Next Generation Firewalls: The Answer to Today's Web Threats

The recent attention bestowed on next generation firewalls may lead some VARs to question how

Sophos Guest Blogger

December 21, 2012

2 Min Read
Next Generation Firewalls: The Answer to Today's Web Threats

firewallThe recent attention bestowed on next generation firewalls may lead some VARs to question how they can take advantage of this powerful tool. By adding next generation firewall solutions to their portfolios, VARs that already have a security practice or are looking to enter the security market can meet the needs of a diverse group of customers.

Here we take a look at the technology called a next generation firewall and how VARs can use the technology to build or complement their security practice.

What is a Next Generation Firewall?

Before determining if offering a next generation firewall will help grow their business, VARs need to understand what a it is. A next generation firewall is an evolution of the traditional port-based protections used in most network security approaches. Rather than simply allowing traffic through HTTP, HTTPS or other ports, next generation firewallss have application signatures that can identify traffic on a much more granular level. For example, administrators can choose to block Facebook Messaging while still allowing access to Facebook.

These solutions also offer deep packet inspection, which can quickly identify and block threats, and allow organizations to be more strategic in how they prioritize network usage. For example, with a next generation firewall a company can prioritize traffic to while limiting access to other applications, such as Bittorrent, without blocking it completely.

What Your Customers Need for Web Security—and Why

The threat landscape is changing, and today more than 80 percent of all exploits are web-based. This means traditional firewalls that filter only by port are of limited effectiveness in defending against these threats. As such, organizations need solutions that will help them manage their network policies and avoid these threats. This is what a next generation firewall can offer.

As with any new solution, VARs offering a next generation firewall need to focus on the specific needs of their customers. In general, customers considering next generation firewalls are looking for four core features:

  1. Application visibility and control

  2. Optimize the use of the Internet connection(s)

  3. Clear, understandable intrusion prevention that protects the resources they actually have

  4. Seamless VPN for connecting to remote sites and allowing access for remote users

By understanding these four areas, VARs can help their customers identify and stop threats hiding in common web traffic, see and control which apps are used on the network and prioritize bandwidth for business-critical applications.

Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of The VAR Guy’s annual platinum sponsorship. Read all of Sophos‘ guest blogs here.

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