As a trusted supplier of Tecsenza, Cisco is well known for their network security products and of these, some of the best and most essential are their firewall products. Most of us are now familiar with firewall products on our personal machines and appreciate how they keep us safe from potential threats such as malware, spam, and trojans on a daily basis. But few of us are familiar with network firewalls and the role they play in protecting a business network from these threats and what forms they can take. A network firewall is a security device that monitors incoming and outgoing network traffic and decides whether to allow or block that traffic based on a set of security rules defined by the network owner usually informed by current information regarding threats published by IT security companies.
Firewalls have defended the company and personal networks for over 25 years now. They are a barrier between secure networks such as within a company or home that can be trusted and untrusted outside networks, such as the Internet. A firewall can be hardware, software, or both. Products such as Norton or AVG are software-based firewalls which can be installed on each individual machine and work by monitoring internet traffic and applying security rules to stop threats, they usually automatically update from the supplier’s servers to incorporate new and evolving threats. Hardware firewalls can be a stand-alone product but now are found in broadband routers these are an important part of any security set-up for a company accessing a broadband network.
Hardware firewalls can be effective with little or no configuration, and they can protect every machine on a local network. They work on connecting multiple machines to a network and they will likely have a minimum of four ports but in larger, business networks more complex solutions can be found. A hardware firewall uses packet filtering to examine the header of a packet to determine its source and destination. This information is compared to a set of predefined or user-created rules that determine whether the packet is to be forwarded or dropped. Hardware firewalls can be used by someone with basic IT knowledge, but larger more complex set-ups may require a more expert approach as knowledge of more specific features and configurations, which will make them more effective may need to be set up. Cisco provides a range of firewalls and it’s worth knowing which one is the right choice for your business.
An early type of firewall device, a proxy firewall serves as the gateway from one network to another for a specific application. Proxy servers provide security by preventing direct connections from outside the network. They may have limits on their capability and what applications they can support.
Stateful inspection firewall
This is a traditional type of firewall which most people know, it works with defined rules and lets traffic in based on built-up and user-defined rules. This is the kind of firewall most people are familiar with and have used in their home.
Unified threat management (UTM) firewall
A unified threat management (UTM) system can be a hardware firewall, a virtual appliance or cloud service that protects businesses from security threats in a simplified way, it combines multiple security features to provide a more complex security service for a business.
Next-generation firewall (NGFW)
NGFWs can do more, these firewalls have evolved beyond the traditional forms and companies such as Cisco are typically marketing these products to business customers where higher levels of security are required, and threats may be complex such as advanced malware and application-layer attacks. These capabilities include the standard features of the previous two types of firewall but also, integrated intrusion prevention, application awareness and control which identifies and controls more risky apps, upgrades so future information about threats can be fed in, techniques to counter evolving security threats.
These NGFW’s are becoming the standard for most companies but new technology is advancing the capability of these to do even more and new options have been developed which will counter the threats that companies face going into the future. These are: Compare industry NGFWs and Threat-focused NGFW. These have all the features of the previous NGFW and provide threat detection and remediation, but they also know which assets are most at risk with complete context awareness and can quickly react to attacks with intelligent security automation that sets policies and hardens your defences dynamically. They have improved detection of evasive or suspicious activity through matching up devices and networks. Reduce the time from detection to clean up with retrospective security that continuously monitors for suspicious activity and behaviour even after the initial inspection and they are easier to administer too as they are less complex and can apply policies across the whole network easily and quickly.
Cisco is a world leader in networks and network security and Tecsenza as a trusted partner is able to advise on and supply a range of Cisco Firewalls that can be tailored to suit every level of businesses security needs.