As today’s networks become more sophisticated and complex, so do the threats that attempt to infiltrate them. More than viruses that can wipe out a single system or hard drive, so-called advanced persistent threats (APTs) can break down security mechanisms, target and steal sensitive information, send that data back to the source of the attack, hide undetected in your network and wait for the next opportunity to strike.

These security threats are smart and relentless. Can you say the same about your firewall?

What advantages do next-generation firewalls have over older firewalls?

First, older firewalls are unable to distinguish business applications that enhance productivity from non-business applications that sap productivity, hamper performance or threaten network security. Next-generation firewalls allow you to create specific application signatures and acceptable-use policies so individual applications can be identified, classified, tracked and, if necessary, blocked.

Second, older firewalls are incapable of inspecting the payload of data packets. Next-generation firewalls examine data traffic on a granular level by employing intrusion prevention and deep packet inspection techniques.

Why is a next-generation firewall critical to the security of your business?

Instead of making blocking decisions based on IP addresses, protocols and ports, you must be able to monitor and control traffic at the application level. This is where the vast majority of security breaches take place. By using a next-generation firewall to define and enforce application-level policies, organizations will become less vulnerable to attacks and data leakage while conserving bandwidth by limiting the use of non-business applications.

The explosion of mobile devices in the workplace has also created more opportunities and avenues for security threats to invade your network. Security analysts warn of an increase in the level of mobile malware, coupled with the growing number of security issues presented via Internet of Things devices. As the computing ecosystem continues to expand, attackers will continue to find more points of entry unless organizations take security into consideration.

The sheer volume of data stored within a network empowers users to instantly respond to customer requests and make decisions faster in a work environment with no boundaries. This available data also represents a larger, more valuable prize for attackers. In order to ward off attacks, organizations must be able to manage and analyze all data that travels in and out of the network. A next-generation firewall monitors and controls user activity, application activity and data flow to reduce the risk of a security breach.

What factors should you consider when choosing a next-generation firewall?

What solution is best suited to meet your business requirements? How easy is it to integrate with your existing IT infrastructure? What management capabilities does it have? Is it easy to deploy, configure, manage and maintain? Will it affect the performance of your network? What is the total cost of ownership? How qualified is the company that will help you choose and implement a next-generation firewall for your business?

IPC has helped organizations of all sizes select the right security tools to protect their networks and sensitive data. Let us show you how a next-generation firewall can thwart the most sophisticated security threats.