Top 10 Features Of NGFW Firewall
Top 10 Features Of NGFW Firewall

The essential features of next-generation firewalls to consider are:

  1. Cyber Threat Intelligence
  2. User and Application Control
  3. Virtualization Of Firewalls
  4. Breach Prevention
  5. Quick Detection Time
  6. Centralized Management & Administration
  7. Deep Packet Inspection
  8. Integrated IPS
  9. Adaptable Deployment Options
  10. Availability & Scalable Performance

What Is Next-Generation Firewall?

In simple terms, a firewall is a barrier that secures your network and prevents any malicious traffic or unauthorized access to your data. But with the rapid growth of innovative technology, a mere firewall seems incompetent to save enterprise networks from such cybercrimes.

The next-generation firewall is nothing but part of the third-generation firewall technology, which can identify and block sophisticated attacks through smart, context-aware security features. It can perform at the protocol, port as well as application levels. The filtering features include in-line deep packet inspection, intrusion prevention system, antivirus inspection, QoS/bandwidth management, TLS/SSL encrypted traffic inspection, third-party identity management integration, website filtering, etc.

As per the definition quoted by Gartner, your next-generation firewall needs to offer the following:

  • Threat intelligence sources
  • Basic firewall facilities like stateful inspection
  • Application awareness and control to find and block any risky apps
  • Strategies to address the security threats
  • Integrated intrusion prevention
  • Update the paths for including future information feeds

What Are The Features Of NGFW?

To understand the core criteria for finding the best NGFW tools, here are some of the essential features to consider:

Cyber Threat Intelligence

Threat intelligence refers to the data collected, processed, and analyzed to interpret the threat actor’s motives, attack behaviors, and specific targets. It enables the user to make quick and more informed security decisions primarily based on the data collected from such sources. In addition, it helps decipher the attack behaviors, thereby changing the strategies to fight against these threat actors.

In the world of cybersecurity, the defenders and APTs or advanced persistent threats will continue to outflank each other. But it is imperative to understand that the data on the threat actor’s move is always crucial if you are keen on tailoring the defenses against your future cyberattacks.

cyber threat intelligence lifecycle

Cyber threat intelligence, or CTI, refers to the skills, experience, and knowledge-based information that helps organizations develop a robust and proactive cybersecurity posture while strengthening the overall risk management policies. The threat intelligence sources include social media intelligence, device log files, open-source intelligence, forensically acquired data, technical intelligence, etc.

So, the question arises here if your NGFW tool has threat intel sources or not. The NGFWs are known to detect and block threats based on the single vendor's view of any threat landscape. But it might not be able to provide a broader view of the threat intelligence. But the top brands, like Palo Alto Networks, Juniper, Cisco, Fortinet, etc., can offer excellent firewall features to tighten your enterprise's cybersecurity policies.

User and Application Control

Another essential feature you need to know about is user and app control. Security technology is known for allowing the matching of different types of network traffic to previously defined apps or models. A typical NGFW is capable enough to prevent your applications from executing any action that can potentially put your data at any compromise or risk.

Another feature to talk about is user-based filtering which can restrict or permit one's access to your network per their predefined roles. Why do you need such features? If you are keen on working towards a dynamic workforce, you need to enhance threat mitigation. To do so, the firewalls need to advance their regulatory functions and user controls, which can secure incoming traffic from external users.

Companies are dependent on third-party apps for running their core processes. Application and user control feature is the key to helping these companies effectively monitor as well as control their data and sensitive information from security threats while continuing the operations across various applications.

Such features involve controlling and identifying the apps extensively used in your IT environments, preventing the malicious untrusted programs from executing any activity while reducing overall malware risks, ultimately tightening the network security from third-party application vulnerabilities.

Virtualization Of Firewalls

Did you know that the virtualization of firewalls is done by enterprises and institutions to create a secure virtualized environment? A virtual firewall will help with packet filtering and monitoring, offering you the same line of security and inspection capabilities as NGFW. Flexibility and scalability are two benefits of the virtualization of firewalls, enabling companies to use private and public cloud deployments, SD-WANs, or SDNs for data storage and processing.

virtualization of firewall

These virtual networks aren't exactly located in the data centers, devices, or PCs but are managed and deployed as software. So, the advantage here is that you enjoy the similar benefits of a physical firewall deployed in the cloud, independent of the expensive and heavy hardware.

