What Is a Subsequent-Era Firewall (NGFW)? Final Information

A next-generation firewall (NGFW) is a deep-packet inspection firewall that comes outfitted with further layers of safety like built-in intrusion prevention, in-built utility consciousness no matter port, and superior risk intelligence options to guard the community from an unlimited array of superior threats.

Right this moment, cybercriminals use superior ransomware, social engineering, malware, and complicated distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) assaults to infiltrate networks. Conventional firewalls that carry out port and protocol inspection of packets can not sustain with these superior cybersecurity threats. That’s the place NGFWs are available.

How Subsequent-Era Firewalls Work

An NGFW is designed to offer most safety to your networks. Right here’s the way it works:

  •  An NGFW securely and statefully inspects every kind of visitors hitting the community, no matter machine or location.
  • It totally examines the content material of every incoming packet and blocks or permits it to go by way of based mostly on preset guidelines and insurance policies.
  • It restricts entry to information on a need-to-know foundation and amplifies zero-trust methods.
  • A centralized console gives visibility into all exercise from the firewall.
  • It integrates with different safety applied sciences to offer safety towards superior and protracted threats.

NGFWs vs. Conventional Firewalls

NGFWs provide quite a lot of necessary benefits over conventional firewalls, principally revolving across the deep packet inspection (DPI) capabilities offered by stateful know-how. Statefulness permits NGFWs to conduct granular inspections of the packet at each layer of the community, from information hyperlink to utility.

Here’s a full comparability of the similarities and variations between conventional firewalls and NGFWs:

Conventional Firewall NGFW
Stateless (unaware of periods) Stateful (conscious of periods)
Easy packet inspection Deep packet inspection (DPI)
Can not examine and decrypt Safe Sockets Layer (SSL) visitors Can examine and decrypt SSL visitors
Not utility conscious Utility conscious
Can not handle consumer insurance policies at a granular degree Enforces consumer insurance policies at a granular degree
Could compromise safety to keep up efficiency No have to compromise safety to keep up efficiency
Can not forestall superior cyberattacks Prevents superior cybersecurity threats
Works at layer 2 to layer 4 Works at layer 2 to layer 7

Frequent Subsequent-Era Firewall Options

The widespread options of an NGFW embrace DPI, application-level consciousness, statefulness, and intrusion detection and prevention programs.

Deep packet inspection

Deep packet inspection (DPI) is a key function of an NGFW that examines community visitors in actual time. Whereas normal packet inspection solely scans a packet’s header, like its supply IP, vacation spot IP, and port quantity, DPI totally scans the content material of every packet. This allows an NGFW to scan for extra complicated threats and higher defend company networks.

Utility consciousness and management

Conventional firewalls function at layers 2 and 4 of the Open Techniques Interconnection (OSI) mannequin. Right this moment, that’s inadequate to satisfy a company’s wants. An NGFW operates at layers 2 to 7, together with the higher-order utility layer within the TCP/IP communication layer that screens utility visitors. Meaning it gives intensive visibility into purposes, grants better management over them, and applies utility allowlists or blocklists impartial of port or protocol.


Conventional stateless firewalls don’t examine dynamic information flows or visitors patterns, as a substitute permitting or disallowing visitors based mostly on static guidelines. If a packet meets a particular situation, it’s allowed to go; in any other case, it’s denied entry.

In distinction, stateful firewalls are extra clever and monitor all visitors paths and information flows inside packets, which helps them higher detect unidentified and illegitimate requests at each layer of the community.

Intrusion prevention system and intrusion detection system

NGFWs include an built-in intrusion detection system (IDS) and intrusion prevention system (IPS). Whereas an IDS research community visitors and matches it to recognized threats, an IPS also can forestall the packet from being delivered whether it is suspected to have malware.

Advantages of Subsequent-Era Firewalls

Because of their superior structure, NGFWs unsurprisingly provide a number of advantages over conventional firewalls, together with multilayered safety towards superior threats, in addition to useful resource and value efficiencies.

