The firewall remains the front line of cyber-defense for most organizations. The firewall protects an organization’s network, and that function isn’t going away anytime soon. Remember when people used to say, “the firewall is dead”? The numbers tell a different story. Gartner forecasts that this market will grow from $12.5 billion in 2018 to $16.2 billion in 2023. That’s one of the single largest product markets in all of cybersecurity.
Many security and networking teams are also starting to use the firewall as the main hub to manage and orchestrate other security tools. In the past, advanced services used to be delivered via separate security appliances or software. But now, many next-generation firewalls include built-in threat intelligence feeds, intrusion prevention, advanced malware protection, URL filtering, identity services and more. It makes sense. Why pivot between multiple security tools when your firewall could do most of it.
This trend of consolidated services within the firewall also runs parallel to a much broader trend in cybersecurity – vendor consolidation and the transition to a “platform” approach to cybersecurity. Security and networking teams want an integrated, seamless security “system” instead of having to juggle multiple, disparate security tools. For years, they’ve been buying individual security products to solve specific problems. Protect the network – buy a firewall. Stop advanced threats – buy an intrusion prevention system or advanced malware system. Block malicious websites – buy a web security appliance. And so on. It didn’t matter what vendor they came from. You’d buy the best tool for the job that was available on the market.
The problem with this approach is how to efficiently operationalize all of those different products. More products require more people to manage them. If the products don’t automatically share information or work together to solve security problems (because they come from different vendors), then manual intervention is required. Is this starting to sound complex? It is. And it’s the reason network and security teams began to seek out integrated security “platforms” that make management easier.
In a recently published video, featured Gartner analyst Nat Smith and Cisco SVP Gee Rittenhouse discuss these trends in the firewall marketplace, and how they could impact your team’s approach to cyberdefense.