While the need for network firewalls might be higher than ever, physical firewalls are a rigid, fixed resource that is difficult to adapt for the ever-changing landscape of cyber security. Maybe more worrying though, the rate at which bandwidth demand, traffic mix and SSL/TLS adoption are growing, means that a physical firewall installed today would fail to offer acceptable traffic inspection capacity well before the average three-year upgrade cycle. This leaves many enterprises exposed but they can join network security leaders who are adopting a network firewall strategy, which is more scalable and affordable.
Virtualizing your on-premise network firewalls allows you to enjoy the same features as physical firewalls, but with added flexibility, meaning you don’t need a crystal ball to foresee your future security needs. This is the approach that data centers adopted when the physical alternative became clunky and untenable. And now, the vanguard of network security leaders are adopting the same model for inbound/outbound traffic at the network gateway by virtualizing their on-premise network firewalls.
In this whitepaper we will discuss why network security leaders are opting to virtualize the network firewall, the scale and economic benefits to be gained, and how turnkey automation is the secret ingredient to making this a viable network firewall virtualization solution.
Why Network Security Leaders are Virtualizing
All the reports agree: the trend is for virtualization in the security market, as it has been in computing. According to Statista, the virtualization software market globally in 2020 was approximately 15 billion U.S. dollars and is expected to grow by at least 10 billion U.S. dollars over the next few years.1 Similarly, Future Market Insights forecasts that the global data virtualization cloud market will expand at an astounding CAGR of 25% and surpass a valuation of US$ 5.6 billion by 2030, as the IT market adopts cloud-based operations.
When it comes to network security technology, Gartner’s 2020 Magic Quadrant for Network Firewalls report forecasts a massive uptick in firewall virtualization, predicting that Firewall as a Service (FWaaS) will represent 30% of new distributed branch office firewall deployments by 2025, up from less than 5% in 2020. This conclusion is supported by a recently published report from Dell’Oro Group, the trusted source for market information about the telecommunications, networks, and data center IT industries, that found virtual firewall revenue accelerated 34 percent year-over-year in Q4 2020, which is significantly more than the 8% year-overyear revenue growth for physical firewall appliances.
Benefits of Network Firewall Virtualization
It is becoming clear that virtual firewalls promise the scale to be able to dynamically address ever-changing network security needs. On top of that, firewall virtualization for private network firewalls delivers numerous other advantages compared to the traditional model of physical firewalls, making it an attractive alternative.
- Scalability: a software-defined model allows users to increase inspection capacity depending on daily requirements. Security professionals no longer have to rely on accurate predictions of future use.
- Agility: again, thanks to the cloud-based approach, there is the ability to dynamically add capacity at the push of a button. Not only is it quick, it’s easy. • Reduced OPEX: there isn’t the initial outlay on new hardware, instead the model is subscription based. Expenses move from CAPEX to OPEX and you only pay for what you need at any given time.
- Zero-touch operations: virtualization enables centralized management with an intuitive UI. One virtualized infrastructure manager can orchestrate policy management and other administrative functions across the whole network. What’s more, enterprises no longer have to worry whether they have the scarce DevOps expertise in-house to set up and manage a new firewall. It’s quick and easy to train staff.
- Future services: when built on a secure access secure edge (SASE) framework, you can start with virtual network firewalls today and add other security services in the future. Capabilities like: application awareness and control; intrusion detection and prevention; advanced malware detection; URL filtering; and logging and reporting.
Additional benefits realized by using virtual firewalls with a turnkey platform that automates firewall virtualization are outlined in the table below as they compare to the hardware-based firewalls. Simply put, with network firewall virtualization, enterprises can increase inspection capacity and threat protection in their private network, while enjoying flexible deployment and operation.
Virtualizing your on-premise network firewalls allows you to enjoy the same features as physical firewalls, but with added flexibility, meaning you don’t need a crystal ball to foresee your future security needs. This is the approach that data centers adopted when the physical alternative became clunky and untenable. And now, the vanguard of network security leaders are adopting the same model for inbound/outbound traffic at the network gateway by virtualizing their on‑premise network firewalls.
This whitepaper highlights:
- Why network security leaders are opting to virtualize the network firewall
- What are the scale and economic benefits to be gained
- How turnkey automation is the secret ingredient for firewall virtualization.