Traditional Firewalls Can’t Keep Up— Should You Switch to an Enterprise Firewall?
The world of cybercrime has changed to the point of no recognition in the last couple of years.
How do you keep up?
Most businesses start with firewalls and antivirus software, the basic cybersecurity tools that protect their assets.
However, with the rise in the number of cyberattacks, the shift to remote work, and deploying complex multi-cloud infrastructures that are more challenging to defend, the traditional firewall that filters packets of traffic may not be enough.
What else has changed in cybersecurity, why is the traditional firewall no longer sufficient, and why are businesses replacing them with an enterprise firewall?
Keep reading to find out more.
Cybersecurity Is Changing
This year, the job of security analysts has been more difficult than ever. Reasons for this include:
- More recorded cyberattacks than ever before
- Rising number of new kinds of cyber threats
- High-profile data breaches, such as Optus and Medibank
- Scarcity of cybersecurity experts
- The war in Ukraine increasing the number of attacks on critical infrastructure
- Cybercrime as a service
According to Statista, the start of the year 2022 recorded 37% more data breaches compared to 2020. On average, companies experience at least one cyberattack per week.
What led to the rise in frequency?
Automation of cyberattacks, the ability to scan the complete web for data that can be scraped and used in phishing campaigns, and the availability of complete scripts that depict how to run malware or perform a cybercrime with little tech-savvy are part of it.
Cyberattacks can be bought — ordered as a service (e.g. ransomware as a service). This also allows anyone to purchase and target their competitors.
Also, today hackers have more points they can target. Businesses are now online, remote workers connect to the systems from afar, and they store a lot of data on the cloud. All of that can be attacked.
Besides being more frequent, cyber threats are getting more complex as well. Although cybercriminals still use old tactics such as phishing, they’re coming up with new types of exploits that can bypass security tools that are designed to detect them.
More intricate cyberattacks require security teams who both manage the security and patch up the flaws in time, as well as react to the attacks that security tools can’t mitigate automatically.
With security experts leaving the field due to high-stress levels and changing organizations for better compensation and healthier company culture, many teams are left underfunded as well as understaffed.
With recent data breaches such as Optus and the attacks on the Colonial Pipeline headlining the news, the public is also getting more interested in the way cybercrime affects them and how companies handle their sensitive information.
All in all, these changes have created a rapidly shifting attack surface (any software that can be targeted by hackers) for businesses and governments.
A firewall is a technology that has been developing since the 1980s. It started as a packet filtering type (some version of it is still in use today).
Its core purpose — examining the traffic that is going to and from one computer to the next — remained the same. What the firewall does is let legitimate traffic and block the malware-infected one.
For personal use, the basic firewall can still be a solid protection when surfing online. It blocks access to websites that contain the virus and stops known malware from getting into the system.
The organization writes policies that govern which traffic should go through the network in advance. The issue is that the rules that determine whether the traffic is malicious or legitimate have to be manually written by security teams and regularly updated.
For already overworked teams that don’t have a lot of time, that can represent the time they could have spent on more advanced exploits and further automation.
Old-school firewalls also can’t filter high volumes of traffic.
As a result, the firewall can fail in the case of bottlenecks, leaving a business unprotected until the analyst discovers the error.
Companies that get a lot of traffic have complex cloud infrastructures that are changing all the time and have remote workers who need better protective solutions.
As a version of the Next Generation Firewall (NGFW), an enterprise firewall provides more nuanced protection for businesses that have gone global, offer their services online, have a website that allows logging in for users, and collect the data of its clients.
To be thorough, the enterprise firewall can:
- Be set to protect internal networks within the company’s systems, not allowing the threat actor to get deeper into the organization
- Limit the access of users based on their role, and apply that to traffic that is being inspected
- Provide additional protection for email that filters the messages that contain viruses in their body or attachments
What’s more, the enterprise firewall offers protection for the cloud and can be scaled following the growth of the company.
The solution, therefore, can prevent the modern-day cyber threats that are ever-changing and minimize the financial damage by discovering them early.
Cybercrime has changed a lot in recent years while also holding on to techniques that have been used for decades. For instance, phishing is still the number one threat because it targets the weakest link within any corporation — humans.
Other types of cyber threats, such as ransomware, have been on the rise as well. While not new, this exploit is alluring to black hat hackers that want to monetize their skills quickly.
Also, the threat actor can be anyone. Someone who finds a script for running malware and follows the steps. Or someone who accessed the dark web and ordered ransomware as a service.
Hackers are generally scanning the web for an easy threat — a company that doesn’t have the cybersecurity solutions that can detect more advanced versions of malware or an organization that lacks proper solutions.