Firewall as a Service (FWaaS) is an evolutionary way of providing firewall and network security as a cloud service. Traditionally, businesses have deployed Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW) as appliances, needing to support the entire lifecycle of those appliances, including maintenance, upgrades, security patches, and hardware failure.
FWaaS differs from the physical NGFW design model in that it eliminates the need for onsite appliances and instead administers security from the cloud to every endpoint. The result is that your entire enterprise is secured and managed by a centralised cohesive application-aware security policy.
What Is Firewall as a Service (FWaaS)?
FWaaS is a cloud-based security solution, which comes with the advantage of ultra-fast scalability to accommodate expanding network security requirements. Businesses can add additional security services as needed, plus customise FWaaS to the specific security requirements.
Although FWaaS incorporates NGFW technology to monitor network traffic to protect an organisation from inside and outside threats, it’s virtualised.
Standard security features such as network security monitoring, packet filtering, and data encryption are, of course, all supported. FWaaS also inspects data on the move to identify, alert, and defend against malware, ransomware, and other potential threats in real-time.
FWaaS does not just stand between the internet and your network; it becomes your network, using a combination of physical firewalls, virtual firewalls, and endpoint security policies.
FWaaS inspects, identifies, and addresses threats at multiple entry and exit points as traffic moves through your network. Deep packet inspection (DPI) gains insight into traffic behaviour that may indicate malicious data.
The Securus Communications FWaaS solution also includes intelligent machine-learning to identify zero-day threats by analysing data packet behaviour and flagging any unusual and potentially dangerous behaviour.
How Firewall Protection Has Evolved
FWaaS is a cloud security solution that removes the need for physical firewall appliances at every ingress/egress point. It virtualises and delivers advanced Layer 7/NGFW capabilities, including access controls, URL filtering, Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS), advanced threat prevention, and DNS security.
By virtualising these capabilities, organisations can simplify their IT infrastructure by eliminating these physical appliances. Doing so also provides centralised management. Administrators can manage the entire network from a single console, eliminating the traditional challenges associated with patch management, change control, coordinating outage windows, and other tasks related to NGFW.
Before the rise of cloud computing, backhauling traffic to an NGFW at a local or regional data centre made practical sense because applications resided in the corporate data centre. Furthermore, most of the workforce was collocated in corporate offices. However, as the workplace expanded to include remote working, with employees accessing the network from anywhere, many applications moved into the cloud.
At this point, the traditional approach to networking no longer made sense. Physical NGFWs and other similar network appliances are not designed for the cloud. Now that enterprises have embraced cloud-first networking, they must provide firewall services capabilities across the entire organisation.
Cloud FWaaS solutions have also evolved that deliver full Layer-7 firewall capabilities as a cloud service that provides security within the cloud for all data and applications that move through.
Virtual and Physical Firewalls
Procuring physical firewalls and other security devices should be considered a thing of the past. The cost alone of physical firewalls that often have short shelf-life can be an unnecessary drain to your IT spend; plus, the cost to keep these devices running with the latest updates distracts your IT Team from other tasks.
At Securus Communications, we handle all this for you. Both our FWaaS and SASE solutions comprise of security appliances that are constantly evolving. Our platform is fully hardened, with the latest security patches and day-zero exploits being deployed as soon as they are released.
Our firewalls and other security appliances are mostly virtualised, so updates are software only. Where we use dedicated physical security devices (usually to enable additional layer-7 security features at wire speed), we have a 3-5 year view of hardware.
How FWaaS Protects Your Network and Beyond
A fortified security solution is the bedrock of any organisation’s cybersecurity strategy. A global firewall service defines and enforces a wide network perimeter by inspecting and filtering any traffic that attempts to cross any part of a defined border.
NGFWs are still a part of FWaaS as they enable organisations to detect and block attempted cyberattacks more effectively than previous firewall incarnations. FWaaS takes NGFW functionality and moves it from a physical device to the cloud.
By no longer limiting functionality to physical infrastructure, an organisation can securely connect their remote, mobile workforce to the corporate network, where applications reside on-premises and in the cloud.
FWaaS uses the latest cloud security technologies and software to deliver a wide array of network security and inspection capabilities, which it provides on-demand for users anywhere. Your entire network is secure, including every at-home employee connecting from their personal internet connection to those in your office headquarters connecting to the local network.
With our FWaaS solution, Securus maintains the hardware infrastructure that drives your network security, estate wide. Our service-based architecture gives your business the freedom to expand security on-demand without the burden of provisioning new hardware.
Since maintaining firewall hardware strains a company’s budget and operational workflow, FWaaS is an appealing alternative. The convenience of having a service provider handle updates and other adjustments frees up valuable in-house resources, time, and energy. Furthermore, with a provider protecting your network, you are more likely to receive cutting-edge, emerging technologies than if you were limited to in-house security staff.
With FWaaS, your sites and users are connected to one global security cloud that operates with a unified security policy, enabling effortless scalability and a proper one-solution-fits-all security solution.
