Definition - What does Next-Generation Firewalls mean?
Next-generation firewalls are a class of firewall that are implemented in either software or hardware and are capable of detecting and blocking complicated attacks by enforcing security measures at the protocol, port and application level.
The difference between a standard firewall and next-generation firewalls is that the latter performs a more in-depth inspection and in smarter ways. Next-generation firewalls also provide additional features like active directory integration support, SSH and SSL inspection, and malware filtering based on reputation.
The common functionalities present in traditional firewalls such as state inspection, virtual private network and packet filtering are also present in next-generation firewalls. Next-generation firewalls are more capable of detecting application-specific attacks than standard firewalls and thus can prevent more malicious intrusions. They do a full-packet inspection by checking the signatures and payload of packets for any anomalies or malware.
Next-generation firewalls also have more application awareness and deploy various techniques for identifying different applications, including Web-based ones. They store the details of approved applications and examine the data packets for any issues. They also keep a baseline for deviations from normal application behaviors, which can help system administrators.
Next-generation firewalls are expected to provide the following:
All traditional firewall capabilities
Identification of undesired encrypted applications with the help of SSL decryption
Granular control and application awareness
Continuous service with respect to in-line bump in the wire configuration
Integrated prevention techniques against network intrusions
Capability of using intelligence in improving blocking decisions
An integrated, signature-based intrusion prevention engine