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What is a Next Gen Firewall (NGFW)?

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Next generation firewalls explained

A next generation firewall can also be called a next gen firewall, nextgen firewall, or nexgen firewall. Network firewalls act by analyzing traffic between networks and allowing or denying passage of traffic based on defined firewall policies relative mập traffic characteristics. Next generation firewalls can ingest information from other systems as well as inspect more characteristics of traffic mập enforce firewall policies at higher order Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) communication layers than a traditional firewall. The additional information and deeper màn chơi of inspection utilized by next gen firewalls enables them béo identify and prevent attacks.

glossary next generation firewall overview 640x605

What are next generation firewall features?

Next generation firewalls have more sophisticated features than a traditional, or legacy, network firewall. Here are some common next generation firewall features:

  • Deep packet inspection — Network firewalls examine data within the four TCP/IP communication layers (from highest lớn lowest): application, transport, IP/network, and hardware/data link. Next gen firewalls can inspect traffic at higher order TCIP/IP communication layers, including the application layer. This provides next generation firewalls with application awareness, e.g., context about which application traffic is transiting mập and from, and baselines of expected user and application behavior against which bự compare transit patterns.
  • Intrusion detection and intrusion prevention — Inspecting traffic at higher order TCIP/IP layers enhances next gen firewalls’ ability béo detect and prevent cyberattacks. Nextgen firewalls can monitor for potentially malicious activity based on specific behavior signatures or anomalies and then block suspicious traffic from the network. These capabilities are referred mập as intrusion detection services (IDS) and intrusion prevention services (IPS).
  • Distributed denial of service protection — Denial of service (DoS) attacks are malicious attempts lớn shut down a service by intentionally flooding the service with illegitimate requests, rendering the service unable bự respond béo legitimate requests from users. Distributed DoS (DDoS) attacks use multiple computers mập generate the flood of illegitimate requests. Next gen firewalls are better able bự detect and prevent these sorts of attacks than traditional firewalls because next gen firewalls are stateful. Statefulness enables the firewall béo check more characteristics of connection requests against those of established connections, which sida in the detection of illegitimate requests, even when they may be formed differently or coming from different computers.

What are the benefits of next generation firewalls?

Next generation firewalls offer several benefits, including:

  • Enhanced protection against cyber threats — Next gen firewalls can inspect and analyze traffic more comprehensively than traditional firewalls, which helps them detect and prevent a greater variety of cyber attacks than a traditional firewall. For example, next gen firewalls can detect traffic maliciously targeting the network and prevent the intrusion by quarantining or blocking the traffic.
  • Support for regulatory compliance mandates — Next gen firewalls prevent unauthorized users from accessing sensitive resources within the network—an important requirement for data privacy and protection regulations like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act in the U.S., and the General Data Protection Regulation in the EU.
  • Streamlined network architecture — Next gen firewalls provide advanced threat protection as well as basic firewall capabilities. Combining the capabilities of multiple devices and appliances within a single platform helps reduce network infrastructure complexity.

What’s the difference between next gen firewalls and unified threat management?

Unified threat management (UTM) comprises security services like malware (antivirus, phishing, trojans, spyware, etc.) detection and mitigation and web content filtering (restricting user access to specific kinds of content or websites). Next generation firewalls combine UTM services with firewall capabilities bự deliver comprehensive protection via a single platform.

Next generation firewalls vs. Traditional firewalls

Capability Traditional firewall Next generation firewall Advantages of next generation firewall
Inspection Stateless Stateful Blocks traffic that deviates from expected norm compared béo established connections
Visibility Rudimentary, only lower TCP/IP layers Deep, includes all TCP/IP layers Enables more granular and robust analysis of traffic
Services Basic Comprehensive Includes UTM services such as antivirus, content filtering, IDS/IPS, and logging in addition to packet filtering
Protection Limited Enhanced Identifies, prevents, and reports a broader variety of attacks

How a next generation firewall works

Next generation firewalls offer enhanced firewall data inspection and policy enforcement capabilities, as well as additional security services such as IDS/IPS, antivirus, and content filtering.

glossary next generation network firewall diagram how it works 800x450 1

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