18 April 2024
octobits-managed-firewall-services

Managed Firewall Services (Image by OCTOBITS)

So, what’s the deal with managed firewalls, and why should you care? Simply put, a managed firewall is overseen by a dedicated team of experts who ensure your network remains safe.

You can get a dedicated team of managed firewalls in a managed service provider (MSP) company.

As a third party, a managed provider’s main advantage is handling all the heavy lifting of setting up your firewall, keeping it updated, and squashing threats before they become problematic.

This frees you up to focus on other crucial IT stuff. Plus, managed firewalls are seriously good at protecting your company’s data. It’s like having a secure digital fortress guarding all your essential information.

Ready to see how this solution can level up your network security? Let’s get started!

What are The 3 Types of Firewalls?

Before we get into the perks of having someone else manage your firewall, let’s break down the three main types you’ll encounter. 

These three main types below dominate the global market. According to TrustRadius elaboration, the market size of managed firewalls was valued at $3.364 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach $5.14 billion by 2026.

Before we get into the perks of having someone else manage your firewall, let’s break down the three main types you’ll encounter.

Type 1: Packet Filtering Firewalls

Consider that packet filtering firewalls, despite their simplicity, remain widely deployed across various industries.

The packet filtering firewalls are the most basic form but are not simplistic in their importance.

These workhorses inspect data packets entering or leaving your network, making decisions based on predefined rules.

Think of it like a club bouncer checking IDs against a guest list. If the packet’s source, destination, or type doesn’t align with the established rules, it’s not getting in.

Understanding packet filters means recognizing their role as the frontline defenders of your network. They’re quick, efficient, and straightforward, but with limitations.

They can’t inspect the payload of a packet, so while they’re great at enforcing basic access policies, they might miss more sophisticated threats designed to sneak past surface-level scrutiny.

Type 2: Stateful Inspection Firewalls

The stateful inspection firewalls are a step up in complexity and capability.

Unlike their packet-filtering predecessors, these firewalls keep track of the state of active connections and make decisions based on the context of the traffic, not just individual packets in isolation.

For you, this means a more nuanced defense mechanism. Stateful firewalls understand and remember the connections flowing through them.

The firewall could detect and block suspicious activity appearing benign if viewed per packet.

They offer a deeper level of inspection, examining both the headers and the payloads of packets, thus providing a more thorough check against potential threats.

However, this setup still has a bottleneck; advanced attacks could fool the firewall and slow down your network traffic slightly.

Type 3: Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW)

Next-generation firewalls (NGFW) are the most advanced type. NGFW integrates traditional firewall technology with features like encrypted traffic inspection, intrusion prevention systems, and application awareness.

For you, embracing NGFW means harnessing a multifaceted approach to network security. These firewalls go beyond packet inspection to understand the applications generating traffic, allowing for more sophisticated filtering policies.

They can identify and block specific applications, detect and prevent intrusions, and even offer ways to inspect encrypted traffic.

octobits-managed-firewall-services-description
Managed firewall services description (Image by OCTOBITS)

What is The Difference Between a Managed and Unmanaged Firewall?

We’ve talked about the types of firewalls, but there’s another big question; do you manage the whole thing yourself or hand the keys over to a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP)? Let’s break down the pros and cons.

A managed firewall service is operated by a third-party provider, ensuring 24/7 management and monitoring of your network security.

This service includes setting up, updating, and managing firewall configurations and providing regular security reports.

It’s particularly beneficial for businesses without in-house IT security expertise, as it offloads the responsibility and ensures expert network security management.

As your business grows and your network gets more complex, a managed firewall can scale with you more easily.

Managed services can be more cost-effective in the long run, despite seeming more expensive upfront, as they can prevent costly breaches and minimize downtime.

In other words, you’ll need to budget monthly or annual fees, and there’s always some level of trust given to an external provider.

Conversely, unmanaged firewalls require your IT team to handle all aspects of firewall management, including configuration, monitoring, and updates.

This option provides more control over your network security. It can be more budget-friendly, especially if you already have skilled IT personnel.

However, it demands a significant time investment and a deep understanding of network security to protect your network effectively.

In a more realistic word, unmanaged firewalls are a huge time drain. Network security is a full-time job in itself. Plus, any mistakes could leave your network vulnerable.

Your choice should consider factors like your internal resources, budget, and desired control level over your network security.

Managed firewalls offer ease and expertise, freeing you to focus on core business activities. Another consideration is that you could get various services besides a managed firewall with MSP. 

On the flip side, unmanaged firewalls provide greater control and potentially lower costs but require significant internal expertise and resources.

Do You Need a Managed Firewall? 

Now, we know managed firewalls offer serious benefits, but is it the right move for your business? 

Let’s look at some key reasons why handing over this responsibility might be a major win.

First thing first, cybercriminals are getting sneakier every day. Managed providers have teams dedicated to staying ahead of the latest attack methods. Can your team realistically do the same?

Managed firewall services provide continuous oversight, ensuring your network is monitored around the clock.

Then, think about how to comply with various regulations. This is a big issue with a complex and demanding focus.

Another consideration is how costly implementing and maintaining a robust IT security infrastructure, especially for smaller businesses. A managed firewall service can be a more economical option. 

And remember, you can get various types of managed services in tandem with managed firewall services. Interestingly, these services are holistic and can be tailored to your business needs.

By offloading firewall management to specialists, your team can focus, leading to better resource allocation and improved business outcomes​​.

So, if your business handles sensitive data or lacks in-house IT security expertise, a managed firewall service, such as AWS Firewall Manager, can provide comprehensive protection.

Conclusion

Let’s face it; we’re all juggling enough tasks. Offloading the complex, time-consuming task of managing network security to experts not only makes sense—it’s a smart business decision.

It lets you focus on what you do best, driving your business forward while leaving the critical but highly technical network security task to the experts.

Now, the question isn’t really if you need a managed firewall but how quickly you can integrate one into your IT environment.

With the ability to adapt to new threats, coupled with their 24/7 monitoring and expert management, managed firewalls offer a level of security and peace of mind that’s hard to beat.