The firewall is the foundation of enterprise data security. All these are not created equal, though and no two organizations have the same needs, risks and data flow. You need a one of these to protect against today’s advanced attacks while preserving the performance and uptime critical to foster innovation and growth. If you’re in the market for a new firewall, we’ll assume you understand the many benefits of next-generation firewall technology, and that it is the way to go.
But how can you be sure you’re choosing the right next-generation firewall to meet your organization’s specific networking, performance and security needs for the present and the future?
Here are the five critical mistakes to avoid when evaluating a new next-generation firewall and selecting the perfect fit:
Incorrectly Sizing the Firewall
Avoid relying solely on datasheets and other “performance on paper” summaries as they are inaccurate points of comparison for firewalls. There are fundamental differences in features and offerings from one firewall vendor to the next. For example, one vendor might measure consolidated threat prevention features (e.g., intrusion prevention systems (IPS), antivirus, command and control, URL filtering) in terms of performance impact, while another might highlight performance impact based solely on best-of-breed IPS capabilities in a stand-alone box. To ensure accurate “apples to apples” comparisons, organizations should size capabilities to their real-world environments’ requirements (e.g., IPS, application control, advanced malware detection) in addition to their traffic mix. When doing so, it’s critical to account for performance impact resulting from enabling other features in the future.
Choosing a Firewall in a Silo
Several teams within IT count on the firewall to effectively and efficiently perform their job functions, all of which have very different needs and priorities:
a) Networking team – hassle-free integration with current architecture, ease-of-use/deployment, network uptime.
b) Security team – seamless integration with existing security controls, better overall security, threat prevention versus detect-and-respond tactics.
Buying Into Roadmap Features and Promises
Purchasing it based on the promise of future roadmap features is extremely risky. There is always high probability that timelines will slip, in turn affecting business development, innovation, and execution of projects and initiatives in progress.
Failing to Account for Ease-of-Integration and Scalability
A new firewall should enhance your current IT infrastructure without complex integration. It should easily integrate into your current ecosystem without the need to replace additional infrastructure components with products from the same vendor, particularly in cases where integration is still relatively complex even after replacements are made. Often, once you’ve successfully migrated to a single vendor, there are still management issues and complexities between individual networking and security devices.
Choosing a Firewall With a Steep Learning Curve and Minimal Support
Some firewall vendors promise your networking and security teams will be able to “leverage the same skill set” if you switch to theirs. Unfortunately, this is often not true even when switching between products from the same vendor (e.g from a stateful inspection firewall to a next-generation firewall).
Download this whitepaper to read more in detail.
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