Since we introduced Barracuda NextGen Firewall – Intronis MSP Edition earlier this summer I’ve talked with a number of MSPs that have asked about the difference between a next-generation firewall (NGFW) like ours and other more traditional unified threat management (UTM) products they’re seeing on the market.
To me, the answer is clear. Next-generation firewalls got their name for a reason. They offer the next generation of protection for your end users’ environments. Let me highlight a couple of the most important differences between NGFWs and UTMs.
Application control and identity awareness are the two key pieces of functionality that set next-generation firewalls apart. These capabilities take NGFWs beyond the basic anti-virus scanning and security protocols offered by UTMs and let you know what users are accessing which applications, knowledge that is particularly critical for customers using SaaS applications. A next-gen firewall gives you the granular control to limit remote access to certain apps to specific users or groups and to block other apps completely, letting you take an intelligent approach to security.
NGFWs also include advanced threat protection, which helps you protect customers from ransomware attacks like Cryptolocker and other sophisticated malware. With advanced threat protection, you can avoid network breaches and identify zero-day exploits, targeted attacks, and advanced persistent threats that regularly bypasses traditional signature-based IPS and antivirus engines before they affect your customers’ networks.
UTMs on the other hand are more of a jack-of-all-trades, master of none. They bring together a variety of security functions into an all-in-one appliance, but not all of that functionality is good. And it doesn’t necessarily all work well together.
UTMs are modular by nature, which makes managing them clunky. Things like email security and web filtering are in separate modules, and making a change in one of them can cause problems in the others. This also complicates things like troubleshooting and reporting. When something goes wrong with a UTM, you have to figure out which module is causing the problem before you can dig in and start resolving the issue. Plus, pulling together a report on the different modules in a UTM can be time-consuming to say the least.
In comparison, next-generation firewalls create a seamless security ecosystem that’s easy for you to manage as an MSP. All of the functionality in a NGFW runs on the same platform and works together, which makes it simple to implement policy changes and updates. It also streamlines reporting, letting you quickly generate reports without jumping though a bunch of hoops to get it done. Troubleshooting is easier as well because you don’t have to deal with third-party applications to get it done (something that can be a common occurrence with traditional UTMs).
No more compromises
The way I see it, next-generation firewalls are a win-win for MSPs. They help you provide better protection for your customers and make day-to-day security management easier for you. In addition to providing application control, identity awareness, and centralized control, true next-generation firewalls also offer powerful advanced threat protection and intelligent traffic regulation, helping you offer customers the most up-to-date security without compromising on performance. So if you have SMB customers that still think that a UTM is good enough for their security needs, it’s time to introduce them to the advantages of a next-gen firewall.
Join us at 2 p.m. on Thursday, August 18 for a webinar about Barracuda NextGen Firewall - Intronis MSP Edition and learn how it can help you optimize security, performance, and availability for SMB networks.