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The Fundamentals of Next Generation Firewalls

A network firewall is a key component in keeping your business’s data and systems safe from cyberattacks. A firewall monitors all traffic coming in and out of a network and can prevent unauthorized users from gaining access to anything they don’t have rights to. This includes hackers.

You can think of a firewall as a security guard at the front desk of an office building who verifies every person going in and out of the building. This describes the basics of all firewalls, but not all firewalls are created the same. There are five main types of firewalls: packet filtering firewalls, circuit-level gateways, stateful inspection firewalls, application-level gateways, and next generation firewalls (NGFW).

What Is a Next Generation Firewall?

Up to the creation of the NGFW, firewalls used a technology that simply kept track of network connections.

A next generation firewall is designed to address more advanced security threats. NGFWs can detect threats at the application level to prevent modern threats like malware attacks and application layer attacks that can slip past other firewalls.

The Difference Between Firewalls and Next Generation Firewalls

Next generation firewalls are a more advanced version of a standard firewall. They have all the same benefits plus more. Both standard and next-generation firewalls also support VPNs for an added level of security. Both use static and dynamic packet filtering, which means they inspect all the incoming and outgoing data in the network, use a set of configurable rules to detect potential threats, and block them from the network.

But traditional packet filtering is limited to determining where data is coming from and where it is going. It gives you a certain level of security but doesn’t scan the data packet for threats. In fact, standard firewalls only inspect the headers of a data packet, not the contents. This is like checking a package in the mail is undamaged by looking at the addresses and never examining the box.

Next generation firewalls take packet filtering a step further and can filter this data at the application level. They also have features like encrypted data inspection, cloud-delivered threat intelligence, integrated intrusion prevention, and anti-virus scanning. They even use deep packet inspection (DPI) to dig down into the packet and determine if any of its contents could be malicious.

How Next Generation Firewalls Work

A next generation firewall acts like a unified threat management system that runs in the cloud so that it is always watching your network for threats and blocking them before they can take hold. It can access online threat intelligence sources to get real-time definitions of malware and viruses, so its protection is always evolving. It can integrate with the rest of your security architecture to share information on threats with other security tools.

Interested in the type of protection a next generation firewall can bring to your business’s network, data, and applications? Request a free, no-obligation consultation with TPx’s security specialists today.

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