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WAF

What Is Firewall as a Service (FWaaS)? Guide by Wallarm

What Is Firewall as a Service (FWaaS)? Guide by Wallarm

Firewalls has been around for quite a long time. If you are not well-acquainted, consider them a leading security configuration in a PC network – by software and/or hardware – that serves as an obstruction that hinders unwanted network access, just the way a fire-resistant wall does stop fires from propagating within a structure. 

By successfully applying all approaching and departing website visitors in addition to implementing and upholding a company's safety measures, FWaaS does this.

Firewalls were once developed to safeguard local computer systems, but as more businesses migrate their apps/data to the cloud, their conventional deployment method requires being replaced. A corporation's cloud system may now supply firewalls, and for this, FWaaS surely needs some appreciation.

Learning Objectives

FWaaS: A Quick Overview

A cloud firewall, often referred to as FWaaS, aka Firewall-as-a-Service, provides clients with different ways to upgrade or close down their current network-firewall hardware and cloud-specific web traffic-monitoring functionalities. This strategy lessens the load on internal cyber teams' managerial activities as well as the load on on-site data center hardware.

Suppliers of FWaaS set themselves apart from their competitors by delivering cutting-edge web security mechanisms. Among these is the addition of next-gen firewall (NGFW) technologies that extend beyond conventional network traffic analysis. Providers of FWaaS frequently offer features for sophisticated anti-malware software, web filtering, malware analysis, invasion detection, mitigation, and application-aware defense policy execution.

How does it works?

As per FWaaS definition, it monitors network activity to protect enterprises from ultimatums and vulnerabilities while sitting between your organization’s network and WWW.

The FWaaS technology scrutinizes information as it penetrates your system to find and deal with risks. The investigation examines every data packet's header to learn more about the packet's origin and any other behaviors that could suggest bad intentions.

Additionally, FWaaS has the ability to examine the packet's information. Containing the use of this sort of deep packet examination (DPI), threats with seemingly harmless data in their headers may be identified and addressed. 

The system is supervised by an NGFW with specific FWaaS functionalities. Machine-learning methods that can recognize novel or zero day attacks that are unforeseen for the victim organization may also be included in an NGFW. This is done by keeping an eye on the digital data packets' activity and scanning them for unusual or potentially hazardous activities.

Transferring apps and information to the cloud is done very frequently by enterprises without considering essential factors. It results in their connections becoming more fragmented. The firewall also reflects this. The concerning business may now benefit from NGFW incorporated into its cloud architecture by providing firewalls as a cloud-based offering.

Alongside law regulating functionality like packet filtering, remote monitoring, IPsec, integration for SSL VPNs, and IP mapping functions, FWaaS also provides more detailed material analysis characteristics that comprise the capacity to recognize ransomware assaults and other dangers.

Advantages and disadvantages of FWaaS

Pros

  • Increased Scalability

The hardware might constrain security sustainability unlike FWaaS. Since the group of accessible resources may grow and shrink as a firm's needs change, FWaaS offers significantly better flexibility.

  • Consistent Security Policy

FWaaS can impose security measures, oonly and only if the traffic that flows across them. Utilizing FWaaS, it is considerably simpler for an enterprise to implement standard protocols throughout its overall infrastructure by routing all of its traffic via one of its firewalls.

  • Increased Adaptability

Appliance-based firewalls provide just a little versatility because updates and system reorganization call for hardware elements to be altered. With the help of FWaaS, the company is better equipped to respond to spikes in incoming/outgoing traffic and the need for security functions.

These are the barriers to FWaaS adoption, not drawbacks of the system:

  • Adoption Tolerance

Enterprise firms could be reluctant to outsource a crucial service like their cloud and data’s safety. They could be content to stick with old firewall equipment despite all the monetary pros and simplicity of FWaaS.

  • Network delay issues

As was already noted, FWaaS becomes a more desirable option for businesses when combined with SD-WAN and similar cloud-specific solutions. For this to happen, FWaaS providers need to ensure a transmission delay that is on par with or better than that of traditional firewalls.

What makes FWaaS important for organizations?

Companies may migrate safety assessment completely or partially to a top-notch cloud environment thanks to FWaaS. Cloud hosting keeps track of your business and manages the required framework to accommodate it with regard to confidentiality online. 

Based on your selected membership, your service contract will add information defining your direct exposure capabilities. As it lets them grow as needed without being concerned about provisioning additional hardware, service-based architectures are necessary for several businesses.

Many businesses' operating costs and workflows do not accommodate managing hardware firewalls, which makes FWaaS an ideal alternative.

Businesses may emancipate precious time, resources, and effort for other crucial activities thanks to the simplicity of having the supplier conduct all upgrades and configuration modifications.

A business may more effectively scale safety with FWaaS because it connects its dispersed locations and customers to a unified, conceptual, worldwide firewall with a uniform application-aware security strategy. No matter what is the enterprise’s size, the FWaaS provider provides access to services that safeguard a variety of devices, making FWaaS a universally applicable alternative.

In a nutshell, there are three main reasons why FWaaS platforms are becoming more crucial in security initiatives:

  • When traffic comes from outside the company, it may stay there, avoiding the on-site server farms, communications lines, and local hardware for mobile and remote consumers.
  • Companies are embracing "cloud-first" policies in which they attempt to transfer as much technology, programming, and other functions as possible to cloud suppliers.

FWaaS and SD-WAN

The use of FWaaS services complements software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) approaches that aim to diversify internet traffic management. Conventional network firewalls can be used, but they soon become chokepoints due to SD-dynamic WAN's path optimization characteristics. 

