Firewall-as-a-service (FWaaS) is a way to deliver firewall capabilities to the enterprise or small business over the cloud. It is becoming a popular choice among those that don’t want to be bogged down in the endless duties required in maintaining enterprise security.
Here are some of the top trends in firewall-as-a-service:
1. The talent crunch
IT security is in deep trouble due to a lack of trained resources. The demands placed on security have escalated as the number of cyberthreats has mushroomed. Yet there are fewer trained IT security personnel available now than there were before the pandemic. Things are being felt most acutely in the SMB segment. But midsized and large organizations are feeling the talent crunch too. According to one study, more than half of SMBs don’t have a single IT security expert in-house.
This is fueling the migration of security duties to the cloud using a service model. Firewalls are just one of many tasks heading to the cloud. After all, installing and configuring a firewall can be a complex undertaking at times. According to Christopher Crellin, Senior Director, Product Management, at Barracuda MSP, it can be time-consuming and expensive to train new technicians in every nuance of firewall operations especially when turnover happens every few months.
2. Firewall-as-a-service emerges
Firewall-as-a-service has burst onto the scene to fill this urgent need. Businesses want the benefits of comprehensive firewall technology without the hassle of installing, maintaining, or managing them.
“A solution to mitigating security exposures in a multi-cloud environment is to shift ingress protection to Firewall as a Service,” said Michael Wood, CMO of Versa Networks.
3. FWaaS flavors
FWaaS used to be plain vanilla. But now, a variety of flavors are appearing on the market. Most prominently, web application firewalls (WAFs) are particularly hot. Dell’Oro Group predicts that they will grow at 25% per year for the next five years.
Mauricio Sanchez, an analyst at Dell’Oro Group, said part of the reason behind this trend is that enterprises have begun to realize that legacy networks and security architectures are inadequate. They cannot provide the necessary security and performance in a user and application environment that has become distributed, interactive, and mobile. FWaaS and WAFs give them a way to tap into the latest technologies without having to engage in a major internal IT overhaul.
“The vendor community has responded with a service-centric, cloud-based technology solution that provides network connectivity and enforces security between users, devices, and applications,” said Sanchez.
4. Access to the latest features
Vendors such as Netskope have been quick to embrace this trend. They are releasing full-featured FWaaS offerings onto the market. Some of them are as advanced, or occasionally more advanced, than on-premises offerings. Those employing this subscription-based approach gain regular access to the latest firewall enhancements without the need to bother internal IT staff with the heavy lifting.
The Netskope Cloud Firewall, for example, includes:
- Firewall app control over what traffic is allowed on the network.
- Consolidated administration for web and non-web traffic using a SASE architecture
- Improved application visibility and network performance.
“From Capex headaches, to compromises on security, it’s clear legacy firewalls can no longer support the demands of a cloud-first, hybrid work world,” said John Martin, Chief Product Officer, Netskope. “We built Netskope Cloud Firewall to satisfy a wider range of use cases specific to direct-to-internet environments, relieve administrative burdens, and block threats everywhere users are located.”
5. Taking over
It is far from wishful thinking to consider that FWaaS may soon become the dominant form of firewall deployment. According to Dell’Oro Group’s 5-Year Forecast Report for Network Security, demand for software-as-a-service (SaaS)- and virtual-based network security is anticipated to represent 51% of the $33 billion total network security market revenue by 2026. Firewall as a Service will represent a major portion of the total.
“Since the arrival of the first network security appliances in the 1980s, the network security market has been dominated by an assortment of purpose-built boxes, but we see a seismic shift taking place,” said Sanchez.
He believes hardware firewalls and internal IT security technologies will continue to play a role. But as more and more applications are migrating to the cloud, it makes sense to deploy security technology in the cloud rather than on-premises. Coupled with a general lack of in-house IT security expertise, it looks like the move to the cloud may embrace security tools much faster than most people anticipated.