NGFW Application Control – How to Protect Your Business From Advanced Threats


NGFW application control is an industry-leading feature that delivers granular, acceptable use policies to control the usage of applications and widgets at the user or group level. It identifies applications exploiting vulnerabilities and helps meet compliance with easy enforcement of business policies. Unlike traditional firewalls, which only inspect Layer 4 of the OSI protocol stack, NGFWs analyze more layers, including application layer traffic. Using signature detection technologies allows them to recognize threats that may not be immediately recognizable.

Detecting and Blocking Malware

Unlike traditional firewalls limited to port and protocol filtering, NGFWs analyze traffic at layer 7 – the application level. This enables you to define granular security policies that allow the good parts of an application while blocking threatening ones. Using deep packet inspection (DPI) and advanced malware detection, an NGFW can detect and block malicious content within applications. It can also see steganography techniques hackers use to hide malicious code inside legitimate files. Because NGFWs can scan content, they help protect your network from malware and unwanted files without slowing down users or applications. This lets you prevent data leakage and stop cyber threats with detailed, real-time traffic inspection. NGFWs can also protect against advanced attacks by detecting malicious behavior that deviates from known standards. This helps you identify and prevent attacks before they reach the endpoints that can compromise your business and customers’ personal information. NGFWs can be deployed in branch offices to secure remote access while ensuring compliance with corporate security and privacy policies. This is a more cost-effective solution than deploying separate security hardware in every office and slowing down the network. NGFWs can also be deployed in data centers to protect data from breaches while maintaining user availability. NGFWs can also support BYOD by allowing the right devices to access your business’s internal resources and apps without slowing down your network.

Detecting Emerging Attacks

An NGFW can be deployed as on-site hardware, virtual appliances or firewall as a service (FWaaS) for businesses of all sizes. Regardless of deployment, it offers fine-grained policy enforcement, streamlined threat intelligence, and constantly optimized connections. Unlike traditional firewalls that operate on the deny/allow model, NGFW application control provides layer-7 inspection, which recognizes threats that may not be immediately recognizable with signature-based detection technologies. It also enables granular application control based on specific applications, their content, traffic source and destination, and more, rather than restricting enforcement by port, protocol, or service.

Additionally, NGFWs can be integrated with additional software solutions such as an intrusion prevention system (IPS), antimalware, and web application firewall (WAF). For example, if a downloaded file evades automatically enforced policies, the NGFW will send it to a sandbox “virtual machine” to see how it executes and detects malicious behavior. NGFWs also support secure remote access for employees working from home or the office, which can help to ensure compliance and prevent cyber attacks that exploit loopholes in corporate security. They can also be used to protect data centers and branch offices. However, backhauling all branch office traffic to a central NGFW in the data center is costly, introduces latency, and can be vulnerable to attack. NGFW virtualization functionality offers a more effective alternative.

Adapting Internet Access Rights

NGFWs offer greater flexibility than traditional firewalls, as they can adapt to changing threat intelligence in real time. This means they can automatically configure security protocols and filters based on what the system sees, which helps prevent cyber attacks that rely on multiple entry points. This functionality is called application awareness and control. It works by analyzing the content of network packets, not just the header, to detect and block malicious activity, such as command-and-control communication or data exfiltration. This is possible because NGFWs can perform deep packet inspection (DPI), which examines the data portion of network traffic, not just the header.

Additionally, NGFWs can integrate with external threat intelligence sources to improve blocking capabilities. This allows NGFWs to identify new threats, stop attacks before they cause damage and reduce bandwidth usage.

Some NGFWs also include sandboxing capability, which runs executable files and code inside an isolated environment to determine if they are malicious. This can help protect the organization from malware infections and other cyber threats not easily detected by signature-based detection technologies. Regardless of how an NGFW is deployed, whether on-site hardware, a virtual appliance, or a firewall as a service, it must be scalable to meet the organization’s data demands. To ensure the NGFW can scale up, check its ability to support multiple data centers.

Detecting Anomalies

Some NGFWs include integrated intrusion prevention systems that help you detect cyberattacks based on network behavioral analysis, threat signatures, and anomalous activity. Unlike traditional firewalls that rely on packet filtering, which examines only a few headers in each data packet to decide whether it matches an access rule, NGFWs incorporate deep packet inspection (DPI) to inspect the entire packet body and check its contents against databases of known malware attacks. As a result, NGFWs can better recognize new and unknown threats and stop them before they cause damage or steal data. As an additional layer of protection, some NGFWs also feature user behavior monitoring that evaluates the activities of individual users. If they start to exceed an investigation priority score established for them based on their typical behavior, the system will generate alerts or incidents. To ensure that you can use applications critical to your business, a good NGFW application control features fine-grained policies and lets you set different rules for each app. For example, you can create a law that allows contractors and temporary staff to access only a subset of social media apps while giving your board members unfettered Internet access. This capability enables your organization to keep its critical business functions online and protect sensitive data without sacrificing performance and security.

Leave A Reply