How to help “engage” the next generation

After the development of networked computers, it took about a millisecond to realize that we needed to control access to them. And thus, the firewall was born.

The first firewalls were simple – they were packet filters that would drop packets matching a simple pattern, even if the packet was part of an existing stream of data. This worked okay for a while. But as network complexity increased, firewalls had to keep up.

Next came stateful filters, which not only examine packets, but also maintain information about the state of the connection to determine if the packet is part of a new connection, part of an existing connection, or not part of any connection.  Although this firewall technology can perform application layer filtering to a certain extent, it again became apparent that a more advanced technology was needed.

Enter “next-generation” firewalls.  Like the transition from Captain Kirk to Jean-Luc Picard, the basic concepts remain the same. Next-generation firewalls provide granular access control based on the user, application, and content layers, eliminating the all-or-nothing traffic approach of traditional firewalls. They also provide capabilities such as intrusion prevention systems (IPS) and deep packet inspection for additional attack protection.

But the devil is always in the details. Migrating to next-generation firewalls can be tedious. And finding the confidence to switch can be daunting.

We groan when we have to upgrade to the latest iPhone OS. Consider the pain of migrating firewall hardware that is integral to your critical business structure … that upgrade takes on a whole new level of importance. The risks are real and the consequences are severe. One misconfiguration and your network is open to attack.

Skybox works closely with the leading firewall vendors and integrates with solutions such as Palo Alto Networks, McAfee, Check Point and many others. The Skybox Risk Analytics Platform is useful for migrating from one vendor to another (or adding in a new vendor) and can automate many of the migration pre-processes and post-migration validation.

Based on these customer experiences, Skybox created Best Practices for Firewall Migration. This guide helps you create a migration plan that optimizes your security and performance, and provides you the confidence you need to phase out your traditional firewalls faster, saving on costs and management time.

Take a look at the guide, and our other resources for managing firewalls on our website.