Networking Investigate

Getting the Most Out of Your Next-Generation Firewall

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Executive Summary

Network administrators are encountering the highest levels of change in history as they attempt to balance security with productivity. Rapidly evolving business trends are challenging them to provide widespread but safe Internet access, allowing employees to use legitimate business applications while using their device of choice.

Applications have evolved to be highly dynamic and multifaceted, blurring the line between legitimate business applications and those that waste time and increase a company’s exposure to Internet-based threats. In the past, acceptable usage was relatively clear-cut, but social media, file sharing, and Internet communications applications have evolved to serve just as many business use cases as strictly personal ones; these applications are now widely used throughout all levels of an organization. Further complicating the situation, today’s workforce is becoming increasingly mobile, with users requiring anywhere, anytime access to the network from a variety of company-owned and personal mobile devices. This has prompted businesses of all sizes and types to embrace "bring your own device" (BYOD) policies to increase employee productivity and satisfaction.

Due to these and other business trends, network administrators face a mounting challenge: to enforce the acceptable usage policies required to protect the network while enabling the flexibility to achieve and maintain the level of productivity required to promote business growth. A new approach to security is required—without abandoning time-tested methods—to enhance network visibility and control, accelerate business innovation, and proactively protect against new and emerging threats. Rather than abandon their existing stateful inspection firewalls, however, administrators need to supplement this proven security device with additional network-based security controls - for end-to-end network intelligence and streamlined security operations.

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