Are Firewalls Still Relevant in 2024?

Are Firewalls Still Relevant in 2024?

Ask any member of the general public to name a form of cybersecurity defense and they’ll probably respond with a firewall. As one the oldest forms of cybersecurity defense strategy, dating back to the 1980s, most people have come across this concept continually throughout their lives. But, just because we hear something doesn’t mean we fully understand what it does.

Currently, the enterprise firewall market is valued at around $10 billion, representing a sizeable financial portion of the overall cybersecurity market. This figure has grown over recent years, especially following the mass movement to the cloud and the rise in cyber attack events across the globe. With more critical events occurring in 2023 than in any previous years, businesses are seeking out more defenses from cyber threats than ever before.

Types of Firewalls

When companies talk about firewalls, they are talking about an umbrella term that discusses several technologies and functions. At the core of these technologies is the main purpose to prevent unauthorized access and protect any critical data from malicious parties. 

Depending on the specific firewall you are using, whether it is hardware or software or even built for a particular platform’s defenses, the purpose of a firewall will vary. Here are some examples of firewalls that businesses are more likely to come across:

  • Proxy Firewalls – These firewalls are located between end-users and the internet web pages that they’re trying to access. This form of firewall receives user requests and then fetches data, determining if the connection is trustworthy before connecting the end-user to these resources.
  • Next-Generation Firewalls – NGFWs are a fairly recent form of firewall deployment that tends to go beyond what firewalls typically offer. Instead of just acting as a barrier that monitors and prevents unwanted access, they can also integrate with other cybersecurity features to create a more comprehensive defense system. For example, they could include intrusion prevention systems that help to advance their overall ability to detect and respond to threats. 
  • Inspection Firewalls – Inspection firewalls are the classic form of firewall that most people associate with this term. This form of firewall will analyze the context of traffic that is inbound to a page, determine its motivations, and decide whether or not to permit the connection to land. Early firewalls have developed over time to offer a comprehensive level of threat monitoring and detection.

While not an exhaustive list, these three core firewall deployments demonstrate just how diverse these technological tools can be. Instead of just having one function, they can adapt to specific use cases and provide a comprehensive level of defense. 

The Benefits of Firewalls

No matter what form of firewall you engage with, there will be a range of benefits your company can begin to reap. Especially when used in tandem with other technologies, firewalls can contribute to a highly effective security system that helps to keep your company as protected as possible.

Here are some of the leading benefits that firewalls can offer to a company:

  • Manage Access – Access is one of the most important parts of keeping private data safe. Instead of allowing absolutely anyone to access and view your pages, firewalls will help to monitor connections and ensure only authorized parties access your sensitive information.
  • Effective Compliance – Firewalls have been around for decades, making them a prominent feature in the vast majority of cybersecurity regulatory compliance standards. Using firewalls isn’t just good practice, it’s typically a requirement for any public-facing company. 
  • Stop Spyware – A company’s data is its most valuable resource, making it a target for malicious actors around the world. By using a firewall, your business will be able to reduce the ability for malicious files, like malware and spyware, to enter your system.

Firewalls will help to improve your security posture and keep your business safe from many forms of attack vectors.  

Are Firewalls Still Relevant in 2024?

In short, absolutely. Although firewalls are a legacy form of cyber defense, they are still a vital part of modern strategy. Instead of ignoring them because they are an older technology, businesses should instead focus on finding unique ways of using them to increase their company’s overall security posture.

That said, the most important thing to take away from this article is that firewalls are rarely used in isolation. Next-generation firewalls are becoming increasingly popular because they include a range of other tools and defense technologies. 

Instead of companies putting their eggs in one basket, businesses should seek to use firewalls as just one small part of an overall cybersecurity plan. By using a range of different tools, systems, and platforms, businesses can create a comprehensive level of defense that holds the mounting threat at bay.

Final Thoughts

As we progress further into this era riddled with cybersecurity incidents, businesses will need to raise the security skill level of all their employees to keep up with the rate of change. Instead of having one singular cybersecurity department that oversees everything, every single employee will need a comprehensive understanding of how to keep a company safe. 

To provide this education, business leaders need to understand the core concepts that hold up the cybersecurity industry. Learning about firewalls and how they help businesses is a vital step in this journey, as they represent one of the earliest technologies that are still widely used in this world.

By preparing for inevitable attacks that come to a business ahead of time, companies will be able to better defend their resources and avoid becoming another number added to the pile of breached businesses in 2024.

What do you think?

Written by medhaavi

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