With the rapid evolution of security and the plethora of new innovations that have been developed in recent years, it can be easy to forget about the cornerstone technologies that have gotten us to this point. Now that the network perimeter is anything but static, some may wonder if the firewall, for example, is still relevant and effective for protecting today’s enterprise. The answer is yes, now more than ever.

As the landscape has changed, the firewall has adapted. We can’t address today’s rising challenges with yesterday’s firewall. Firewall technology has advanced to keep up with massive shifts in the way we do business. It has evolved to help secure cloud computing, SaaS applications, mobility, remote working, and more, against increasingly stealthy attacks.

Cisco has been leading the charge in this transition, making the firewall a core component of a zero trust security strategy. As a result of these efforts, we were recently named a leader in the 2020 Forrester Wave for Enterprise Firewalls. Cisco was one of only two vendors cited as a leader among Forrester’s evaluation of 11 firewall providers. Specific strengths highlighted in the report include our wide breadth of security offerings, and extensive integration across our portfolio.

Today’s firewall can no longer operate in a silo. It must be part of a cohesive security platform that can quickly adapt to changes in the network environment and threat landscape. And in fact, it should serve as the very foundation of such a platform.

Here’s how Cisco is building the future of firewalling through our platform approach to security:

From firewalls to firewalling

The firewall was traditionally an appliance designed to protect everything inside the network perimeter. However, with today’s enterprise data and applications residing in many different places, and users accessing them from an infinite amount of locations, the conventional perimeter has transitioned into multiple micro-perimeters that need to be secured. Thus, instead of viewing the firewall as a single device, we must now view “firewalling” as more of a functionality – protecting users and data across the network, cloud, endpoints, and applications – and anywhere else attackers may infiltrate.

With Cisco Secure Firewall, you get world-class security controls wherever you need them, with consistent policy management and enforcement, and in-depth, unified visibility. Cisco goes beyond offering traditional firewall capabilities, incorporating features such as intrusion prevention, URL filtering, application visibility and control, and advanced malware protection, to provide robust defenses against the ever-expanding menu of cyberattacks. And it’s all backed by the industry-leading threat intelligence of Cisco Talos.

Flexible deployment and management

The migration of data to the cloud, and users to remote locations, requires a new level of flexibility when it comes to firewalling technologies. Organizations need a mix of physical, virtual, and cloud-based firewalls to accommodate this shift and secure the data center, remote sites, cloud environments, and everywhere in between. This is especially critical as organizations think about multi-cloud and SASE models. However, with so many different firewall deployments in place, it can sometimes be difficult to manage them all to achieve consistent policies and seamless visibility.

As a worldwide leader in networking and security, Cisco is better positioned than any other vendor to integrate effective firewalling and security controls into your existing infrastructure. We offer a broad range of firewalling options – from physical appliances for various sized environments, to virtual firewalls for public and private clouds, to cloud-delivered firewalls. We also make it easy to embed firewalling capabilities directly into networking technologies such as routers and SD-WAN.

And we offer firewall management to suit a wide variety of requirements – helping you centralize management, reduce complexity, and streamline operations. Cisco Defense Orchestrator helps organizations consistently manage policies across Cisco firewalls and public cloud infrastructure. We reduce time spent on repetitive security management tasks by up to 90 percent, and our simplified approach is further strengthened by the recent introduction of the Cisco SecureX platform, which is included with all Cisco security products.

Platform is a requirement for best of breed

With Cisco, the power of your firewall does not end with your firewall. We’ve built a security platform that enables a more agile and integrated approach for harmonizing policies and enforcement across increasingly heterogeneous networks. Through Cisco SecureX, your firewall becomes part of a tightly woven security ecosystem that shares intelligence, expands visibility, and automates remediation. This way, the rest of your security portfolio acts as a natural extension of your firewall.

According to Mike Schofield, vice president of network and cybersecurity operations at Rackspace, “The Cisco Next-Generation Firewall [Cisco Secure Firewall] enables us to provide our customers with advanced features and functionality for defending against evolving threats, all through a single, unified platform.”

As part of a security platform, your firewall can see and stop more threats, accelerating threat response and substantially improving your risk posture. With the ability to integrate both Cisco and third-party technologies into a single platform, you can extend the power of your firewall with functionality such as secure access, network analytics, cloud and endpoint security, workload security and micro-segmentation, and much more. Each integration allows your firewall to grow even stronger, and in turn, the firewall can enrich your entire security ecosystem.

The future of firewalling  

If you’re looking for a new firewalling experience, make sure you select technology that has the features, flexibility, and fortitude to deliver value into the future.

Need to breathe some new life into your firewall?


Ben Munroe

Director of Product Marketing

Cisco Security