Firewalls explained: Static firewalls vs. Next generation firewalls.
Firewalls are essential components of network security. They serve as the first line of defence against potential cyber-attacks and unauthorised access to an organisation’s network. There are two primary types of firewalls: static and next-generation. While both aim to protect a network from cyber threats, they differ significantly in terms of features, capabilities, and effectiveness. In this article, we will explore the differences between a static and next-generation firewall.
A static firewall is the traditional type of firewall that has been used for many years. It works by analysing network traffic and comparing it against a set of predefined rules or policies. These rules specify which traffic is allowed to pass through the firewall and which traffic is blocked. For example, a rule may allow incoming traffic from a specific IP address, while blocking all other traffic.
Static firewalls are typically hardware-based and deployed at the network perimeter. They are effective in blocking known threats, but they are limited in their ability to identify and block new or unknown threats. This is because static firewalls rely on preconfigured rules, and they cannot detect anomalies or new types of attacks.
A next-generation firewall (NGFW) is an advanced type of firewall that incorporates additional features and capabilities beyond those of a static firewall. NGFWs use a combination of traditional firewall features, such as packet filtering and access control, along with more advanced features, such as intrusion detection and prevention, application awareness, and deep packet inspection.
NGFWs can identify and block a wide range of cyber threats, including known and unknown threats, by using sophisticated algorithms and machine learning techniques. They can analyse traffic at a granular level, identify specific applications, and detect and prevent advanced persistent threats (APTs).
NGFWs are typically software-based and can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud. They are highly customisable, and security policies can be tailored to meet the specific needs of an organisation.
Differences between Static and Next-Generation Firewalls
Static firewalls and NGFWs differ in several ways, including:
Capability: NGFWs are more capable than static firewalls because they can identify and block a wider range of cyber threats. NGFWs can detect advanced threats such as APTs, while static firewalls cannot.
Granularity: NGFWs offer granular control over network traffic. They can identify specific applications and users and control access based on the user’s role. Static firewalls can only control traffic based on IP addresses and port numbers.
Performance: Static firewalls typically have better performance than NGFWs because they are hardware-based. However, NGFWs are catching up, and the latest NGFWs have excellent performance.
Cost: NGFWs are typically more expensive than static firewalls because they have more advanced features and require more processing power.
In conclusion, while static firewalls and NGFWs share the same goal of protecting a network from cyber threats, NGFWs are more capable, flexible, and effective. They offer advanced features such as application awareness, intrusion detection and prevention, and deep packet inspection, which make them more adept at identifying and blocking a wide range of cyber threats. However, NGFWs are more expensive and require more processing power. As organisations face an ever-increasing number of cyber threats, it is becoming more important to have a next-generation firewall in place to ensure network security.