NGFWs defend towards superior threats

The first benefit of NGFWs is that they defend the community from superior cybersecurity threats like DDoS assaults, malware, and ransomware assaults. NGFWs mix a number of safety applied sciences on a single complete platform, making it simpler to identify and plug the gaps. With a always altering risk panorama, a next-gen firewall is useful to guard the community from malicious malware attempting to infiltrate the system.

NGFWs provide multilayered safety

Older firewalls had been confined to layer 3 (community layer) and layer 4 (transport layer) of the OSI mannequin. Firewalls at this degree can solely filter community visitors based mostly on the IP deal with and port deal with. An NGFW, alternatively, affords multilayered safety, because it operates as deep as layer 7 (utility layer) of the OSI.

For instance, let’s say a DDoS assault hits your community. Your conventional firewall will block the IP deal with, nevertheless it can not examine the content material of the information packet. What if malware has already been launched into your community by way of another medium? An NGFW can look into your incoming packet contents, learn them individually, and decide whether or not to just accept or reject them.

NGFWs are cost-efficient

Though the upfront prices of an NGFW could also be increased than a standard firewall, a few of these prices will likely be offset by the truth that IPS and antimalware software program come constructed into an NGFW—so that you don’t should spend extra money shopping for particular person merchandise. And since your NGFW is extra successfully monitoring the community and stopping safety incidents, it saves you cash that may in any other case have been spent in mitigation and response.

NGFWs present useful resource efficiencies

The advantages of an NGFW don’t simply finish with the prices. Since NGFWs consolidate a number of community safety options in a single bundle and since all information is on the market on a centralized administration console, it makes it simpler for the IT staff to handle the community successfully.

Challenges of Subsequent-Era Firewalls

The vastly elevated capabilities, for instance, naturally demand considerably increased system assets and community bandwidth—to not point out requiring effort and time to combine the brand new options with current platforms. 

Listed below are just a few challenges—and prompt options—to remember when contemplating an NGFW in your group:

  • Since NGFWs do extra processing on particular person community packets, they will hinder community efficiency in comparison with stateless firewalls, so it is best to guarantee your community is ready for the extra demand.
  • Integrating NGFWs with current platforms can take effort and time. The complicated setup course of requires employees to be taught new expertise and programs, which can incur further prices. A very good associate may help with integration and coaching.
  • Not all NGFWs are created equal. Select one which meets your atmosphere’s particular wants.
  • Though NGFWs can deal with SSL-encrypted visitors higher than conventional firewalls, they’re nonetheless restricted of their capability. You could wish to think about investing in a separate SSL decryption resolution.
  • Throughput can degrade when using superior capabilities.

Finest Subsequent-Era Firewalls

Fortinet FortiGate NGFW: Finest general

Fortinet logo

Acknowledged as a Chief within the 2022 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Community Firewalls, Fortinet FortiGate NGFW is a pioneer in creating firewalls. FortiGate NGFWs ship synthetic intelligence (AI)-powered risk detection amenities to guard networks towards every kind of recognized and unknown threats. FortiGate NGFWs are built-in with different Fortinet companies for better visibility and to strengthen the general safety posture of the community.

Key Options

  • Easy-to-use centralized administration console
  • Deep visibility into purposes, gadgets, and customers
  • Ties key features, like IDS/IPS, TLS 1.3 decryption, and IPSec, to specialised ASICs for optimum experiences
  • Superior safety processor unit (SPU) know-how for low-latency performances


  • Highly effective safety features like ZTNA, SSL decryption, and SD-WAN are included, so no further licensing charges are required.
  • An intuitive user-friendly interface that’s simple to observe and helps safety groups handle coverage configurations from a single pane of glass.
  • Integrations doable with superior layer 7 safety.
  • The FortiGuard Net Filtering service protects organizations from malicious assaults by utilizing superior risk evaluation and computerized intelligence instruments. 
  • Integrates effectively with different Fortinet companies.  


  • The Logging service wants some enchancment.
  • Non-mainline merchandise are reported to have increased charges of failure.
  • Not as scalable as another options.  
  • The command line interface (CLI) could possibly be extra user-friendly. 


Fortinet doesn’t checklist pricing on their web site, because it varies based mostly on the overall bundle bought by the shopper, however you may request a quote or a free demo for extra info.