By enabling it as a cloud-enabled service, FWaaS lessens reliance on the business network. The developing network monitoring tactic is defined as a secure access service edge based on the fundamentals of FWaaS and SD-WAN (SASE). 

FWAAS vs. Traditional Firewalls

A web-based app firewall guards web hosts and hosted web services from application-layer HTTPS assaults (WAF). Parallel to how conventional firewalls divide internal/external traffic, WAFs erect boundaries between public users and online applications. 

By analyzing the hypertext transmission protocol, WAFs can identify and protect your business against:

The cloud-based security service known as FWaaS and it covers Layer 7 and Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFWs). The utilization of cloud-based IaaS and PaaS frameworks has resulted in the emergence of a less strictly delineated network border. FWaaS providers frequently include crucial security controls, such as IDPs, advanced threat detection, Web filtering, and DNS protection, to address this daunting crisis.

Here are a few points to compare and contrast FWAAS with conventional firewalls:

  • Maintaining the best potential security strategy is challenging.

For instance, IPS, which is component-based, requires extensive IT involvement. When an IPS supplier publishes new signatures, IT must assess the relevancy and efficiency effect of each one before testing them on actual data for false positives and end-user annoyance before installing them in full production mode. 

Due to resource limitations, IT departments often completely disregard IPS upgrades, endangering the security of their systems. FwaaS vendors who provide controlled Firewall and IPS services absolve IT of the duty of keeping security infrastructure. Businesses evaluate fresh dangers and enact legislation to combat them.

Before installing these regulations, run them via a simulation on actual traffic to ensure no companies are impacted and to remove any false positive results. As a result, risks are reduced or eliminated sans placing an undue demand on IT.

  • The physical limitations of firewall equipment set its degree of security. 

Defending increasing traffic levels requires more computation and time and money spent on mandated improvements. This capacity restriction forces IT to routinely put cost efficiency ahead of protection, which leads to a poor security stance. Any worries regarding device capability and the difficulty of updating several firewalls are removed with FWaaS, which is provided as a cloud service. 

With the help of flexible and dynamic cloud architecture, IT can protect all resources and keep an ideal security infrastructure, eliminating the limitations imposed by outdated firewall capabilities.

FWaaS vs. NGFW

A firewall classified as a next-generation firewall (NGFW) has modern technologies not included in earlier firewall technologies, such as a system for preventing intrusions (IPS) that can identify and eliminate vulnerability exploits. Application access might be limited or even prohibited by NGFWs. 

NGFWs can be installed locally or in the cloud. Both an on-premises firewall and a cloud-based firewall often include NGFW features. With a cloud-based framework, you may be required to make a challenging decision between NGF or FWaaS. So, let us share a few pointers to help you out:

  • It is simpler to replicate security designs using FWaaS

If you own many sites, installing NGFWs could be too pricey or time-taking for each one. Installation is simple and faster with an FWaaS.

  • FWaaS offer improved performance for cloud-based services

Microsoft 365 and other cloud apps are designed to be utilized online. An NGFW would require traffic routed via a company's data center first, then back onto the internet. That could reduce effectiveness.

  • Certain NGFWs are unable to analyze Network connections properly

It's possible that an NGFW might need some software to handle SSL assessments. The user's experience may suffer as a result.

Firewall-as-a-service vendors

There are now a number of FWaaS providers throughout different safety ranges. Alongside major cloud infrastructure providers like Google, AWS, and Microsoft, conventional firewall suppliers like Fortinet, Cisco, Zscaler, and Palo Alto Networks have begun to provide FWaaS solutions. Since it might take a while to investigate every possibility, we've created this review to focus on the top vendors in the market.

  • Cisco

Physical firewall devices, or firewalls, are presently offered in the form of service for public as well as private clouds using Cisco’s solution. By incorporating its SecureX platform into your company, you can find issues, allow workflows, and increase accessibility throughout the internet, terminals, internet, and apps. Additionally, Cisco provides Cisco Umbrella, a SASE product that comes with SWG, FWaaS, SD-WAN, and CASB functionalities

  • Fortinet

It offers NGFWs, which can instantly migrate your company's network’s security and efficiency to the internet. Fortinet includes SD-WAN, intrusion detection and prevention, anti-virus and malware monitoring, browser, high-speed VPN, data filtering, and decrypting. It is available as a virtual add-on solution in the VMware, Azure, AWS, GCP, Alibaba, and Oracle cloud ecosystems. 

  • Zscaler

Virtual offices were used to construct the FWaaS system by Zscaler. With the help of this solution, teleworkers may safely access the company's servers while still being secured by the firewalls. 

The secured workstation does not require the installation of the firewall service software. Alternatively, the program protects the relationship by scrutinizing all incoming and outgoing data to ensure that the contractor's device isn't spreading malware to the primary process.

Try the cloud firewall from Wallarm

Each feature of the Wallarm NGFW, especially SSL verification and sophisticated attack detection, is available as FWaaS through the Wallarm SASE service. Along with providing security against DNS attacks, the Wallarm SASE also has a web-based gateway, a system for preventing intrusions through techniques like sandboxing, VPN-enabled networking, zero-trust network access (ZTNA), and data-loss-prevention (DLP). 

This gives you a top-notch protection system that safeguards every network interface. Lastly, companies considering safeguarding their web applications could also utilize the Cloud WAF. It’s carefully designed to shield cloud and on-premise environments through the worldwide network.

FAQ

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