In an increasingly digital world, enterprise networks are expanding virtually beyond the traditional boundaries of LANs and specific devices.
Network perimeters are no longer clearly defined. More and more employees are accessing networks and resources from their own mobile devices.
Cloud adoption has changed the equation for cyber security and network firewalls in particular.
Distributed workforces are using more cloud applications, and global enterprises are adopting SaaS platforms that store and manage data hosted on third-party infrastructure. Traditional appliance-based firewalls are no longer sufficient to provide adequate security capabilities in this evolving landscape.
Backhauling traffic to data center firewalls introduces latency and degrades the user experience. but allowing direct access to the cloud can expose users to security risks.
Firewall as a Service (FWaaS) is a compelling solution for modern network security requirements.
In this article, we discuss how GTT’s FWaaS fills in security gaps left by new cloud computing deployments and ever-expanding corporate networks.
What is Firewall as a Service (FWaaS)?
Firewall as a Service, or FWaaS, is a cloud-based network security solution that offers firewall functionality without deploying and managing hardware firewall appliances on-premises.
According to Gartner, Firewall as a Service (FWaaS) represents a cloud-based or hybrid solution that provides simpler and more flexible architecture with centralized policy management to move security inspections to a cloud infrastructure.
FWaaS particularly benefits organizations with distributed networks, remote offices, mobile users or cloud-based infrastructure. It provides a scalable, easily manageable and adaptable solution for the evolving needs of modern networks while offering enhanced security and protection against cyber attacks.
With FWaaS, there is a heightened level of control and threat protection using URL filtering, advanced threat intelligence, intrusion prevention systems (IPS) and rock-solid DNS security.
It elevates your organization’s security posture with the configuration and monitoring of firewall rules, policies and security settings, fortifying your organization’s information into a virtual fortress.
GTT offers fully managed or co-managed next-generation firewall (NGFW) capabilities as a cloud-based service.
How Does FWaaS Work?
FWaaS offers cloud-based firewall protection for any user accessing the organization’s network from any device—whether they access the network or resources from their office, client premises, offsite locations, branch offices or even while working from home.
Its advanced threat detection capabilities identify malware, intrusions, unauthorized access attempts, DDoS attacks or other suspicious activities.
Here’s a quick-and-easy summary of how FWaaS works:
- Organizations typically connect to the FWaaS platform through secure VPN tunnels or dedicated connections.
- Traffic flowing in and out of the organization’s network passes through the FWaaS platform. This can include traffic from on-premises resources, remote offices, mobile devices or cloud services.
- The FWaaS platform examines the incoming and outgoing network traffic. It analyzes application-level protocols and performs deep packet inspection to identify potential threats and anomalies.
- Most leading FWaaS platforms offer a centralized management interface which allows organizations to define security policies that determine which traffic is allowed or blocked based on parameters such as IP addresses, ports, protocols and application-level attributes.
- Machine learning algorithms and real-time updates make FWaaS much more effective at identifying cyber threats as compared to traditional appliance-based firewalls.
- Detailed logs and reports provide visibility into the network, troubleshoot issues and fulfill compliance requirements.
GTT’s FWaaS provides a holistic and agile approach to network security. We simplify application management and give you unprecedented control over your corporate network—no physical appliances or on-premises firewalls necessary.
What Are the Key Features of FWaaS?
As you search for an FWaaS solution, consider the following features that can boost your business:
- Cloud-native architecture: FwaaS is a service-based approach to network security. Third-party providers deliver FWaaS capabilities through the cloud, eliminating the need for on-premises hardware appliances for security.
- Edge-based security: FWaaS is designed to be deployed close to the endpoints or users, typically at the network perimeter. This proximity enables the firewall to inspect and control traffic at the edge, ensuring network communications are secure from the point of entry.
- Centralized, single-pane-of-glass: FWaaS features a unified console or dashboard. Administrators can configure and manage firewall policies, security rules and network settings from a single interface. This centralized approach simplifies management, improves visibility, and enforces consistent security policy across the entire network.
- Traffic inspection and filtering: FWaaS examines network traffic to identify and mitigate potential security threats. It applies traditional firewall techniques, including packet inspection, stateful inspection and access control policies, to analyze traffic patterns, identify malicious activities and enforce security policies. It ensures that only authorized and secure traffic is allowed into the network.
- SASE integrations: FWaaS delivered as part of a SASE platform seamlessly integrates with other security and networking services such as intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDPS), virtual private network (VPN) gateways, zero-trust network access (ZTNA) web filtering and malware protection.
FWaaS provides a comprehensive security architecture as a part of a larger SASE platform.
Learn more about GTT’s Secure Connect—a secure access service edge (SASE) platform that is the ideal security and networking framework for the modern enterprise.
The Benefits of Implementing FWaaS
Implementing Firewall-as-a-Service (FWaaS) offers several advantages for organizations looking to enhance network security.
Here are some of the topmost benefits of implementing FWaaS:
- Single unified solution: FWaaS combines multiple services such as antivirus, anti-malware and firewall capabilities on a single platform. Administrators can easily manage firewall policies, security settings and network access rules from a single pane. This simplifies the security management process, improves network visibility and eliminates the need to manage separate security solutions.
- Scale on demand: FWaaS is highly scalable and can accommodate changing network requirements and increased traffic volumes. With FWaaS you can scale firewall services up or down based on your organization’s needs without hardware upgrades or appliance reconfigurations.
- Deploy rapidly: FWaaS can be rapidly deployed compared to traditional firewall solutions. The cloud-based nature of FWaaS eliminates the need for physical hardware installation, resulting in faster deployment times and reduced time-to-value for organizations.
- Layer 7 protection: FWaaS provides Layer 7 protection, which analyzes network traffic at the application layer. Traditional firewalls focus on source and destination IP addresses or port numbers, limiting visibility and control. Layer 7 protection goes beyond simple packet-level inspection. It focuses on analyzing and filtering network traffic based on the content and context of the application data.
- Minimize downtime and improve service continuity: FWaaS providers use multiple data centers. If one data center experiences downtime, traffic is automatically redirected to other locations, ensuring uninterrupted network access. This provides redundancy, minimizes downtime and improves service continuity.
- Reduce costs: FWaaS has a service-based approach and subscription-based pricing that eliminates upfront costs, such as procurement, maintenance and upgrades of physical firewall appliances. You only pay for the services you use.
- Get expertise and support: FWaaS is managed and maintained by experienced cloud security service providers. So you benefit from their knowledge in managing firewall infrastructure. Providers also have access to the latest updates and patches. A service provider leaves your internal IT teams free to focus on other strategic business-focused tasks.
- Meet compliance and regulatory requirements: FWaaS helps you comply with industry regulations by implementing robust security measures that demonstrate your commitment to data protection and regulatory compliance, such as GDPR, HIPAA or PCI DSS.
These benefits make FWaaS an attractive option to strengthen your network security posture and protect valuable data.
Simplify Your Firewall Protection with GTT
GTT offers a scalable and highly elastic FWaaS solution that scales your network security stack cost-effectively without needing incremental capital or time-consuming deployment as it grows.
Our FWaaS protects all your data and applications for optimal performance without backhauling traffic. So you no longer need separate firewall appliances and duplicate architectures to secure your expanding network.
Connect your entire organization to a unified security policy, aggregate all your traffic to the cloud and enjoy complete visibility into your network with GTT Firewall as a Service.