Firewall technology has been used by organizations and individuals looking to secure their networks and applications for decades now. Evolving over the years, Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) is the third generation of firewall software technology, taking network and endpoint security capabilities to the next level.
NGFWs stand out from their traditional counterparts by seamlessly combining the capabilities of first-generation firewalls with a variety of modern network security solutions such as device filtering, in-depth packet inspection, and intrusion prevention capabilities.
With more cybersecurity companies releasing their own NGFW offerings, choosing the right solution for your network can be overwhelming.
Continue reading to learn more about some of the leading NGFW software providers in the global market and what they offer:
1. Juniper Networks SRX Series
Juniper Networks is a Sunnyvale, California-based multinational corporation that develops and offers computer networking and security products and services.
SRX Series key features
- Collection of next-generation physical, virtual, and containerized firewall solutions
- Provides complete visibility and control into network applications, edge devices, and data centers
- Intrusion prevention system (IPS) capabilities
- High-performance network security that can be adapted to a network’s size and security needs
- Compatible with its routers, switches, and network management solutions
Juniper’s series of NGFW solutions has garnered positive user reviews on third-party review sites, such as TrustRadius with an 8.7 out of 10 rating, and Gartner with a 4.6 out of 5 rating.
Eric Stephenson, Staff System Engineer at CommScope says, “The Juniper platform is one of our core devices for customers through our partner. They have the ability to work in almost any situation we put them into.”
Rating it a 10 out of 10 on TrustRadius, Stephenson adds, “From basic edge routers to full stateful firewall to BGP peering for high availability use cases. The devices have a good background in security and once updated to the current firmware, have no issues passing audits.”
In 2021, Juniper Networks’ SXR Series was given an “AA ” rating by the Cyber Ratings Organization for the Enterprise Network Firewalls Ratings Chart.
2. Palo Alto Network PA-Series
Palo Alto Networks is a Santa Clara, California-based network security corporation. Its core offerings range from cloud-based software to advanced firewall and Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) solutions.
PA-Series Key features
- A family of NGFW solutions designed for internet gateways and data center architectures
- Various models help with network flexibility, improving performance and reducing redundancy
- Packet inspection for identifying applications
- Real-time content scanning, ensuring low latency and line-rate
The PA-Series has high user ratings across the board on multiple third-party review sites, such as TrustRadius with a 9.3 out of 10 rating, and Gartner with a 4.6 out of 5 rating.
Diego Carmignani, IT Infrastructure Coordinator at Cartiere Carrara says, “Company wants to create a secured on-premise Datacenter. To do that we implemented 2 PA VM500 in Active-Passive mode and configured them with Layer7 policies and Micro-segmentation.”
Rating it a 9 out of 10 on TrustRadius, Carmignani adds, “In this way we monitor in/out traffic and also lateral movements between datacenter services.”
In 2021, Palo Alto Networks’ PA-series was named Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice for Network Firewalls.
3. Barracuda Networks CloudGen
Barracuda Networks is a Campbell, California-based networking security company that offers a wide variety of networking, cloud, and storage solutions.
CloudGen Firewall key features
- A family of virtual, cloud-based, and hardware firewalls that reliably deliver advanced security capabilities
- NGFW comes equipped with Layer 7 application profiling, advanced web filtering, malware and threat detection and protection
- Intrusion prevention capabilities
- Combines resilient VPN technology with its network traffic management features
- Performance-oriented approach enables users to increase network availability and improve overall connectivity
CloudGen Firewall has achieved high user ratings on third-party review sites, such as Capterra with a 4.4 out of 5 rating, and Gartner with a 4.4 out of 5 rating.
Eric Z. Junior IT Support Technician at an Information Technology and Services company says, “What I like most about Barracuda Firewalls is their adaptability in regards to the variety of ways they can protect a network from a threat, whether it be inside the network or targeting from some far corner of the world.”
Rating it 5 out of 5 on G2, Eric adds, “The only downside, really, is manually configuring nearly every setting. That said, once you become well-versed in how to navigate, set up and operate the firewall rules, objects and aspects of the network(s) you’re running, that downside becomes a strength.
