Have you heard about the fire-resistant walls which prevent the fire from escalating all over the building? That’s precisely how firewall-as-a-service protects your computer network from cyberattacks and unauthorized access.

But how does this happen? It happens by a cloud firewall actively checking the outgoing and incoming traffic and enforcing the company’s security policies.

Initially, a cloud firewall was developed to protect on-premise company networks, but the firewall services had to evolve with many organizations migrating their data to the cloud. Currently, FWaaS is considered and delivered as a part of the organization’s cloud infra.

What is a firewall-as-a-service?

In putting effort into cybersecurity, the firewall is one of the critical components of an organization because, through this, the incoming and outgoing traffic is monitored for authenticity. The active checking of firewalls blocks the entry of any unauthorized traffic and lets the authorized traffic go over the network.

The firewall covers both hardware and software and implements the security measures presented by the IT administrators in a company.

Hence, a cloud firewall is a feature that brings this security to the cloud for better protection than regular firewalls. Instead of buying expensive hardware to leverage the benefits of a firewall, FWaaS ensures that the cloud gets all the capabilities of a firewall. This also helps the IT team eliminate unnecessary appliances and supports the security inspection to a central and accessible platform.

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The working of a cloud firewall or FWaaS

With FWaaS, the organization can enable a secure breakout for each application without buying the security hardware for its deployment and management. As a cloud service, security horizons like the Layer 7 firewall are provided, which deliver heavy scalability for enhancing the bandwidth and user requirements, handling SSL checks, and managing the traffic of cloud applications with reliable connections.

The central management, which comes from one console, lets the organization deliver similar protection to the user or device anywhere they/it connects, like the local branch, corporate office, or work from home.

Why do companies need firewall services?

A few years ago, when organizations kept their crucial data and applications in on-site data centers, the approach used for securing the networks was the castle and moat in which the on-site firewalls served to be the significant checkpoints for access.

However, with the adoption of public cloud infrastructure, utilizing IaaS and PaaS services, the addition of more team members and company-owned devices on the organization’s network, and the hosting of data on cloud infrastructure, it came to their knowledge that the network boundaries are not clearly defined.

Additional findings were:

  • Since most of the applications and data of the company were being run on third-party cloud infra, the organizations lacked visibility and control of their overall networks.
  • The company and firewall as a service provider are responsible for securing cloud environments. Still, the companies concluded that they could not solely rely on the providers for security. Hence, they needed a measure for it.

This aspect led to companies thinking about changing their security approach, which is when the capabilities of FWaaS, like network security and firewall, were thought to be included as a part of cloud infrastructure. And because of this approach companies today can:

  • Cumulate the traffic from multiple sources onto the cloud.
  • Enforce and apply security measures at any location for any user.
  • Completely control and have visibility of their networks without the need for security hardware.

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Cloud firewall vs. Traditional Firewall

The age-old or traditional firewalls were designed to check the network traffic but for the corporate offices. But the new FWaaS is provided to organizations via the cloud, and the considerable difference between traditional and cloud firewalls is scalability. Traditional firewalls had difficulty scaling due to changing network demands and modified threat horizons.

Since FWaaS is a service of cloud infra, it provides the organization with both a tool for securing their network and endpoints and a carrier of security inspections.

Back in the days when the work was majorly done in office premises, the traditional firewalls were apt for providing network security. Since the possibilities of threat were confined to corporate premises where the employees were present most of the time, the IT teams did not find the need to expand the security capabilities beyond the site of installation.

Also Read: What is Network Security

NGFW vs. FWaaS

When it comes to cloud-based infrastructure, there is a challenging choice of whether to pick FWaaS or NGFW. Many companies can leverage security advantages by deploying FWaaS rather than NGFW.

Cloud applications perform faster with FWaaS- A few of the cloud applications are designed to be utilized over the internet. In the case of NGFW, the traffic coming to the network must be diverted back to the corporate data center before going over the internet, which could lead to performance lag.

Duplicating the security architecture becomes easy- If your requirements are spread across various locations, then it would be time-consuming and expensive, but with FWaaS, the deployment is easy and quick.

NGFWs are not fit for SSL traffic inspection- For processing the SSL inspections, NGFW might need software that could affect the user experience.

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What are the benefits of FWaaS?

Likely to other cloud services, FWaaS delivers many benefits to its users. Here are a few advantages given to FWaaS users:

  • Central Security Measure – Firewalls can implement security policies only on the traffic that goes by them. Using FWaaS, it becomes easier for an organization to send its traffic across one of the firewalls, which enables consistent and central security measures throughout the network.
  • Easy Deployment – The deployment of a traditional firewall is limited to the office’s geographical presence and its hardware. FWaaS being a cloud resource, does not have limitations like such.
  • Better Scalability – In the case of traditional firewalls, the scalability is only limited to the availability of the hardware. But with cloud firewalls, the resources can be increased or contracted as per the company’s needs.
  • Enhanced Flexibility – The surge in network traffic and the need for security operations is handled better with FWaaS.

See the scope yourself

Should you consider moving your security operations to the cloud’s FWaaS? The answer to this question is given above, and depending on your company’s needs, the choice is yours to make.

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