Cisco FirePOWER: Finest for SMBs

Cisco logo

Cisco FirePOWER protects networks by offering complete safety features like superior malware safety, enterprise safety administration, and intrusion prevention. On the similar time, built-in sandboxing, URL filtering, and superior risk intelligence (Talos) integrations try to guard networks from all doable threats. And due to Cisco FirePOWER’s integration with Cisco’s safety structure, there may be better visibility into assaults from endpoints to the sting.

Key Options

  • Granular URL filtering choices
  • 24/7 intelligence updates to remain forward of risk actors
  • Superior malware safety and built-in next-generation IPS capabilities for malware detection
  • Centralized coverage administration
  • A popularity for reliability and uptime


  • Firepower detects and neutralizes DDoS assaults in real-time.
  • Consists of highly effective troubleshooting options similar to packet seize and packet hint.
  • An actual-time monitoring GUI offers complete and up-to-date views of firewall well being.
  • Sturdy integration with different elements like Stealthwatch, Cisco Safe Endpoint, and SecureX.


  • Load and deployment instances could possibly be quicker.
  • The consumer interface will be troublesome to navigate.
  • Implementation and configuration are complicated in comparison with another options.


Cisco gives a complete “See, Strive, Purchase” program for consumers. Filling out one kind will will let you work with a Cisco Safety Specialist to schedule a demo, e book a free trial, or enable you construct a bundle that most closely fits your online business.

Forcepoint NGFW: Finest for giant enterprises

Forcepoint logo

Forcepoint NGFW is an award-winning resolution that is fitted with Forcepoint Superior Malware Detection to detect zero-day threats. Forcepoint NGFW has a number of in-built safety capabilities like IPS, digital personal networks (VPNs), and safety proxies to offer networks with the perfect safety.

The Forcepoint Safety Administration Heart (SMC) is a centralized console that gives 360-degree visibility into community exercise, serving to to rapidly establish safety threats, whether or not they’re attacking bodily installations or digital networks.

Key Options

  • Safe entry service edge (SASE) integration for internet and cloud
  • Excessive availability clustering of networks
  • Automated failover
  • Constructed-in IPS
  • Anti-malware sandboxing
  • Quick decryption of encrypted visitors


  • A responsive visible interface helps you to reply to threats in minutes.
  • The system is straightforward to handle, so it doesn’t contain lengthy hours in coaching.
  • Zero downtime throughout upgrades.
  • Implements role-based entry and affords superior safety features like IDS and IPS. 
  • Can deploy wherever, whether or not bodily gadgets or within the cloud. 
  • IP Packet Fragmentation, internet filtering for QUIC & HTTP/3, and false-positive testing.


  • Buyer assist could possibly be improved.
  • Costlier than different merchandise available in the market.
  • Advanced deployments can pressure its stability.


Whereas Forcepoint doesn’t checklist pricing on their web site, they do tout their “easy, clear, and versatile pricing choices,” which will be requested by way of internet kind. Additionally they provide custom-made demos and free trials if you happen to’re nonetheless exploring your choices.

Backside Line: Do You Want a Subsequent-Era Firewall?

Usually, fashionable corporations can solely acquire by investing in an NGFW. Conventional firewalls are incapable of defending companies from in the present day’s extremely advanced cyber threats. NGFWs, alternatively, come outfitted with the capabilities essential to improve a company’s community safety and enhance the general safety posture of the group.

Conventional firewalls had been as soon as enough to satisfy enterprises’ wants. They carried out port and protocol inspection of packets, based mostly on which they allowed or disallowed community visitors. That was enough, as IT environments had been a lot much less dynamic than they’re in the present day. However now that ports and addresses are dynamically assigned in in the present day’s networks, firewalls that lack the power to use fine-grained controls and assess incoming packets based mostly on habits can show disastrous for a company.NGFWs use DPI for dynamic filtering based mostly on utility sort and embrace malware safety that’s repeatedly up to date to observe and forestall cyberattacks. Additionally they use superior risk intelligence to present better insights into the strategies and techniques risk actors can use to infiltrate your group. Consequently, NGFWs put together organizations to at all times be alert towards new and evolving threats in addition to equipping them to combat off the most recent threats.


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