Fundamental Characteristics of a Robust Network Firewall

Many people know firewalls exist to keep networks more secure. But fewer know all the elements that go into building a fortress-like firewall for enterprises. Here are the fundamental characteristics of a robust network firewall. 

Verified Private Network (VPN)

A verified private network, more commonly known as a VPN, is a tool that allows you to establish a more secure network connection. With a VPN, data is encrypted, which makes it much harder for attackers to exploit any vulnerabilities. VPN services work as a sort of masking tunnel, where your network data is scrambled as it goes between your network and a remote server.

Furthermore, this masks the IP address, which can create a more secure environment. Some software-defined wide-area networks (SD-WANs) are built with internal VPN capability, or with it in mind. While a VPN isn’t going to protect your enterprise from more targeted attacks, it’s definitely an important part of building a comprehensive network firewall. 

Advanced Filtering

The point of a firewall is to monitor network traffic and stop anything that seems suspicious from infiltrating the network. While this is a pretty obviously necessary function for network firewalls, it’s important to note that not all tools and services are going to be equally good at this. Looking for advanced filtering tools can decrease the likelihood of something dangerous making it past your firewall. 

Secure Web Gateway

A secure web gateway is another element to a network firewall that can drastically improve performance. Unlike other aspects of a firewall, a secure web gateway is a way for network administrators to set custom boundaries designed to mitigate threats. While this might sound convoluted, it’s actually one of the more essential and powerful features of a modern enterprise firewall solution. 

Think about how much traffic is moving along your organization’s networks all the time. While having filters in place can quarantine much of malicious traffic, it’s not going to stop people using your networks from accessing things that expose you to risk. This is where a secure web gateway comes into play.

With a secure web gateway, you add a layer of corporate policy to the way in which people access the internet. Instead of everyone being able to go anywhere, a secure web gateway will block certain users from even accessing content that might endanger your enterprise. 

Secondary Firewall

There’s no such thing as being too careful when it comes to cybersecurity. And firewalls are one place where it truly makes no sense to cut corners since they’re so integral to network defense as a whole. Due to this, it’s wise for enterprises to think about having a secondary firewall.

Even the best products can fail. If your enterprise can’t afford to have any downtime in its network security, a secondary firewall is probably a must-have. This will immediately kick into gear if something malfunctions with the primary firewall, ensuring at least some level of protection continues even if things aren’t at 100 percent. 

Built-In Detection and Response

While the previous points have all focused on how firewalls can enhance network security by deflecting attacks, it’s important to go beyond that. Any organization that only plans for their cybersecurity protocols to work as planned is going to be in for a rude awakening the moment that isn’t the case. 

Built-in incident detection and response are crucial things to consider when evaluating modern firewall capabilities. These will only kick into gear once it senses something is off with your network. 

It’s impossible to protect against everything when human error plays a role. Therefore, enterprises need to expect things will go wrong at some point. Having detection and response elements built right into a firewall can allow for faster triage and remediation, which will hopefully limit lasting damage. 

Firewalls remain an important part of enterprise network security systems. Consider how your organization can make the most out of your firewall.