FWaaS and SASE
A security overlay that works hand-in-hand with FWaaS is Secure Access Service Edge (SASE). SASE is a network architecture that merges security with Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) to create one cloud service. SASE simplifies Wide Area Network (WAN) deployment while improving security and executing precise bandwidth per application. Because it’s a cloud service, it is scalable, making it an affordable and efficient option during these rapidly changing times.
With SASE, users receive custom security policies for each session based on the connection’s identity and context. The ‘context’ includes the behaviour of the user device and the sensitivity of the data involved.
SASE then applies the organisation’s security and compliance policies and conducts an ongoing assessment of the risks present during the session. Security depends upon cloud-access security brokers, zero-trust network access, cloud secure web gateways, web-API-protection-as-a-service, DNS, FWaaS, and remote browser isolation.
Securus Communication can deliver FWaaS as part of SASE to allow your business to manage complete network security efficiently. You can set uniform policies immediately, spot irregularities almost instantly, and make changes quickly.
Today’s computing environment is becoming more distributed by the day. Organisations are rapidly expanding. They are adding more remote users and computing resources, all of which are located at the edge of the network. FWaaS is a flexible, cloud-based firewall delivered as a service to protect these edges. Another thing to consider is, as edge computing grows, more Internet of Things (IoT) devices will be added to networks, making cloud security increasingly essential.
FWaaS Vs NGFW
If the majority of your organisation’s data and business processes reside in the cloud, FWaaS offers specific advantages over NGFW. For example, FWaaS enables faster performance with all your cloud applications. Cloud apps like Microsoft 365 are now purpose-built for access via the internet. With a traditional NGFW security model, traffic must be sent back to a corporate data centre before going back to the internet. As you can imagine, that impacts performance.
With FWaaS (and SASE), setting up security services is no longer expensive and time-consuming if your teams work in several locations. You can deploy almost immediately and from a central location. No shipping of equipment or travel is required.
Why Your Business Needs FWaaS
FWaaS enables you to provide advanced security functionality to your entire network operations as a unified inter/intra-cloud infrastructure entity. With your security in the cloud, you may elect to have Securus Communications manage it, your IT Team, or a hybrid of both.
Maintaining firewall hardware rarely supports a company’s budget or operational workflow; thus, FWaaS is an attractive alternative. The added convenience comes with Securus Communications handling all updates and changes, enabling you to free up resources and time.
With FWaaS, all your company’s sites, devices and users can be governed by a single (or multiple) application-aware security policy. With that, you can better scale security. The FWaaS platform gives your employees access to resources from their devices, no matter the vendor, making FWaaS a solution that fits everyone, no matter how large or small your organisation.
These benefits also made FWaaS a base component of any SASE architecture because it functions like an NGFW without the high costs associated with an on-premises security solution.
Finally, FWaaS allows you to take advantage of advances in software and cloud technologies as they emerge. With an in-house network setup, your IT team can keep up to date on the latest technologies. With an FWaaS, Securus does this legwork and has the resources to research and employ the latest technologies and methodologies, passing those benefits on to you.
6 Benefits of FWaaS for Businesses
Next is a breakdown of the benefits of FWaaS.
1. Unified Security Policy
Unified security combines multiple security initiatives to shield your organisation from a wide variety of threats. Because FWaaS is centrally managed, so is your global security policy. Instead of your in-house team configuring and managing each piece of your architecture individually, FWaaS takes care of it.
2. Flexible Deployment and Operating
Because Securus handles the FWaaS solution, deployment is quick and often involves little work on your in-house team. Even if you need a custom configuration, your organisation needs only supply us with the necessary information.
3. Reduced OpEx
Your Operating Expense (OpEx) consumption model will be more flexible, so you can adjust as security requirements change. With FWaaS, you can maximise your budget, limit expenditures, and meet your organisation’s security needs. Securus Communications can assist you in choosing the package that suits your needs now and in the future as your needs change.
4. Simplified Deployment and Maintenance
FWaaS allows you to skip the time and resources you’d burn on an in-house setup. Whether you are deploying a new on-premises security suite or just a single tool, all you need to do is communicate your needs, and we can handle all the configuration details.
5. Improved Scalability
Scaling your FWaaS solution is as simple as the installation. We can advise you based on your business goals. Also, you can scale back to the previous configuration/usage if you find that your new solutions are not needed after all.
6. Increased Flexibility
Once your FWaaS solution is in place, you can decide if, when, and how to deploy the security features you have. You can deploy protections based on the processes and assets you wish to protect. Furthermore, you can even upgrade to a full-blown SASE solution at any time.
As more organisations decentralise their networks to accommodate an ever-growing mobile workforce, the benefits of moving data and applications to the edge and cloud have become as common as it is practical.
Logically, the same applies to the security protecting that data and applications. FWaaS enables enterprises to embed multiple virtual security layers within their LAN/WAN/Cloud infrastructure and upgrade to a full-blown SASE solution when required.
From anti-malware, anti-phishing, SEO poisoning, and 2FA to SASE and cloud-based air-gap immutable backup storage, Securus has a security solution to suit your requirement and budget. If you would like to discuss your network security requirements in more detail with one of our cyber security professionals, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.