• Jorge Diaz

Next Generation or Packet Filter Firewall?

What type of Firewall does your business need?

There are what two types of firewalls: Packet Filter and Next Generation firewalls.

Packet Filter Firewalls are the first-generation firewalls, they provided the main protection to organizations when the internet was in its infancy and they still have some basic used within an organization's network but not as the main "gateway keeper". Although they played an important role in securing the network they don't have the ability to protect it against the latest attacks, interesting enough there are many packet inspection firewalls functioning as the only network security solution in the business's environment today, the main reason for that is that many small businesses rely on the SMB modem\router provided by the ISP which includes firewall functionality. Although this device offers all services necessary to get your business online it by no means was designed to provide a smart, reliable firewall services against advanced threats. Put it this way, the firewall security services it provides are the basic packet filter solution where it blocks or allows traffic based simply on the type of port, that was the type of attacks hackers used in the in the late 90s, not to say that packet filter firewall are useless in today's environment as they have their function within the organization but they certainly don't offer real protection when deployed at the gateway level.

If you are techie you may know that packet filter firewalls operate at layer 3 and 4 or the OSI model, meaning they filter based on IP address and protocol rules.

Application Firewalls or Next Generation (NG) Firewalls. They provide all services packet firewall offers with extra layer of intelligence and deeper visibility as they look deeper into the packet to understand the type of traffic and applications flowing through, that information allows the administrator to create applications and web access control rules not possible with simple packet inspections. It is very common for administrators managing next generation firewalls to implement security services blocking certain websites, or websites categories. Another important benefit of next generation firewalls is their ability to add more security services on top of gateway packet inspections, meaning you can add Intrusion Prevention Services (IPS) and Intrusion Detection Services (IDS) to monitor and analyze traffic within your network even if it's not intended to go to the web. This is very important because a malware infection can originate from your network by a user using an infected thumb drive causing the virus to spread internally. For all the techies out there applications firewalls work at layer 3,4,5, and 7 of the OSI model, that's why they can provide web application control services.

Now that you know the most important firewall differentiators I hope you implement a Next Generation Firewall in your organization, knowing the main difference of course is not all needed for a successful implementation. You still have to decide the deployment type for your firewall, the vendor you'll select, and type of firewall model you'll need, and even the security services you'll like to add.

Yeah, adding a firewall to your organization requires an advanced technical expertise level. If you are in NYC and need a firewall expert to guide to the process and implementation you can reach us at 646-500-0032. We help small and mid-sized organizations implement the right security solution for their environment, we work products from the security leaders and implement Sophos XG, Cisco ASA, SonicWall TZs and NSAs solutions.

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