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Since the start of computer networking, businesses have been using firewalls to protect their networks against intruders and keep data, documents, and systems safe. Firewalls all share this goal, however, not all firewalls are created equal. Some offer special features, capabilities, and levels of sophistication that can vary greatly.

Today, businesses have a choice. There are two basic categories for enterprise-level firewalls: traditional and next-generation. In this post, we’ll explore the differences between traditional and next-generation firewalls and how they can benefit your business.

One important point to clarify – a next-generation firewall is not a new concept, despite its name. It is, however, the most advanced form of firewall currently available and the most recent.

Concept of firewall protecting a workstation.

The Traditional Firewall 

A traditional firewall is designed to police traffic flow into and out of a network based on port, protocol, source address, and destination address. Traditional firewall features include:

• Packet Filtering – Makes sure that outgoing and incoming packets are inspected before they pass. Packets that adhere to the pre-determined rules are forwarded, those that don’t are dropped.

• Stateless Inspection or Stateful Inspection – There are two ways packets are inspected. Stateless inspection means a firewall can only check each packet individually. Most traditional firewalls operate this way. Stateful inspection is more sophisticated and can identify the operating state of packets and can distinguish between safe, potentially safe, and malicious packets.

• Virtual Private Network (VPN) Support – This protocol keeps private networks secure when users interact with public networks, including the internet.

The Next Generation Firewall (NGFW)

NGFWs offer most of the common functions of a traditional firewall, plus several additional ones. NGFWs have several extra layers of security built in allowing them to protect against more sophisticated threats. They go beyond the inspection traditional firewalls are limited to, and have application-level control. Features Include:

• Application Awareness – Allows an organization to view packets in the proper context and set application-specific rules.

• IPS (Intrusion Prevention Systems) – Is an extension of the intrusion detection system. An IPS gives you the capability to actively block an intrusion when one is detected. It will drop malicious packets, log the IP addresses, and then blacklist all future traffic from those addresses.

• Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) – Standard packet filtering offered by most traditional firewalls only reads the packet’s header. DPI thoroughly inspects a packet’s contents, including the source. This means that the NGFW can see the full context of each packet.

Outdated Security Technology Can Put Your Business at Risk

Today, you need modern protection. Cyber threats and the cyber threat landscape are expanding right along with technology. With cybercriminals developing and deploying more sophisticated attack capabilities, businesses must counter by incorporating more sophisticated protection. NGFWs offer the highest levels of security available to your business. Today, as more businesses continue migrating to the cloud, Next Generation Firewalls are the most effective solution for enterprise security.

About Logista Solutions

Logista Solutions is a nationally recognized leader in a broad range of technology management solutions. As one of the largest technology support providers in the U.S., Logista provides innovative and holistic solutions to help companies take control of their IT infrastructure and achieve better business outcomes. Popular services include Managed IT as a Service, VoIP and Unified Communications, Managed Print, Cloud Services and Asset Disposition.

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