leaders can maintain consistent visibility, policy enforcement, and threat visibility – without leaving the business vulnerable. Here’s how:

Five features

  1. Deep integrations. Next-generation firewalls combine core networking functions and network security. This results in a more agile, automated, and integrated approach for harmonising policies and enforcement across modern dynamic applications — and increasingly heterogenous networks. Cisco’s Secure Firewall, for instance, provides a deep set of integrations between core networking functions and network security, resulting in a security portfolio that protects applications and users wherever they may be.
  2. Centralised administration / management. A second major benefit of next-generation firewalls is that they can be centrally managed via a single pane of glass. The approach dramatically reduces the time that networking and security teams need to develop workstreams. According to Forrester, for example,  the Cisco Secure Firewall reduces network operation workstreams by up to 95%, and security investigation and response workstreams by up to 83%.
  3. Unprecedented visibility and control. Another advantage of centralised firewall administration is that it gives network and security teams a deeper look into network activities, which in turn enables them to improve their threat posture. Next-gen firewalls deliver unified policy across platforms, information on mobile devices, context, and threat intelligence –the visibility enterprises need to handle connections to their network via potentially vulnerable endpoints.
  4. Ease of migration. The best next-gen firewalls make it easy to decommission legacy technologies and migrate to new systems. Cisco, for instance, provides standardised policies and validated means of deploying its Secure Firewall via cloud-platform marketplaces.
  5. Flexibility (on-premises, cloud, and hybrid). The most effective next-gen firewalls come with advanced capabilities and outcomes that can be applied anywhere – on-premises, in the cloud, or in multicloud environments – according to the unique needs of the business. This is what makes next-generation firewalls like the Cisco Secure Firewall so well suited to the age of hybrid working – they ensure security resilience across any environment so that IT teams can rapidly respond to threats and protect their applications and data at any location.

The world of work is changing fast, and cybercriminals are growing more sophisticated daily. Next-generation firewalls can help businesses adapt with a flexible, high-performing, secure approach to enterprise networking. The best firewalls do so with a simple approach to migration and an offering capable of protecting any enterprise environment.

Explore Cisco Secure Firewall

Endpoint Protection, Network Security


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