Table of Contents
What are Cloud Firewalls?
Cloud firewalls are 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.
Cloud Firewall Benefits
- Scalability: 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.
- Availability: 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.
- Extensibility: 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.
- Migration Security: A cloud firewall is capable of filtering traffic from a variety of sources; 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.
- 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.
- Identity Protection: Cloud firewalls can integrate with access control providers and give users granular control over filtering tools.
- 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 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 filters this information against access policies with the goal of blocking and logging suspicious traffic.
- 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)
- Next Generation Firewalls 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.
Cloud Firewall Risks
One potential downside of any cloud based service (especially in regards to cloud firewalls) is that users have to rely on the availability of their FaaS provider. Any level of downtime for a cloud firewall service provider can open up multiple organizations to security breaches, with no immediate safety available. Because of this, many service providers maintain security teams in charge of responding to major issues.