What is a cloud firewall? What is firewall-as-a-service (FWaaS)?

A cloud firewall protects cloud infrastructure from attacks, just as a traditional firewall protects on-premise networks.

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Después de leer este artículo podrás:

  • Comprende qué es un firewall en la nube
  • Comprende qué significa "Firewall como servicio"
  • Averigua cómo la computación en la nube cambia el perímetro de la red

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¿Qué es un firewall en la nube?

A cloud firewall is a security product that, like a traditional firewall, filters out potentially malicious network traffic. Unlike traditional firewalls, cloud firewalls are hosted in the cloud. This cloud-delivered model for firewalls is also called firewall-as-a-service (FWaaS).

Cloud-based firewalls form a virtual barrier around cloud platforms, infrastructure, and applications, just as traditional firewalls form a barrier around an organization's internal network. Cloud firewalls can also protect on-premise infrastructure.

Cloud firewall blocks attacks at cloud deployments

Definition of a firewall

A firewall is a security product that filters out malicious traffic. Traditionally, firewalls have run in between a trusted internal network and an untrusted network – e.g., between a private network and the Internet. Early firewalls were physical appliances that connected to an organization's on-premise infrastructure. Firewalls block and allow network traffic according to an internal set of rules. Most firewalls allow administrators to customize these rules.

firewall tradicional

The border between a trusted network and the Internet is called the "network perimeter." However, with the growing popularity of cloud computing, the network perimeter is mostly gone. Thus, cloud firewalls that form a virtual barrier between trusted cloud assets and untrusted Internet traffic are increasingly important.

Is firewall-as-a-service (FWaaS) different from cloud firewalls?

Firewall-as-a-Service, or FWaaS for short, is another term for cloud firewalls. Like other "as-a-service" categories, such as software-as-a-service (SaaS) or infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), FWaaS runs in the cloud and is accessed over the Internet, and a third-party vendor updates and maintains it.

Why use FWaaS?

Los bancos cuentan con muchas soluciones de seguridad física. La mayoría de ellos utilizan dispositivos como cámaras de seguridad y cristales blindados. Los guardias y los empleados del banco también ayudan a detener el accionar de posibles ladrones, y el efectivo se guarda en cajas fuertes con un alto nivel de seguridad.

But imagine if, instead of being kept in one place, each bank branch's cash was stored in different safes all over the country that were operated by a company specializing in safe maintenance. How could the bank be sure that its money was secure without deploying additional security resources around its scattered safes? This is akin to what cloud firewalls do.

The cloud is like a bank with scattered resources, but instead of money, the cloud stores data and computational power. Authorized users can connect to the cloud from anywhere and on almost any network. Applications that run in the cloud can be running anywhere, and that also applies to cloud platforms and infrastructure.

Los firewalls en la nube bloquean los ataques cibernéticos que se dirigen a este tipo de activos. Implementar un firewall en la nube es como reemplazar las cámaras de seguridad físicas de un banco y un guardia de seguridad humano por un centro de seguridad global a tiempo completo que recibe información centralizada del personal y las cámaras de seguridad de todos los lugares en donde se guardan los activos de un banco.

What are the main benefits of using a cloud firewall/FWaaS?

  • Malicious web traffic is blocked, including malware and bad bot activity. Some FWaaS products can also block sensitive data from going out.
  • Traffic does not have to be funneled through a hardware appliance, so no network choke points are created.
  • Cloud firewalls integrate easily with cloud infrastructure.
  • Multiple cloud deployments can be protected at once (as long as the cloud firewall vendor supports each cloud).
  • Cloud firewalls scale up rapidly to handle more traffic.
  • Organizations do not need to maintain cloud firewalls themselves; the vendor handles all updates.

¿Cuál es la diferencia entre un firewall en la nube y un firewall de última generación (NGFW)?

A next-generation firewall (NGFW) is a firewall that includes new technologies that weren't available in earlier firewall products, such as:

  • Intrusion prevention system (IPS): An intrusion prevention system detects and blocks cyber attacks.
  • Deep packet inspection (DPI): NGFWs inspect data packet headers and payload, instead of just the headers. This aids in detecting malware and other kinds of malicious data.
  • Application control: NGFWs can control what individual applications can access, or block applications altogether.

NGFWs can run in the cloud or as on-premise hardware. A cloud-based firewall may have NGFW capabilities, but an on-premise firewall could also be an NGFW. Learn more about NGFW vs. FWaaS.

How does FWaaS fit into a SASE framework?

Secure Access Service Edge, o SASE, es una arquitectura de red en la nube que combina funciones de red, como WAN definidas por software, con una serie de servicios de seguridad, que incluyen FWaaS. A diferencia de los modelos de redes tradicionales, en los que el perímetro de los centros de datos de las instalaciones debe ser protegido con firewalls en las instalaciones, SASE ofrece seguridad integral y control de acceso en el extremo de la red.

Within a SASE networking model, cloud-based firewalls work in tandem with other security products to defend the network perimeter from attacks, data breaches, and other cyber threats. Rather than using multiple third-party vendors to deploy and maintain each service, companies can use a single vendor that bundles FWaaS, cloud access security broker (CASB) services, secure web gateways (SWG), and zero trust network access (ZTNA) with SD-WAN capabilities.

Cloudflare Magic Firewall is designed to protect both on-premise and cloud infrastructure via the Cloudflare global network. Magic Firewall is included in the Cloudflare One SASE platform — learn more here.

Businesses looking to protect their web applications can also use the Cloudflare WAF (learn more).