Next time you are keen on investing in the top NGFW for your company, consider the importance of virtualization that enables the firewalls to offer you advanced security to inspect the traffic even in the cloud environments while isolating multiple workloads in virtual machines. It is a win-win investment for the ones employing remote workers actively without compromising the security of the larger enterprise network.

Breach Prevention

Any typical firewall can prevent breaches from keeping your organization safe. But when selecting the NGFW, you need to look for additional advanced security capabilities that can easily detect the vulnerabilities in your system to evade advanced levels of malware in case it bypasses the front line of defense. Invest in NGFW, which can help in eliminating any chances of data breaches, by offering:

  • The best-of-breed next-gen IPS in-built to spot the stealthy threats
  • Prevent the attacks before these threats get closer to your internal network
  • In-built sandboxing to analyze the behavior for threat detection and elimination
  • URL filtering to implement security policies on hundreds of millions of URLs

Quick Detection Time

Why do you need the NGFW tool for your company? You need it to detect the threat as soon and early as possible. So, typically your NGFW should be able to:

  • Detect potential vulnerabilities and threats in seconds
  • Consistent deployment policy to maintain easily while integrating automatic enforcement across different corners of your enterprise
  • Detect the presence of any data breach within minutes or hours
  • Prioritize alerts to make quick and precise actions to eliminate the potential threats

Centralized Management & Administration

Your NGFW should be able to offer you a separate management solution that can help with logging, administration, and reporting. In addition, it allows the companies to engage in better policy management and log analysis.

How is it beneficial for your organization? Well, such a feature helps in exporting the firewall rules and configuration hassle-free. Moreover, centralized management makes it easy for the administrator to view the traffic patterns and potential risks in the security health dashboard in real-time.

Deep Packet Inspection

DPI or deep packet inspection has to be one of the key features to consider while shortlisting the NGFW for your business. It is essential for analyzing network usage, deciphering baseline application behavior, troubleshooting network performance, quickly checking for malicious codes and internet censorship, ensuring the data is in the correct format, and more.

In layperson's terms, DPI is necessary for identifying errors, known attacks, malformed packets, and any other anomalies. In addition, your DPI needs to detect and block spam, Trojans, intrusion attempts, viruses, and any other violations of routine protocol communications.

Integrated IPS

Intrusion Detection System or IDS refers to the software application that helps in monitoring the systems and network for any malicious activities or policy violations. In case any intrusion or violation is detected, the report is sent to the administrator or can be collected centrally using the security information and event management (SIEM) system. This system helps combine different outputs from various sources and alarm filtering techniques to discern between false alarms and malicious activities.

It is easier said than done, as proper integration is necessary when it comes to these IDS to recognize the regular traffic and differentiate the malicious ones from false alarms. In the case of traditional firewall deployment, IPS are also deployed. But the scenario slightly changes with the NGFW as IDS is fully integrated here. As and when required, one can choose to activate and deactivate the system for better accessibility and performance.

Adaptable Deployment Options

Small, medium, or large enterprises, no matter what size you are, need proper firewall integration for your safety. Depending on the organization's requirements and size, it is essential to check the availability of centralized management along with customized features of your NGFW. Ensure that you are given advanced capabilities and seamless deployment options to match your company's needs at once.

Availability & Scalable Performance

High availability is an incredibly useful feature when it comes to NGFW. Security measure is required if your hardware or software fails unexpectedly. In addition, it helps to make your systems work and perform relentlessly without fail, as there are at least two firewall configurations in sync. So, if one of them fails, the other will be responsible for taking over the activity immediately.

With that thought comes the requirement of meeting the continual expectations of the growing enterprises. With NGFW, you need to be sure if it can fulfill your company's requirements, which tend to change every time with its growth. NGFW is highly scalable and can rapidly modify its performance per the requirements. Moreover, it performs on an advanced security level, making it ideal for adapting to different environments seamlessly.

What’s More?

These features mentioned above are some of the core ones to consider when selecting the best NGFW brand for the company. Some of the top-rated names worth mentioning here are:

  1. Palo Alto Networks
  2. Fortinet
  3. Cisco
  4. Juniper
  5. Sophos
  6. Barracuda

Find more about these brands, their features, and how they offer unique functionalities to meet the security requirements for your company. Are you keen on partnering with the best brand for NGFW? Then, contact DC Gears to get the top one onboarded with your company, as we specialize in bringing the reputed global brands offering excellent cybersecurity and network security services. With a worldwide presence in more than 40+ countries, our experts are always available to help you with on-site services, 24*7.