What Is a Next Generation Firewall (NGFW)? How Is It Different From Traditional Firewalls?

next generation firewall enabled by specialist

In an era where cyber threats are increasingly sophisticated, the need for superior firewall technology is imperative. When you think about firewalls, you probably imagine a traditional firewall, a staple in network security. However, the emerging world of cybersecurity introduces a more potent solution – the Next Generation Firewall (NGFW).

Table of Contents

Understanding Traditional Firewalls

Traditional firewalls, also known as packet-filtering firewalls, primarily work by controlling network traffic. They use pre-determined security rules to accept or reject data packets based on source and destination IP addresses, protocols, and port numbers. Despite their essential role in cybersecurity, traditional firewalls have their limitations, such as a lack of visibility and control over users, applications, and content.


Introduction to Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW)

So, what is a next-generation firewall? An NGFW not only encompasses the capabilities of traditional firewalls but also integrates additional features like application-level inspection, intrusion prevention systems, and identity awareness. This sophistication results from the evolution and advancement of firewall technology tailored to meet modern-day cybersecurity demands.


Key Features of NGFW

NGFWs, such as a Sophos firewall, are designed with an impressive suite of advanced features and functionalities that surpass the capabilities of traditional firewalls. Here are the primary elements that make an NGFW stand out:

  1. Application Awareness and Control: NGFWs can understand and classify traffic based on the application that is producing it. This granularity allows for control over individual applications, including the ability to block, allow, or limit usage based on specified criteria such as the user or the time of day. Additionally, they can detect whether applications are using non-standard protocols to communicate, a common tactic used in evasion attempts.


  1. Integrated Intrusion Prevention System (IPS): A feature that sets NGFWs apart is the integrated intrusion prevention system. The IPS monitors network traffic for suspicious activities that could signify a security threat. In real-time, it identifies, classifies, and blocks potential threats, all while permitting legitimate traffic to flow unimpeded. The use of deep packet inspection (DPI) further enhances the effectiveness of this feature by examining data for harmful content.


  1. User Identity Awareness: Rather than merely focusing on IP addresses, NGFWs can associate network activities and security events with individual users or groups. This identity awareness adds an extra layer of security by providing the ability to enforce policy controls based on users or groups, thus enhancing visibility and control.


  1. Advanced Threat Intelligence: The ever-evolving nature of cyber threats necessitates real-time updated threat intelligence. Next-generation firewalls leverage advanced threat intelligence to identify, mitigate, and report advanced threats effectively. This feature often includes sandboxing capabilities, allowing suspicious files to be executed in a safe, isolated environment to observe their behavior.


  1. SSL Inspection: Many cyber threats are hidden in encrypted SSL traffic that traditional firewalls fail to inspect. NGFWs, however, can decrypt, inspect, and re-encrypt SSL traffic, ensuring that harmful content cannot slip through unseen.


What Should I Look For in a Next-Generation Firewall?

Deciding on the right NGFW largely depends on your specific network security needs. However, here are some general factors to consider when choosing a next-generation firewall:

  • Application Awareness: Look for a firewall that offers visibility and control over application use, such as a Sangfor firewall. This feature helps you manage application-specific risks better.
  • Integrated Intrusion Prevention: Choose an NGFW with a high-performing, integrated IPS. This feature provides real-time threat protection.
  • User Identity Tracking: This feature offers improved control and visibility over network activities. It’s particularly beneficial for businesses that need user-specific network access controls.
  • Real-time Threat Intelligence: A next-generation firewall with up-to-date threat intelligence can better detect and mitigate new threats. Consider a firewall with sandboxing capabilities for more robust threat detection.
  • SSL Inspection: This feature is crucial as it can inspect encrypted traffic, a growing channel for cyber threats.
  • Scalability: A scalable NGFW allows for easy expansion of your network without compromising security or performance.
  • Ease of Management: A user-friendly management interface helps simplify administration tasks and reduces the likelihood of misconfigurations that could potentially create security loopholes.
  • Reliable Vendor Support: Vendor support can play a critical role in maintaining your NGFW. Make sure to choose a vendor that offers dependable, comprehensive support to help you resolve any issues that may arise.


The Role of NGFW in Modern Cybersecurity

With evolving cyber threats, NGFW benefits extend beyond traditional firewalls by providing robust, adaptable security measures that keep pace with changing attack landscapes. They offer comprehensive network visibility, advanced threat detection, and streamlined security management, making them an integral part of modern cybersecurity.


Final Thoughts

Understanding the value and role of the next-generation firewall can drastically transform your approach to cybersecurity. At THREE IC, we not only provide information but also guide you to the best cybersecurity solutions. Our range of products, such as the  Palo Alto firewall, offer robust NGFW solutions suitable for various business needs.

We are also equipped to provide comprehensive firewall support and firewall security management, ensuring your organization’s cybersecurity is always top-notch. Choose THREE IC today as your trusted partner in top-tier firewall solutions.

Frequently Asked Questions

The main benefits include application awareness and control, integrated intrusion prevention system (IPS), user identity awareness, and advanced threat intelligence.

When choosing an NGFW, look for features such as application awareness, integrated intrusion prevention, user identity tracking, real-time threat intelligence, scalability, and ease of management.

Related Articles:

Meet the Author:



THREE IC, a prominent provider of Cyber Security and IT solutions, produces the majority of the blog posts featured here. These articles are authored by a team of professionals employed at THREE IC, including content writers and marketing experts. They are dedicated to creating informative content on a wide range of subjects that are relevant to our readers.

Our team ensures that the published articles are accurate and beneficial for our clients and partners, helping them stay informed about the latest trends in Cyber Security and IT and understand how these advancements can benefit their organizations.