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. They still have some basic used within an organization's network but not as the primary "gateway keeper." Although they played an essential role in securing the network, they can't protect it against the latest attacks; interesting enough many packet inspection firewalls are 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 is by no means was designed to provide smart, reliable firewall services against advanced threats. Put it this way, the firewall security services it offers are the basic packet filter solution where it blocks or allows traffic based merely on the type of port, that was the type of attacks hackers used 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. Still, they certainly don't offer real protection when deployed at the gateway level.
If you are a 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 an extra layer of intelligence and deeper visibility. 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 impossible with simple packet inspections. It is widespread 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 malware infection can originate from your network by 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 essential firewall differentiators, I hope you implement a Next-Generation Firewall in your organization; understanding the main difference 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.