Cloud firewall is software-based, cloud deployed network devices, built to stop or mitigate unwanted access to private networks. As a new technology, they are designed for modern business needs, and sit within online application environments.
As the technology around us evolves, firewalls have had to take to the cloud to keep up with it. But what is a cloud firewall, and should you get one yourself?
Let’s look into what firewalls do, and why you’d want to put one in a cloud.
What Is a Firewall?
A firewall is a barrier or shield that is intended to protect your PC, tablet, or phone from the data-based malware dangers that exist on the Internet. Data is exchanged between your computer and servers and routers in cyberspace, and firewalls monitor this data (sent in packets) to check whether they’re safe or not.
This is done by establishing whether the packets meet the rules that have been set up. Based on these rules, packets of data are accepted, or rejected.
Firewalls stop people accessing your network from outside without your permission. If it detects something malicious, it blocks the connection and protects your PC from the resource.
You can also set custom rules for your firewall. So it blocks things you don’t want people seeing on your network. For instance, employers can use it to prevent their workers from seeing things they shouldn’t.
Cloud Firewall Benefits
Because deployment is much simpler, organizations can adjust the size of their security solution without the frustrations inherent with on-site installation, maintenance and upgrading. As bandwidth increases, cloud firewalls can automatically adjust to maintain parity. For example, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks can be mitigated without having to worry about bandwidth limits.
Cloud firewall providers account for the built-in cost of high availability by supporting infrastructure. This means guaranteeing redundant power, HVAC, and network services, and automating backup strategies in the event of a site failure. This availability is hard to match with on-premises firewall solutions because of the cost and support required. This also means that necessary updates can be implemented immediately, without the need for large system downloads or updates.
Cloud firewalls can be reached and installed anywhere an organization can provide a protected network communication path. With an on-premises device, this extensibility is limited by the available resources of the organization looking for a firewall solution.
4. Migration Security
A cloud firewall is capable of filtering traffic from a variety of sources. Like the internet, between virtual networks, between tenants, or even a virtual data center. It’s capable of guaranteeing the security of connections made between physical data centers and the cloud. This is very beneficial for organizations looking for a means of migrating current solutions from an on-prem location to a cloud based infrastructure.
5. Secure Access Parity
Cloud firewalls provide the same level of secure access as on-prem firewalls. This means advanced access policy, connection management, and filtering between clients and the cloud. This also extends to encrypted content.
6. Identity Protection
Cloud firewalls can integrate with access control providers and give users granular control over filtering tools.
7. Performance Management
Cloud firewalls provide tools for controlling performance, visibility, usage, configuration, and logging. All things normally associated with an on-prem solution.
Cloud Firewall Risks
Unfortunately, putting a firewall on a cloud means it is susceptible to outages. For instance, your FWaaS provider or server goes down, and you depend on it to check your company’s traffic for malicious agents, your entire business’ network can grind to a halt in an instant. That’s why it is so important to choose an excellent service. Or at least, have a backup plan when things go wrong.
Cloud Firewall Types
There are two types of cloud firewalls with the distinction being defined by what users need help securing. Both types exist as cloud based software that monitors all incoming and outgoing data packets. And also it filters this information against access policies with the goal of blocking and logging suspicious traffic.
1. SaaS Firewalls
SaaS firewalls are designed to secure an organization’s network and its users. Not unlike a traditional on-premises hardware or software firewall. The only difference is that it’s deployed off-site from the cloud. This type of firewall can be called:
- Software-as-a-service firewall (SaaS firewall)
- Security-as-a-service (SECaaS)
- Firewall-as-a-service (FWaaS)
2. Next Generation Firewalls
They are cloud-based services intended to deploy within a virtual data center. They protect an organization’s own servers in a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) or infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) model. The firewall application exists on a virtual server and secures incoming and outgoing traffic between cloud based applications.
How Cloud Firewall Sets Up a Perimeters
In the cybersecurity world, there is a security concept called the “perimeter.” The perimeter is the imaginary “digital wall” set up around your network to keep malicious agents at bay.
For example, let’s imagine you’re running a network for a small business. It contains ten computers, all of which connect to a central router that goes out to the internet.
To set up the network security properly, you need to give the firewall the right rules. You tell the router’s firewall to allow everyone within the office access to the router. Furthermore, you deny everyone from the outside entry into your network. In other words, it is like a castle. Everyone inside the walls is welcome, and everyone outside is kept out.
This layer of protection is what a perimeter is. The “wall” that you set up around your network. All the computers and servers that are on the office premises (known as “on-prem”) are known to be safe, and everything not on-prem is not safe.
How Cloud Firewall Help Businesses
Cloud-based firewalls mean businesses don’t have to depend on on-prem services and can instead shift their firewall wherever they like. They have a choice between two kinds of firewalls:
- The business can rent out a firewall located on a cloud. They can then set this up just like they would with an on-prem firewall, except this one is cloud-based. These are typically called Firewalls-as-a-Service (FWaaS), where a company can rent out a dedicated cloud-based firewall for their business.
- If the business is brave enough, they can rent out a server and set up their firewall. Businesses usually achieve this by renting out a server and installing security software on it. To do this, they use Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) to rent the space needed for the firewall.
In short, businesses have two choices. They can rent a cloud-based firewall, or they can make their own. This choice is like hiring a company to set up security cameras and monitor your home, versus setting up a CCTV system yourself.
Your eagerness to set up a firewall by yourself should dictate which one you choose. For example, if you don’t know your ports from your firewall rules, you are probably best off hiring a company with an already fully-functioning firewall.
On the other hand, you can’t stand the idea of your business’ firewall being someone else’s responsibility, definitely make your own.
Why Cloud Firewall Is Important
Cloud-based firewalls are an excellent option for anyone who needs adaptive protection. If you hire out a firewall or make your own, they can be a valuable asset as your network’s security perimeter gets larger and larger.
Enterprises have shifted away from running applications from on-prem servers – instead opting to use virtual machines and containers. This has led to rapid growth in endpoints, all of which need to be protected. This constant flux of endpoint exposure has necessitated a shift away from traditional network security solutions.