5 Essential NGFW Capabilities Every Business Needs for Cybersecurity


A firewall is essential for every business, but choosing one can be complicated. A good NGFW is not cheap, but a security breach can be even more costly. NGFWs offer granular visibility and control to prevent these threats by blocking inbound attacks on the corporate network perimeter. They also support network segmentation with dynamic, identity-based policies.

Deep Packet Inspection

Deep packet inspection examines the content of data packets rather than relying on simple protocol header information to check for network threats. This allows for a more thorough analysis of data at the application level. With DPI, firewalls can classify network traffic to the application level and identify risks like buffer overflows or denial of service (DoS) assaults that threaten business continuity. NGFW capabilities comprises of access permission management, traffic prioritization or deprioritization, and quality of service optimization for mission-critical applications using DPI functionality.

In contrast, traditional stateful packet inspection relies on protocols and header information to determine whether a data packet contains an attack, which is often difficult to detect. With DPI, the firewall can inspect the contents of the packet to see if it includes malware or other threats or anomalies. NGFWs with this functionality can then take action to block these attacks or redirect non-business critical traffic using filters. They can even work with cloud-based secure web gateways to offload encrypted and remote user traffic to avoid overloading firewall processors with performance-draining packet scanning.

Application Awareness

An NGFW’s ability to identify the different types of applications and data transmitted across the network provides valuable context that improves security and performance. This is accomplished through granular traffic inspection and security rules rather than traditional firewalls’ more basic IP and port-based limitations. Application awareness also allows organizations to better manage their bandwidth by prioritizing latency-sensitive traffic and restricted browsing to social media or other non-business applications. It also helps thwart threats that rely on spoofing or evasion tactics to bypass traditional firewall protections by identifying the specific type of traffic being sent.

Integrated intrusion prevention systems (IPS) are another essential feature of an NGFW. They prevent attacks by matching the behavior of suspicious activity to a list of known threats or through anomaly-based or behavioral detection techniques.

When choosing an NGFW for your business, discuss your team’s requirements with IT and security personnel. Make sure that the system you select can deliver on all your critical needs, and then read reviews and testimonials to see which products have a reputation for providing excellent customer support and an easy-to-use interface.

Intrusion Prevention

When protecting networks from advanced malware, NGFWs need to be able to identify and block threats at digital speeds. They need to be able to inspect and segment networks at scale, perform deep packet inspection post-decryption, detect malicious URLs, and leverage threat intelligence. Additionally, NGFWs should be able to terminate exploited sessions and prevent attackers from accessing internal servers or systems. This can help prevent data breaches and ransomware attacks.

To choose the right NGFW for your business, speak with IT and security team members to understand what features are most essential for them. Consider purchasing one highly reviewed for its ease of use, so your teams can maximize its capabilities. This will ensure your teams can quickly stop cyber threats before they become more advanced. It will also ensure they can react promptly to detected attacks by enforcing policies across the entire network infrastructure end-to-end.

Behavioral Analysis

In addition to inspecting data on a packet level and identifying threats hidden in what looks like regular traffic, an NGFW can also determine the identity of the people or devices inside your network. This helps prevent insider threats that leak or inject malicious code, files, and software into the network’s infrastructure.

Typically, NGFWs have access control capabilities that allow administrators to set and manage the network’s security policies. This will enable them to associate known users with their associated devices or applications and then apply the appropriate security tools and access privileges for each connection.

NGFWs are designed to protect against advanced attacks and threats. To do so, they need unobstructed access to your network’s components for all their tools and features to work correctly. These sophisticated tools will likely be a bottleneck if they can communicate intelligence with other firewalls or threat detection systems across the distributed network. This is why choosing an NGFW that provides multi-tenancy capabilities for large enterprises or managed service providers who want separate but interoperable domain management abilities without sacrificing performance is essential.

Threat Intelligence

Threat intelligence allows SOC analysts to prioritize better and triage alerts for investigation based on what adversaries may be trying to accomplish. It also helps SOC analysts quickly identify threats using various attack techniques and provides visibility into the full context of an ongoing intrusion. This information is gathered from open sources that offer a wide range of indicators of compromise, like malware hashes and domain names.

The more intelligence available, the more robust the protection will be. NGFWs use DPI to analyze packets at layer 7, identifying the application the packet is intended for and then blocking or allowing it based on this information. This capability is often called “application awareness” or intrusion prevention, and it is an essential security feature that improves upon traditional firewall capabilities.

NGFWs also leverage deep inline learning to stop unknown zero-day attacks that bypass traditional signature detection. This technology uses machine learning to analyze raw data more like humans, providing more robust defenses against the most advanced threats. The best NGFWs have built-in capabilities, so you don’t have to worry about adding expensive, separate security tools.