What Are the Challenges of Next-Generation Firewalls?

Posted on May 14, 2018

What Are The Challenges Of Next Generation Firewalls

Keeping your business safe from every digital threat under the sun seems like an impossible task. Network intrusion is becoming even more sophisticated and launching new, more effective methods to steal data. So, what steps can you take to truly protect your firm?  

Next-generation firewalls have been touted as a comprehensive cybersecurity solution. However, even these cutting-edge safeguards still present challenges. Read on to learn what you have to keep in mind before deploying a next generation firewall to maximise your protection.

What differentiates next-generation firewalls from legacy firewalls?

The American industry analyst firm Gartner defines next-generation firewalls as “a deep-packet inspection firewall that moves beyond port/protocol inspection and blocking to add application-level inspection, intrusion prevention, and bringing intelligence from outside of the firewall.”

Next-generation firewalls perform the same basic functions as legacy firewalls do: they utilise static and dynamic packet filtering and VPN support to ensure that every connection between the network, the Internet, and the firewall are secure and valid.

Here’s where next-generation firewalls go above and beyond their legacy counterparts: they can filter packets based on application. How do they do that? These firewalls can control applications and have extensive visibility into them, so they can identify which applications are safe and which aren’t.

Will next-generation firewalls integrate properly with your existing technology?

One of the challenges with next-generation firewalls is that they don’t exist in a vacuum. You most likely have existing network security management platforms. The question becomes, will they integrate properly with this new firewall?  

Let’s say your next-generation firewall doesn’t integrate with your current management platforms. To ensure that you can effectively manage your network security infrastructure, you’ll need to either upgrade or replace these management systems. The unexpected cost of upgrading or replacing adds an extra burden to your budget.

Do your people have the skills necessary to manage next-generation firewalls?

Another issue that next-generation firewalls present is a skillset gap. When a new solution first comes onto the market, the people who will be using it need to be trained in it so that they can properly manage it. Unfortunately, not enough people have the right skills to manage solutions such as next-generation firewalls.

A growing cybersecurity skills gap exists across the globe. Australia is no exception — a 2017 government report stated that we need another 11,000 cyber-security specialists in the coming decade. Because next-generation firewalls offer more features than legacy firewalls, today’s workforce will most likely not be familiar with them and your organisation won’t get the full benefit of the solution’s protection.   

Can next-generation firewalls protect the cloud?

A third difficulty with next-generation on-premises firewalls is that technology changes quite rapidly. When next-generation firewalls came onto the market, they were indeed cutting-edge. However, industry experts warn that they’re quickly becoming legacy technology because next-generation firewalls can’t properly protect the cloud.

Next-generation firewalls were engineered to protect a centralised data center or a distributed network spread out over multiple locations. They weren’t designed to handle the unique features of a public cloud environment, though.

What’s the difference between a distributed network spread over multiple locations and a public cloud? A public cloud is more dynamic. Its architecture is more loosely coupled than that of a dispersed private network. To properly protect a public cloud, businesses will need to turn to ever more cutting-edge technologies such as Cloud Firewall

How can you keep your company safe?

An important partner in protecting your firm against cyber threats is your network services provider. Your network services provider helps safeguard your firm by filtering data coming through your firewall.

Furthermore, your network services provider should own its own network. You don’t want to be bounced around to several different business units if you’ve got a problem — you want it taken care of right away. Some of the biggest communications providers in Australia can’t deliver this level of service.

The next generation of firewalls can only protect you so much. Choosing the right network services provider keeps your enterprise safe. To learn more, contact us

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