A firewall is an important part of a multilayered cybersecurity strategy. When deployed, it will create a barrier between your business’s private network and the internet. The internet, of course, is a public network. Because it’s publicly accessible, it’s often used to carry out cyber attacks. You can protect your business’s network and devices from cyber attacks by deploying a firewall. Rather than using a traditional firewall, though, you may want to use a next-generation firewall.

What Is a Traditional Firewall?

A traditional firewall is a cybersecurity tool that’s designed to monitor and filter network traffic. It sits between a private network and a public network. As data packets enter and leave the private network, the firewall will analyze them. Any data packets deemed to be malicious will be rejected. The firewall will only allow data packets to pass through it if they pass a set of rules.

What Is a Next-Generation Firewall?

A next-generation firewall is a newer and more advanced type of firewall. It performs the same monitoring and filtering network traffic but with some added features. Next-generation firewalls are also known as third-generation firewalls. You can install them between your business’s private network and the internet — just like a traditional firewall. Next-generation firewalls are particularly effective at preventing cyber attacks thanks to their advanced features.

Differences Between Traditional and Next-Generation Firewalls

Next-generation firewalls come with additional features that aren’t found in their traditional counterparts. Most of them leverage deep packet inspection (DPI) inspection, for instance. DPI is a cybersecurity feature that goes beyond basic headers. Traditional firewalls typically only analyze the headers of data packets. Next-generation firewalls, on the other hand, analyze the content of data packets. This deep analysis allows for a greater level of protection against cyber attacks.

Many next-generation firewalls also feature a built-in intrusion prevention system (IPS). As the name suggests, an IPS is a system that’s designed to prevent unauthorized users from accessing an otherwise protected network or device. You can install an IPS separately to keep bad actors out of your business’s network. Alternatively, you can deploy a next-generation firewall. Many next-generation firewalls come with an IPS.

Another way that traditional and next-generation firewalls differ is identity management. You can use a next-generation firewall to authenticate users and manage their identities. Identity management such as this isn’t available with traditional firewalls. Traditional firewalls are more rudimentary and can only filter traffic by inspecting the headers; they don’t support identity management activities.