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The CF List: 2022's 20 Top Next-Gen Firewall Cybersecurity Providers You Should Know

Check Point, Cisco, Sophos and VMware are here. See who else made it and why.

Edward Gately

November 22, 2022

20 Slides

Next-generation firewall (NGFW) is a critical part of the fast-growing global cybersecurity appliances market. And the shift to remote and hybrid work has increased demand for more deployment options.

A traditional firewall typically provides inspection of incoming and outgoing network traffic. However, NGFW cybersecurity includes additional features such as application awareness and control, integrated intrusion prevention and cloud-delivered threat intelligence.

According to Industry Research, the global NGFW cybersecurity market totaled nearly $4 billion in 2021 and should reach nearly $8 billion by 2028.

Our latest CF List focuses on NGFW cybersecurity. Analysts with Omdia, S&P Global Market Intelligence and Forrester weighed in on NGFW market trends and what it takes to be a successful provider.

NGFW Security Key Component in Network Architecture

Fernando Montenegro is senior principal analyst at Omdia, which shares a parent company with Channel Futures (Informa).

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Omdia’s Fernando Montenegro

“Firewalls remain a key component in network architecture, and many organizations rely on them for securing outgoing connections,” he said. “We do see NGFW vendors branching out to other areas such as secure access service edge (SASE) so that they can better support low-latency access for remote users and branches. In those cases, secure web gateways and zero trust access are key use cases.”

The expectation of a cutting-edge NGFW provider is that they’re adding capabilities on multiple dimensions, Montenegro said. Providers are doing more in terms of bringing more intelligence to bear on inspecting traffic, and they are adding more service coverage on the firewall itself.

“They are working in supporting multiple form factors, not only traditional physical appliances … but also virtual form factors including virtual machines, containers and more,” he said. ‘[And] they are making sure the NGFW integrates with broader threat detection, investigation and response (TDIR) architecture, be it security information and event management (SIEM), extended detection and response (XDR), etc., as well as integration with the customer environment, such as identity management and more.”

Customers want NGFW to do what it promises without adding too much “heartburn” to teams, Montenegro said.

Supporting a Hybrid Workforce

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S&P Global Intelligence’s Eric Hanselman

Eric Hanselman is chief analyst with 451 Research, part of S&P Global Market Intelligence. He said ransomware and advances in attack automation that criminals use have shifted security spending.

“Email scanning and DNS reputation screening have become must-haves in the security portfolio,” he said. “Ransomware has created a shift in mindset for security professionals, as the cost of compromise has increased dramatically. Our Voice of the Enterprise, Information Security study shows a dramatic increase in successful attacks, almost doubling from 10% in 2021 to 18% reporting being victims this year. Traditional approaches to remediation aren’t working, forcing enterprises into reactive strategies. While 7% thought that they’d pay a ransom if compromised, for those that were compromised, 22% indicated that they’d paid.”

2 Prominent Market Strategies

David Holmes is senior analyst at Forrester.

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Forrester’s David Holmes

“Not only are threats continuously evolving, but organizations are also suffering from the security skills gap more than ever,” he said. “Organizations are struggling to find and retain anyone today.”

Forrester recently highlighted two industry strategies in play to counter the skills gap, Holmes said.

“Check Point Software Technologies, the granddaddy of firewalls, has changed their strategy to prioritize automated prevention with the assumption that there isn’t talent at the customer site to do sophisticated detection,” he said. “So their firewall and associated software have to do it. And one can respect that approach given the situation. The other main strategy, followed by many of the other firewall vendors like SonicWall and WatchGuard Technologies, is to integrate better with the MSP and MSSP market, with the assumption that a trusted third party is actually going to be doing to the configuration, incident response and remediation.”

We’ve compiled a list, in no particular order, of 20 top NGFW providers. It’s based on analysts’ feedback and recent news reports. The list is by no means complete. It includes a mix of well-known providers as well as lesser-known ones making strides in NGFW.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Edward Gately or connect with him on LinkedIn.

About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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