3 Virtual Firewall Use Cases
What Is a Virtual Firewall? on Cyberpedia describes what a virtual firewall comprises, describes the key benefits of these cloud firewalls and provides a core set of questions for you to ask when selecting your next virtual firewall. This article, meanwhile, details the top three use cases wherein a virtual firewall should be deployed to improve security efficacy.
Finding Needles in the Haystacks of High Volume Traffic Streams
Use Case No. 1: Secure Public Clouds
Virtual firewalls can secure public cloud services from providers such as Google Cloud Platform (GCP™), Amazon Web Services (AWS®) and Microsoft Azure®. These firewalls typically act as guest virtual machines within public cloud environments, and some can provide visibility across multiple cloud service provider, or CSP, deployments.
Virtual firewalls also help organizations:
Meet public cloud user security obligations. CSPs are typically responsible for lift-and-shift applications, software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications and cloud infrastructure (database, storage and networking). However, organizations using these services are usually responsible for the security of the operating systems, platforms, access control, data, intellectual property, source code and customer-facing content that typically sit on top of the infrastructure.
Ensure compliance with regulatory standards. Virtual firewalls can be deployed to implement threat prevention capabilities and segmentation (isolating valuable, well-protected systems) to meet regulatory standards such as GDPR, PCI DSS, HIPAA and SWIFT.
Boost the built-in security features unique to each public cloud platform. Some virtual firewalls provide inline threat prevention, which helps secure the flow of traffic moving laterally within a cloud environment, augmenting the basic, built-in security unique to each CSP.
Use Case No. 2: Extend Security to Branches and Software-Defined Environments
Virtual firewalls can help secure virtual branch offices as well as software-defined networks and software-defined wide-area networks – SDN and SD-WAN, respectively. In SDN environments, software and virtualization are what control networking and data routing activities within servers. Similarly, SD-WAN environments use software and virtualization to provide network connectivity for dispersed locations, such as branch offices.
Deploying virtual firewalls in these environments allows organizations to secure the perimeter, segment the network and protect their branch locations. In software-defined environments, advanced virtual firewalls are used to:
Provide consistent network security. Virtual firewalls can help organizations manage branch network security from the same console they use to manage other environments. This can include support for SDN and SD-WAN solutions from Cisco, Citrix, Nutanix and VMware.
Isolate critical systems, such as point of sale. Virtual firewalls can be used for segmentation and threat prevention as well as to ensure compliance in branch locations with systems that require isolation, such as point-of-sale systems.
Insert inline security into SD-WAN environments. Like their hardware siblings, virtual firewalls can be deployed to secure the flow of live network traffic, which can be vital for privacy and compliance in branch locations.
Prepare for future public cloud moves. Use of virtual firewalls in these environments can set the security stage for planned moves of applications to public clouds.
Use Case No. 3: Safeguard Private Cloud Assets
Virtual firewalls meet the security needs of private clouds, which are on-demand compute environments used by a single organization. In these environments, virtual firewalls can help:
Maximize investment in highly virtualized environments. Creating and managing private clouds can be a capital-intensive undertaking. In these environments, virtual firewalls are typically deployed to secure virtualized compute resources and hypervisors, such as VMware ESXi™, KVM, Nutanix AHV, Microsoft Hyper-V® and Azure® Stack.
Reduce time-consuming manual securing provisioning. Some virtual firewalls come with policy-based, automatic provisioning of network security capabilities, which can secure assets accurately and cost-effectively while also simplifying segmentation and microsegmentation processes – that is, isolating workloads from one another and then securing them individually.
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