Cloud Firewall vs Traditional Firewall – 5 Key Differences

Cloud Firewall vs Traditional Firewall

The rapid evolution of the digital world has proven to be both a boon and a bane. As technology has revolutionized, it has opened many new opportunities for attackers to hack digital solutions and steal confidential data.

To mitigate security risks, you need to embrace safety tools that offer the best protection to your on-premises and digital assets. A firewall, for example, is the most robust security solution for your digital operations.

A firewall serves as the first line of defense against all forms of security breaches that occur due to network vulnerabilities. Once installed, a firewall creates a barrier between your network and the external networks. Every data packet that enters your network has to pass through the firewall protection program to get safe access to your system.

The firewall can detect, analyze, and block data if it detects anything suspicious. With so many firewall programs available, the question is, how do you choose the one that fits your business needs? Let’s discover the two most prominent types of firewalls and their key differences.

What is a Traditional Firewall?

Traditional firewalls can be software, hardware, or a combination firewall program that offers organization-wide security. These are installed on-premises and might work together with other security protocols to keep your computers, workstations, and other devices connected to the company’s router safe.

Traditional firewalls check the source and destination address of the application requesting access to your network. It checks the port number, IP address, and content on the website to determine its safety. The firewall does this by matching the data with the pre-configured safety protocols.

Some traditional firewalls are equipped with advanced functionalities, like dynamic filtering. The level of coverage you get from a traditional firewall depends on the program you choose.

What is Cloud Firewall?

With businesses shifting their operations to the cloud, there’s a growing need for advanced protection against digital threats. A cloud firewall serves the same purpose as a software/hardware firewall—protecting your network from attackers. However, unlike a traditional firewall, it’s deployed in the cloud.

They sit at your applications’ entry/exit point, matching all external networks with the security protocols before granting them access to your system. If the firewall detects malicious code or a hacker attempts a security breach, such as a blocked IP address trying to get access to your data, it will block them immediately.

5 Differences Between Cloud Firewalls and Traditional Firewalls

Cloud and traditional firewalls offer network protection from internal and external networks in your organization. The primary purpose of both security tools is to create a robust shield around your network, preventing unauthorized access to your data.

Although both might sound similar, they have notable differences. When choosing between the two, don’t look for which one is better than the other. Instead, you should evaluate their features to determine which firewall suits your business requirements.

Here are the 5 common differences between a cloud and a traditional firewall.

1. Security

Cloud firewalls use data encryption, two-factor authentication, and other security tools to restrict unauthorized access to your confidential data. It filters out malicious traffic using pre-set security protocols. However, a cloud-based firewall program, like Palo Alto, makes sense when all business operations take place on the cloud.

Traditional software offers company-wide coverage, ensuring the best protection for all devices connected to your organization. These firewalls may or may not include cloud-based services. If you want premium security with robust protection protocols, a cloud-based firewall is your best option.

2. Deployment

Cloud firewalls are for businesses that have moved all operations to the cloud. It’s like a virtual protection tool that doesn’t require any on-premises setup. The firewall application is installed virtually on your system and can be integrated with your existing firewall program for better security.

Traditional firewalls, which are mostly a combination of hardware and software firewalls, require technical expertise for installation and configuration. Usually, traditional firewalls involve complex setups.

3. Maintenance

Traditional and cloud firewalls require maintenance from time to time. But, there’s a difference between who takes care of this maintenance and how frequently they are needed.

Once you install the traditional firewall, your in-house or outsourced IT help desk company will suggest upgrades. Basically, you are responsible for installing new versions or upgrading the hardware to the latest variant.

Cloud firewalls are upgraded by the FaaS provider. A third-party service provider offers these, and they handle all maintenance operations for you. The company will take care of advanced vulnerabilities, the latest technology, and patch management.

4. Scalability

An ideal firewall for your organization is one that’s designed to scale with your organization. You might not need advanced protection for now, but as your company scales and you employ more resources, you will need a comprehensive security program.

Fortunately, a cloud firewall is a scalable solution. You can contact the Firewall-as-a-Service (FaaS) provider for your additional requirements. All you need is an updated cloud firewall to enjoy additional features.

Some traditional firewalls are scalable, but hardware units mostly need upgrades. You need to deploy one or more hardware components to keep up with the latest security trends.

5. Flexibility

Traditional firewalls are flexible, but if you want full control over your network security, your best bet is the cloud-based firewall. Since these are deployed on the cloud, they can be customized to your requirements.

On the other hand, traditional firewalls are engineered for a general audience. You can have them custom-made, but that can be very costly. Cloud firewalls are designed to fit your business needs and environment. You can configure the security protocols based on your network.

Bottom Line

Firewall protection has become a necessity for organizations of all types and structures. You can work with your IT help desk company to figure out the best firewall program for your business.

Ideally, a cloud firewall is considered a popular choice for companies that operate digitally and require a comprehensive security program for their network. However, if you want separate firewalls for software, hardware, and cloud-based operations, go for the traditional firewall.

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