5 Key Features to Look for in an NGFW Security Solution

An NGFW is much more than hardware. Look for a full suite of security solutions and connected services to ensure your network has the comprehensive protection it needs.

NGFW security needs to inspect, decrypt, and analyze traffic with scale. They should also be able to integrate with modern networking topologies like SD-WAN.

Application Awareness

Application awareness refers to the ability of a system to identify what kind of traffic is passing through it, how it’s used, and its vulnerabilities. This allows the NGFW to refine security policies and control traffic based on applications rather than using traditional metrics like IP addresses or ports.

For example, a traditional firewall might block all web browsing traffic. Still, an NGFW with application awareness might allow access to certain content while blocking others if it recognizes malware in the data packet or other signs that the website is compromised. This can make it easier for IT to keep employees productive while preventing threats from entering the network.

NGFWs also typically incorporate intrusion prevention systems (IPS), which analyze incoming network packets and look for known threats. This feature, called deep packet inspection (DPI), is a major advantage of NGFWs over traditional firewalls. This capability can help organizations improve performance and meet compliance standards, such as PCI DSS requirements. However, DPI can increase the number of packets the NGFW must process and may require more resources or network bandwidth than traditional firewalls.


In addition to tracking packets at the application layer, NGFWs can recognize users and enforce identity-based policies. This capability is a key distinction between UTM solutions and the traditional firewalls they replace.

A good NGFW solution should incorporate an intrusion prevention system (IPS) as part of its deep packet inspection (DPI). IPS analyzes incoming traffic, looks for known attacks, and prevents them from entering the network.

Threat intelligence is another critical component of a good NGFW solution. Because malware strains and attack techniques constantly change, up-to-date threat intelligence helps an IPS keep its signatures effective. NGFWs that offer threat intelligence feeds allow administrators to eliminate or block threats automatically without needing a 3 a.m. call to a cybersecurity specialist.

Security leaders offer a full suite of network security tools to protect the modern enterprise network. Their NGFW offers strong cluster management capabilities and a robust SD-WAN integration to support dynamic environments, delivering high availability and scalability. For more information, visit their website and fill out a form to speak with a security expert about starting a free trial of Secure Firewall or requesting a quote.

Threat Intelligence

Modern malware is crafted to avoid signature-based detection schemes. NGFWs leverage threat intelligence to prevent these cyberattacks and mitigate their impact on businesses.

Unlike traditional firewalls operating at layers 3 and 4, NGFWs process traffic up to Layer 7 of the OSI model, inspecting each packet’s body instead of just its header. This gives them the visibility to detect and block application-level threats before they penetrate corporate environments and cause damage or data loss.

Gathering and analyzing threat information manually is time-consuming and can lead to security fatigue. Look for an NGFW solution that automatically filters and prioritizes threat intelligence for you, so your team can focus on other priorities.

This will alleviate the need to review countless alerts across threat intelligence sources such as news RSS feeds, social media, Telegram channels, and chat forums. It also enables organizations to quickly conclude and share relevant threat intelligence with stakeholders to make informed, enriched cybersecurity decisions. 


Firewall administrators are stretched thin as cybercriminals wreak havoc on networks. Expecting them to manually update threat signatures and detect new malware variants around the clock is a recipe for disaster.

NGFWs leverage global threat intelligence feeds and dynamic lists to eliminate manual detection tasks. This frees IT staff to focus on strategic security initiatives like improving employee productivity and customer experiences.

Modern malware is engineered to avoid signature-based detection schemes. NGFWs incorporate advanced malware detection capabilities that use sandbox analysis to examine files and determine their behavior.

Traditional firewalls only inspect traffic up to Layer-4 of the OSI model, but NGFWs provide a deeper inspection to track Layers 2-7 of the network stack. This allows NGFWs to identify which applications are used on the network and apply security policies accordingly. The right NGFW also offers SSL inspection capability, which is critical for today’s web-based applications. This allows the NGFW to look into encrypted web traffic and protect against malicious activity typically masked by SSL encryption. The best NGFWs also offer integration with Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) tools from top vendors such as Splunk and ArcSight.


An NGFW that isn’t scalable won’t be able to adapt quickly to changing workloads and user demands. This requires hardware and software that can easily add or remove resources as necessary.

Scalability also means that the system can accommodate changes in security needs without having to refactor or rearchitect. This flexibility is critical for growing enterprises and avoiding unnecessary costs and complexity.

As a result, an NGFW that combines identity awareness with multi-functionality and threat intelligence capabilities is well-suited for today’s cyber threat landscape. These firewalls can perform stateful inspection, network and port address translation, URL filtering, VPN support, quality of service (quality of service) management, and other functionality to protect against attacks at Layers 4-7 of the OSI network stack. Moreover, they are capable of thwarting sophisticated threats like malware. This is thanks to their integration with threat intelligence services and the ability to capture unknown and suspicious files for further examination in a secure sandbox environment. As a result, these firewalls can better detect and block advanced persistent threats (APTs) beyond traditional firewalls’ detection capabilities.


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