Firewalls from five years ago are no longer enough to protect your networks. Traditional firewalls block connections into (ingress) and out (egress) of your network based on the rules that you apply to it. In a traditional sense, you would apply a rule to the access control list (ACL) and it would allow or block based on your rule. These rules could be based on ports, protocols and IPs. What they don’t block are the malware that is targeting your network.
An attacker can easily penetrate your network by simply sending an email to someone inside of your company. In order to block malware, phishing and other attacks, you need a device that performs deep packet inspection and uses a signature or heuristics to validate whether or not the traffic could be malicious.
Older firewalls don’t have the technology or the processing power to mitigate these attacks. The new approach that has become more mainstream is the idea of a unified threat firewall (or unified threat manager), which has multiple technologies bundled into one platform. A firewall with a virus scanner and signature based intrusion prevention system all bundled into one appliance. These appliances may also come bundled with connectivity into cloud services that are constantly updating signatures based on the latest emerging threats. Some vendors are also now using artificial intelligence in order to future proof their products.
In summary, businesses can no longer depend on older firewalls that only block the most basic attacks. Upgrading to a unified threat firewall can help protect your business networks from malware and attacks that traditional firewalls may miss.