Top 5 Benefits of NGFW Application Control for Your Business
Application control is a crucial capability of Next Generation Firewalls. It helps ensure your business gets the security it needs without sacrificing network speed or quality. Ensure you’re getting the best value from your NGFW by purchasing one that offers fine-grained policy enforcement for the most critical applications in your company.
In this article, we will share the top 5 benefits of Next Generation Firewall Application.
A business’s security and policies constantly evolve to protect against new threats. However, updating these in an on-prem environment is time-consuming and expensive. With an NGFW application control, this process is automated and more efficient, making the investment of an NGFW more attractive than ever. Unlike traditional firewalls, NGFW Application goes beyond the basic functionality of an enterprise firewall by allowing you to block traffic based on business policy. It also identifies applications exploiting vulnerabilities and takes action to stop them from doing so.
Moreover, NGFW Application provides a more contextual security framework that includes user and device context, deep-packet inspections, and reputation-based malware detection. NGFWs native to an SD-WAN solution often require VPN tunnels or Geneve/VXLAN overlay to backhaul traffic to and from the NGFW, which increases complexity and reduces visibility.
As a core component of your zero-trust security strategy, an NGFW provides many advanced and critical capabilities to protect your business. Unlike traditional firewalls that only inspect IP and service ports, next-generation firewalls operate at the application layer of the network protocol stack. This allows them to identify and control application traffic and better block various threats.
Additionally, NGFWs can perform deep packet inspection by breaking the network packet into sections. For example, an NGFW can review the IP header section of a website traffic packet to check for specific content (i.e., malicious code). Then, it can examine the TCP data section to see if the web page contains malware and prevents this from entering the network. NGFWs also allow for more granular policy controls so you can restrict access to applications and websites based on an employee’s role within the company. This can increase security, productivity and reduce bandwidth usage.
The granular degree of control with an NGFW allows you to adapt internet access rights for specific departments or individual employees. For instance, a marketing employee may need to be able to access social media platforms and streaming websites, while the CIO may want to limit these capabilities. This ability translates into better efficiency and higher productivity for your business. Unlike traditional firewalls that operate on a deny/allow model, NGFWs provide a layer-7 application-level inspection. This capability lets them detect and block malware before it can enter your network. This prevents cyber attacks from wreaking havoc on your business and ruining the company’s reputation. NGFWs also include integrated security functions like intrusion detection and prevention systems, antimalware, and sandboxing to detect and handle sophisticated Gen V cyberattacks. This means you don’t have to use separate tools for different tasks, reducing costs and saving time. Additionally, NGFWs integrate with third-party threat intelligence services to protect your network from new attacks as they emerge. This makes it easier for you to update your firewall rules and policies.
A single NGFW can be deployed as on-site hardware, a virtual appliance, or a firewall as a service (FWaaS) solution. It can be configured to meet the needs of different deployment scenarios, ranging from small businesses to large multi-branch enterprises and managed service providers. Regardless of the deployment model, organizations benefit from fine-grained policy management, streamlined threat intelligence, and constantly optimized connections. Unlike traditional firewalls, which analyze traffic at only the fourth layer of the OSI protocol, NGFWs inspect multiple layers, including the seventh application layer. This allows the NGFW to recognize threats that may not be immediately recognizable with signature-based detection technologies. Many NGFWs also include intrusion detection systems and intrusion prevention systems that identify attacks based on network behavioral analysis, threat signatures, and abnormal activity, in addition to the standard features of classic firewalls. This multi-functionality allows the NGFW to detect and stop cyberattacks much earlier before they can cause damage or steal confidential data. This is known as deep packet inspection or DPI.
Unlike traditional firewalls, confined to inspections at Layer 4 of the OSI model (the data link layer and transport layer), NGFWs can inspect traffic up to Layer 7 of the OSI model. This enables them to detect applications that may be dangerous or require higher security levels. They also have visibility into application-layer network activity and various users on the system, allowing them to implement more granular zero-trust access controls. This is particularly important for BYOD environments, where different policies can be established to reduce the use of non-business applications that could eat up bandwidth or cause productivity bottlenecks. Lastly, NGFWs also offer integration with intrusion prevention systems and antimalware for solid defense against modern Gen V cyberattacks. Some NGFWs even offer network sandboxing, where suspicious files can be sent to an isolated sandbox in the cloud for further analysis.
Buyer’s tip: Ask prospective NGFW vendors about their integration capabilities before deciding. This will help you ensure that the NGFW you select can deliver the full scope of your network protection needs.