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5 Best Next-Generation Firewalls For a Business’ Cybersecurity Architecture

Bryan Badger avatar
Written by Bryan Badger posted on Feb 28, 2022

Next-Generation Firewalls For Sacramento & Reno Businesses

With the escalation of cyber threats, the shift to cloud computing, and the embrace of remote and hybrid working environments, firewall technology has become integral to any business's security.

Organizations want to continue to protect data integrity and secure remote networks after deploying hybrid cloud architecture. However, one fact stands out--the traditional firewall technology isn't sufficient to secure a hybrid network because it only:

  1. Inspects traffic at the entry and exit points
  2. Provides VPN (a virtual private network)
  3. Offers encryption capabilities

While a traditional firewall will watch traffic by port, state, and protocol and control the traffic flow passing through it, you won't get advanced features. You'll need to rely on external services and appliances to secure a remote or hybrid setting.

Next Generation Firewalls

The Adoption of Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW)

After noting the weaknesses of the traditional firewalls, businesses started to adopt next-gen firewalls to protect themselves from cybercrime.

Next-gen firewall technology integrates capabilities that effectively address the heightened threats from cybercriminals on the internet. On top of what you'd get from traditional firewalls, Next-Generation firewalls offer more features like:

  • Integrated Intrusion Protection (IIP)
  • Antivirus
  • Antispam
  • Anti-malware
  • SSL and SSH traffic inspection
  • Deep Packet Inspection
  • Web filtering

All the features aim to detect and isolate threats as soon as they appear. Since all the features are on the same console and are from the same vendor, next-generation firewalls are more convenient and easier to maintain.

While the core firewall functionality is the core technology of next-gen firewalls, firewalls are no longer devices that sit in data centers.

Shifting to cloud computing requires features beyond a physical device. Cloud and hybrid networks demand features like Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) to optimize WAN and provide uninterrupted access for users anytime and anywhere.

There are several next-gen firewall vendors with the right set of features in their product line. However, we want to focus on only the best five capable of offering business-grade next-gen firewalls.

1. Cisco — Feature-Rich Next-Gen Firewalls

Cisco offers next-generation firewalls with nearly all the features you can find in a firewall. The features include:

  • Intrusion prevention
  • Cloud-based sandboxing
  • Advanced malware protection
  • Secure email gateway (SEG) security
  • URL filtering
  • Endpoint protection
  • Web gateway protection
  • Cloud access security broker to protect third-party cloud-hosted services
  • Network access control
  • Network traffic analysis
  • Cisco secure workload
  • Meraki MX series products

Cisco firewalls let businesses leverage centralized management centers for on-premise appliances and cloud-based solutions.

You'll also access an extended response platform that detects, hunts, and neutralizes threats at no extra cost. The intrusion detection system you get will provide and enhance the signature set.

While Cisco's next-gen firewalls are among the priciest options, the integrated products are well worth the extra cost. More importantly, you can choose from multiple firewall products depending on the use case instead of the single platform option.

2. Fortinet — Next Gen Firewalls with Multiple Product Options 

Fortinet has FortiGate next-generation firewall that is available in three options:

  • Hardware
  • Virtual appliance
  • Firewall as a service (FWaas)

The three options offer centralized management platforms in the company's FortiManager and FortiGate Cloud products. Like with Cisco, Fortinet's NGFW offers you:

  • WAAP (Web Application and API Protection)
  • Network Access Control
  • Identity and access management
  • Zero trust network access
  • Security operation center as a service
  • Integration between your network operation center and security operation center

You'll also use the FortiGate product in remote routers to manage Fortinet switches and wireless access points in remote workstations.

The only problem is that Fortinet does not have a container firewall and needs basic management features using a distributed plug-in. What's more, Fortinet offers inferior cloud Points of Presence (PoPs) compared to Cisco.

3. Palo Alto Networks — Next-Gen Firewalls with a Range of Product Line

Palo Alto Network presents a wide range of NGFW features that come as:

  • Hardware (PA-Series)
  • Firewalls as a service (Prisma Access)
  • Virtual Firewall (VM-series)
  • Containerized firewalls (CN-Series)

Your business can manage all four products through the Panorama software, which offers extra features at a fee. The extra features allow you to manage:

  • Business data loss prevention (DLP)
  • Advance URL filtering
  • Software as a Services (SaaS)
  • Internet of things
  • Threat prevention
  • DNS security

The Palo Alto Networks' next-gen firewalls allow you to use their WildFire Malware Analysis Engine to sandbox and detect threats.

Palo Alto Networks products are one of the highest-priced offerings in the market. What makes firewalls from Palo Alto Networks even more expensive is that you'll need a separate license to use their SD-WAN when its competitor offers it free.

Even more, you won't get a cloud-based firewall manager in the Panorama — you'll have to install a plug-in.

4. Check Point Software Technologies — Firewalls with Focused Security Solutions

Check Point's next-gen firewalls focus on blocking and preventing attacks. You can get:

  • Hardware devices (Quantum)
  • Virtual appliances (Infinity Portal)
  • Cloud security products
  • Firewalls as a service (FaaS)

The firewalls solutions offer centralized management and monitoring portals, Cloudguard, and SOAR (Security orchestration, automation, and response). Check Point lacks an SD-WAN and works with third parties to secure remote networks. The container product they offer lack application control, too.

5. Sophos — Next-Gen Firewalls that Offer Managed Threat Response

Like all other competitors, Sopho has:

  • Firewall hardware (XGS Series and SD-RED)
  • Endpoint and server protection (Intercept X)
  • Cloud Security Posture Management (Cloud Optix)

More importantly, they have a managed threat response that allows them to offer a security operation center as a managed service in their management portal.

However, you won't get Firewalls as a Service or containerized firewalls. The company's Cloud Security Posture doesn't leverage infrastructure as a service. As a result, it's difficult to implement firewall policies.

Integral Networks Will Help You Evaluate Next-Generation Firewalls to Find the Best Option For Your Business

Network and system security are integral in today's world because cybercriminals invest time and effort in exploiting any vulnerability in businesses' networks. This means that the process of evaluating the next-gen product to bring to your infrastructure is critical.

Integral Networks has a team of cyber security experts that will examine your business infrastructure and help you determine the best next-generation firewall that will suit you. We've helped hundreds of businesses in Reno and Sacramento install cybersecurity solutions, and we can help you, too.

Contact us today to discuss with a cybersecurity specialist to help you evaluate the next-generation firewall in the marketplace.

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