Nowadays, enterprises need more control over the data traffic in their own network. A next-generation firewall is absolutely essential if companies are to successfully defend themselves against aggressive threats and profit from administrative advantages. Enterprises such as Juniper Networks provide the required technology.

Modern challenges

Dangerous malware but also direct access by third parties as a result of attacks from the outside can have a massive negative impact on an enterprise’s assets. Companies need to defend themselves against such scenarios while simultaneously improving their utilisation of the available bandwidth. Analytic functions help to capture bandwidth needs and to regulate them better when required. In the long term, this leads to improved efficiency of the network architecture while also boosting security against attacks from outside.

Future viability is a further key aspect: the continuing growth in the use of mobile devices is leading to a situation in large enterprises where hundreds or even thousands of different devices and applications are running in the network at the same time. This makes it more difficult for administrators to control which applications are permitted as well as when and where they may run. However, effective defence against threats is not possible without control. Hardware from large network equipment providers such as Juniper Networks aims to make such control available.

Better security with less complexity

Administrators often take the path of least resistance: instead of a single firewall, additional security measures are implemented, which leads to numerous security layers within the network. As a rule this method is effective but not efficient. Additional layers make administration more difficult, increase network complexity and ultimately reduce the performance available to staff. There is also a question mark against interoperability, which can seldom be guaranteed in its full scope when numerous different mechanisms are being used.

One solution is a next-generation firewall, in which various systems are responsible for delivering better protection while reducing the complexity of the overall system. Protection is efficiently enhanced by a complete packet inspection in connection with the enforcement of security policies on an application and user basis. Content in the network can be inspected individually for each data packet so that the whole environment is protected against threats. The integrated allocation of available network bandwidth also leads to improved utilisation of the entire network.

Appropriate consideration of apps

Threats within applications are a difficult problem in enterprises that allow employees to use mobile devices in the company network. Systems like AppSecure from Juniper Networks provide a solution to this problem: this part of the firewall classifies the data flow and examines all applications in the network without further consideration of ports or protocols. This enables exact identification and classification of the apps and also works with unknown applications that mask their identity with advanced techniques.

Such technologies ultimately result in stronger protection against threats originating directly from applications. They also save time due to the above-mentioned management of user and app policies. Moreover, an intrusion prevention system enables the creation of user-defined signatures so that network-based vulnerabilities do not represent an open door for attackers – even in the event of complex exploits. A next-generation firewall is therefore a complete suite against threats in enterprises.

Substitute for complex systems

Besides the systems mentioned above, Juniper Networks also uses mechanisms such as Unified Threat Management. This includes classical defensive measures against typical malware in the form of viruses, Trojans and worms. To defend against damage, the software also detects phishing attempts as well as potentially highly dangerous crypto-Trojans at an early stage. This means that separate antivirus solutions, which enterprises currently use behind the actual firewalls, will become superfluous.

A high level of scalability is a further key aspect of the technology. The central administration of all systems makes life considerably easier for administrators in both large and small enterprises. Applications such as Security Director enable the local adaptation of control and breadth of policies on a granular basis in the entire network. Administration is then as precise or as general as the local administrator wishes.

The reduction of operational complexity is therefore accompanied by enhanced control and protection. In the end, there are benefits for enterprises seeking strong protection of their intellectual property and other assets.