Many of the most recently-released firewall products are being touted as “next-generation” architectures. However, there is not as much consensus on what makes a firewall truly next-gen.
Some common features of next-generation firewall architectures include deep-packet inspection (checking the actual contents of the data packet), TCP handshake checks, and surface-level packet inspection. Next-generation firewalls may include other technologies as well, such as intrusion prevention systems (IPSs) that work to automatically stop attacks against your network.
The issue is that there is no one definition of a next-generation firewall, so it’s important to verify what specific capabilities such firewalls have before investing in one.
Software firewalls include any type of firewall that is installed on a local device rather than a separate piece of hardware (or a cloud server). The big benefit of a software firewall is that it's highly useful for creating defense in depth by isolating individual network endpoints from one another.
However, maintaining individual software firewalls on different devices can be difficult and time-consuming. Furthermore, not every device on a network may be compatible with a single software firewall, which may mean having to use several different software firewalls to cover every asset.
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