Cybersecurity has changed dramatically since the dawn of firewalls in the 1980s. But despite all the upheaval and innovation, they have stood the test of time. The basic concept of allowing “good” traffic to flow and blocking the bad stuff remains essential. Of course, it looks much different now than in the era of Care Bears and Cabbage Patch Kids.
Today’s workers, data, and applications are everywhere, and firewalls must be as well. There’s no longer just one finite space to defend. With the recent explosion of hybrid work and the rapid transition to multi-cloud environments, it’s imperative that firewalls evolve alongside a business — and be ready for whatever’s next.
So, can your firewall grow with you? Or is it stuck in the age of Hair Bands and He-Man?
The past few years have brought about a keen focus on resilience — remaining strong, yet adaptable in the face of unexpected and even unfathomable challenges. But an organization cannot persevere without security being at the forefront of any resilience strategy.
96% of executives consider security resilience highly important to their business.
– Cisco Security Outcomes Report
Firewalls are a critical foundation for building powerful, resilient security infrastructure. Yet contemporary firewalls have to be and do more than one thing. Cisco Secure Firewall delivers world-class security controls wherever you need them, with unified visibility and consistent policy management and enforcement.
As a worldwide leader in networking and security, Cisco is better positioned than any other vendor to incorporate effective firewall controls into your infrastructure — anywhere your data and applications reside. According to a study conducted on behalf of Cisco by Forrester Research, Cisco Secure Firewall customers can:
Cisco Secure Firewall delivers on several key aspects necessary for security resilience: visibility, flexibility, intelligence, integration, and unified controls. Together, they enable organizations to close gaps, see and detect threats faster, and adapt quickly to change.
Watch video: Cisco Secure Firewall Overview
With most of today’s internet traffic being encrypted, security measures can become obsolete without the ability to see into all traffic, encrypted or not. While decryption is commonplace, it is simply not feasible in many cases, and can have serious impacts on network performance. With its Encrypted Visibility Engine, Cisco Secure Firewall leverages deep packet inspection (DPI) to identify potentially malicious applications in encrypted traffic without offloading to another appliance and degrading performance.
Due to a highly distributed network and workforce, as well as constantly maturing attacks, the ability to see into every corner of your ecosystem is crucial. Cisco Secure Firewall blends multiple technologies to detect and block more threats in more places. By combining traditional firewall capabilities with URL filtering, application visibility and control, malware defense, and Snort 3 intrusion prevention, organizations gain robust protection against even the most sophisticated threats.
Cisco offers a wide variety of firewalls for defending the different areas of your network — including physical, virtual, and cloud-native — as well as cloud-delivered. We can secure businesses and offices of all types and sizes, from the data center to the cloud.
Cisco Secure also provides flexible firewall management options, enabling you to deploy and operate your security architecture in a way that is tailored to the unique requirements of your NetOps, SecOps, and DevOps teams. No matter which firewall models you choose or environments you operate in (physical or virtual), you can use a single, simplified application to manage all your firewalls from one place.
The threat landscape changes every day, and our defenses must change with it. Cisco Talos is one of the largest and most trusted threat intelligence groups in the world. Its in-depth insight into global threats, and advanced research and analysis, enable us to quickly incorporate protections for new threats into our products via hourly updates. That way, Cisco customers are continuously safeguarded from both known and unknown threats.
“When the Log4j vulnerability was discovered, we were protected before we even completed our patching,” said Paul Smith, network administrator at Marian University. “As a result of automated hourly updates from Talos, Cisco Secure Firewall had an early detection signature, so it was already blocking the concerning traffic from infiltrating our network.”
Another differentiator for Cisco Secure Firewall is that it’s part of an integrated security ecosystem. With Cisco SecureX, organizations can correlate data from multiple technologies and unleash XDR capabilities for a centralized, automated response to threats.
“At the end of the day, it’s about protecting the data, and we do that with the integration of [Cisco] Secure Endpoint, Umbrella, and Secure Firewall, which combine to protect the networks, endpoints, workstations, and servers — and all of this can be correlated easily within SecureX.”
– Elliott Bujan, IT Security Manager, Marine Credit Union
The new Cloud-delivered Firewall Management Center leverages the cloud to facilitate agile, simplified operations for a distributed, hybrid network. It provides efficiency at scale by allowing security teams to swiftly deploy and update policies across their environment with just a few clicks, as well as take coordinated actions to prioritize, investigate, and remediate threats within a single pane of glass. And with a cloud-delivered management center, Cisco regularly updates its software behind the scenes, which reduces risk, maintains compliance, and gives your team more time to focus on other priorities.
Additionally, Cisco Secure Firewall dynamically shares policies driven by intelligence from Cisco Secure Workload, which uses microsegmentation to prevent lateral movement of attackers throughout a network. This allows security policies to be harmonized across both the network and application environments, boosting efficacy and fostering collaboration between teams.
These are just some examples of what makes up a comprehensive, modernized firewall. But Cisco is not stopping there. We continue to innovate to meet evolving business needs. For example, the new enterprise-class 3100 Series firewalls are specially designed for hybrid work, supporting more end users with high-performance remote access for increased organizational flexibility.
Additionally, Cisco Secure Firewall serves as a key component of advanced security strategies including XDR, SASE, and zero trust, helping businesses keep pace with accelerating digital transformation. According to Cisco’s most recent Security Outcomes Report, organizations with mature XDR, SASE, and zero trust implementations all boast significantly higher levels of security resilience.
Fuel and energy retailer, Ampol, uses a variety of Cisco technologies, including Secure Firewall, to segment and safeguard its network. “Cisco was an integral part of our success during COVID-19 as we were able to serve customers without interruption in stores,” said Amir Yassa, senior project specialist at Ampol. “Deploying our retail resilience project, mostly comprised of Cisco products, enabled us to reduce our IT-related incidents by 90%, thus enabling us to serve our customers better now and into the future.”
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