Any good cybersecurity strategy includes a firewall to monitor incoming and outgoing network traffic and protect against threats to the system.
The firewall is like a security guard at the entrance to a department store that checks every person that comes in or goes out for any suspicious actions and detains any that look like a threat.
Firewalls are an important layer of your overall network setup because they’re the first barrier that hackers from the outside will hit when trying to breach your company’s IT security.
But when choosing a firewall to protect your business network, it’s important to know that not all of them are created equal. There are many products with “firewall” in the name, but there is a big difference between a simple firewall or consumer-grade firewall appliance and a next-generation firewall designed for daily business use.
If you purchase an “off the shelf” firewall designed for home PC users, you could end up with very limited protection and without the insurance you thought you had against hackers, link-based malware, and other dangers that businesses face daily.
According to Symantec’s latest Internet Security Threat Report, the danger of being hacked or infected with ransomware, viruses, and other types of malware continues to increase in multiple ways.
- 1 in 10 URLs lead to a malicious website (these are often sent in phishing attacks).
- Web attacks are up by 56%.
- An average of 4,800 websites are compromised with formjacking code every month.
- There’s been a 1000% increase in malicious PowerShell script attacks.
Why is it worth it to invest in a next-gen firewall that’s going to combat both old and new, emerging threats? We’ll go over the reasons next.
Differences Between Simple Firewalls and Next-Gen Business-Grade Firewalls
There are a lot of off the shelf products that have a simple firewall for providing minimal protection for consumer networks that aren’t used as heavily as business networks and aren’t protecting the same type of data.
While they may be fine for a home network, they’re not up to the task of safeguarding your business or giving you the tools that you need to monitor traffic, administer security policies, and protect users from malicious websites.
Here are some of the biggest differences between next-gen firewalls vs consumer-grade firewalls that show why it’s important you use a firewall made for business networks if you want adequate security and protection.
Types of Traffic Monitored
Both types of firewalls monitor network traffic using what’s called dynamic packet filtering. By using a set of rules that are based upon the contents of the IP address and transport header fields of the packets, the firewalls can allow, detain, or block traffic.
However, only the next-gen firewall can typically look at traffic and filter it based upon the application that’s sending it, which provides much more control over whether traffic is legitimate or not. This application-level traffic monitoring allows the firewall to do things like:
- Use a whitelist to only allow approved applications from impacting the network
- Identify suspicious traffic using analysis and signature matching
- Distinguish between safe applications and unsafe ones
- Identify safe applications using SSL decryption
Extensive Web Browsing Protection
The use of dangerous URLs in phishing attacks now surpasses the use of file attachments for spreading malware. This is because if you’re not using a strong enough firewall, a click on a malicious link can often get past systems designed to detect malicious code in a file attachment, but not catch dangerous websites.
Next-gen firewalls include extensive protections, including URL filtering when it comes to web browsing, which include:
- Blocking users from accessing malicious sites even after they click on a phishing link.
- Warning users of dangerous websites in real-time as they’re browsing.
- Stopping those drive-by downloads from sites set up to infect a system as soon as you land on the page.
- Keep users from accessing non-work appropriate websites.
Advanced Protection Against Malware
Many of the consumer-grade, simple firewalls are not going to include any protection for malware, which means the users have to rely completely on a separate antivirus and anti-malware solution rather than getting detection help from their firewall.
A next-generation firewall is going to include additional protections against malware infections that include built-in sandboxing that analyzes file behavior to detect and eliminate threats, even those that are considered “zero-day” that haven’t been catalogued before.
Visibility into What’s Happening with Your Network
If you’re using a simple firewall, you’re going to have limited visibility into what threats may be trying to access your network and where they’re coming from. You may just have to wait until you get an alert, but don’t have in depth information that can allow you to proactively address new threats.
Next-gen firewalls for business included advanced reporting and visibility, allowing you to see exactly what’s happening in your network on a daily basis so you can address any dangerous activity before it results in a breach. Including things like:
- Threat activity coming from users, hosts, networks, and devices
- Where and when a threat originated
- What any threats are doing in real-time when it comes to your network
- Active applications and websites
- File transfers, communications between virtual machines, and other traffic
Schedule a Free Security Consultation Today!
Is your firewall serving you well or is it leaving your network vulnerable? C Solutions can review your firewall and network security and make suggestions for any areas that are lacking proper protection.
Schedule a free security consultation today! Call 407-536-8381 or reach us online.