Barracuda’s CloudGen was the winner in the Expert Insights’ Best of Cybersecurity Awards for the Fall of 2022.
4. Sophos XG Series
Sophos Group is an Abingdon, England-based network protection and data security company. It specializes in developing network security and encryption software and hardware.
XG Series key features
- Comprehensive NGFW that automatically responds to network security threats and incidents
- Identifies and blocks unknown threats, protecting network from malware and unauthorized access
- Identifies the sources of malware and attacks
- Automatically responds to attacks by limiting access to critical network resources, minimizing damages of the attack
The XG Series has garnered overwhelmingly high user reviews on third-party review sites, such as PeerSpot with a 4 out of 5 rating, and TrustRadius with an 8.7 out of 10 rating.
Wasim S. IT Assistant Manager, says, “We may receive full information about their activities and prohibit access to various network services using its user-friendly interface. Among my favorite features are antivirus protection, extensive reporting, sophisticated analytics, and general filtering, which give unsurpassed security and management over network devices.
Rating it 5 out of 5 on G2, Wasim adds, “I have faith in its capacity to keep computers safe and in all of its capabilities, as well as in its ability to respond in real-time to block malicious programs at network boundaries.”
In 2021, Sophos XG 230 was awarded the top spot in the Business Hardware of the Year category in the PC PRO Excellence Awards.
5. SonicWall NSsp-Series Next-Generation Firewall
SonicWall is a San Jose, California-based cybersecurity company with a large offering of computer networking tools and internet appliances to facilitate content control and network security.
NSsp-Series key features
- A high-end NGFW solution designed for enterprises with complex network systems, service providers, organizations, and government agencies
- Prioritizes network speed and resource optimization without compromising on advanced threat protection capabilities
- Pairs seamlessly with various advanced network security tools and technologies, such as real-time deep memory inspection (RTDMI), without sacrificing performance
SonicWall NSsp-Series has high user reviews on third-party review sites, such as Gartner with a 4.2 out of 5 rating, and PeerSpot with a 4.8 out of 5 rating.
John Holbel, President at CMIT Solutions, says “The VPN functionality is really good. Overall, the whole device is very easy to manage. The software that comes with it is also good.”
Rating it 4.5 out of 5 on PeerSpot, Holbel adds, “Their technical support is very good. If I had to pick between the top three firewalls with all things being equal, I would go with SonicWall just for the support and ease of management.”
SonicWall NSsp-Series NGFW was awarded the ICSA Labs Advanced Threat Defense (ATD) certification for 10 quarters in a row.
6. GajShield Next-Generation Firewall
GajShield is a Mumbai-based provider of enterprise-grade security appliances. Its offerings provide complete network visibility, enabling you to boost network productivity, and set policies, and proactive security measures.
GajShield NGFW key features
- A collection of appliances that protects network from a wide variety of threats, ranging from spyware and phishing to masked applications and unauthorized access
- Able to detect the activity of network applications independent of port use
- Compatible with network traffic originating from web-based services and cloud applications
GajShield’s NGFW solutions have consistently high user reviews on third-party review sites, such as PeerSpot with a 4 out of 5 rating, and G2 with a 4.5 out of 5 rating.
Ambarish Patkar, Services and Products Head at Wahl India, says “The most valuable feature of the GajShield Next Generation Firewall is the user-friendly settings, dashboards, and anti-threat protection. Additionally, the solution upgrades frequently which is good because we receive new features.”
Rating it a 4 out of 5 on PeerSpot, Patkar adds, “The most valuable feature of the GajShield Next Generation Firewall is the user-friendly settings, dashboards, and anti-threat protection.”
In 2020, GajShield’s NGFW was the winner of the Excellence in Information Security Testing Award by the ICSA Labs.
NGFW solutions come integrated with a number of network security tools that vary depending on the vendor. If not internal, your choice of an NGFW should be from a vendor that’s able to integrate smoothly with your other network security solutions and infrastructure.
See more: 5 Top Next-Generation Firewall Trends