With the growing use of cloud, mobile computing and bring your own device (BYOD) policies, and with the rise of shadow IT, enterprises today are dealing with new levels of risk, complexity and cost like never before. From advanced persistent threats (APTs) to spam and malware, it’s critical for organizations to protect themselves against the increasingly sophisticated threat landscape.

To combat these risks, organizations are moving away from traditional firewalls that focus only on stateful packet inspection (SPI) and access control rules in favor of next-generation firewalls (NGFWs). Unlike their predecessors, which offered limited protection from today’s continually evolving threats, NGFWs deliver a much deeper level of security across weird and wireless networks.

Next-Generation Firewall vs. Traditional Firewall

NGFWs include the typical functions of traditional firewalls such as packet filtering, network- and port-address translation (NAT), stateful inspection, and virtual private network (VPN) support. The goal of next-generation firewalls is to include more layers of the OSI model, improving filtering of network traffic that is dependent on the packet contents.

NGFWs perform deeper inspection compared to stateful inspection performed by the first- and second-generation firewalls. NGFWs use a more thorough inspection style, checking packet payloads and matching signatures for harmful activities such as exploitable attacks and malware.

Evolution of Next-Generation Firewalls

Modern threats like web-based malware attacks, targeted attacks, application-layer attacks, and more have had a significantly negative effect on the threat landscape. In fact, greater than 80% of all new malware and intrusion attempts are exploiting weaknesses in applications, as opposed to weaknesses in networking components and services.

Stateful firewalls with simple packet filtering capabilities were efficient blocking unwanted applications as most applications met the port-protocol expectations. Administrators could promptly prevent an unsafe application from being accessed by users by blocking the associated ports and protocols. But today, blocking a web application like Farmville that uses port 80 by closing the port would also mean complications with the entire HTTP protocol.

Protection based on ports, protocols, IP addresses is no more reliable and viable. This has led to the development of Identity-based security approach, which takes organizations a step ahead of conventional security appliances which bind security to IP-addresses.

NGFWs offer administrators a deeper awareness of and control over individual applications, along with deeper inspection capabilities by the firewall. Administrators can create very granular “allow/deny” rules for controlling use of websites and applications in the network.

Dell SonicWALL NGFWs for Every Organization

Dell SonicWALL NGFWs provide organizations of any size with a deeper level of network security without compromising performance. They scan all traffic regardless of port or protocol — including SSL-encrypted traffic; they can detect anti-evasion techniques; and they have network-based anti-malware with access to a cloud database that is continually updated, in addition to being both easy to manage and affordable.

Further, Dell has been recognized as an industry leader by Gartner, and the Dell SonicWALL SuperMassive E10800 consistently earns the highest rating of “Recommended” in NSS Labs’ Next-Generation Firewall Security Value Map. Organizations that adopt Dell SonicWALL NGFWs will benefit from advanced protection against ever-evolving, persistent IT security threats.

Download this Dell SonicWALL whitepaper to learn more about the benefits of NGFWs, how Dell SonicWALL NGFWs deliver a deeper level of network security without compromising performance, and which Dell SonicWALL NGFWs are best suited to meet the unique needs of different business environments.