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.

Obiettivi di apprendimento

Dopo aver letto questo articolo sarai in grado di:

  • Comprendere cosa sia un firewall cloud
  • Capire cosa significa "Firewall-as-a-Service"
  • Esplorare come il cloud computing modifichi il perimetro di rete

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Cos'è un firewall cloud?

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 tradizionale

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?

Gli istituti bancari implementano diverse misure di sicurezza fisiche. La maggior parte delle filiali bancarie è munita di misure di sicurezza quali telecamere a circuito chiuso e vetri antiproiettile. Inoltre, le guardie giurate e i dipendenti della banca aiutano a bloccare potenziali ladri, mentre i contanti sono conservati in caveau ad alta sicurezza.

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.

I firewall su cloud bloccano gli attacchi informatici volti a colpire queste risorse su cloud. Implementare un firewall su cloud è equivalente a sostituire le telecamere di sicurezza locali e le guardie giurate di una banca con un centro di sicurezza h24 che ha personale centralizzato e video dalle telecamere di ogni luogo in cui ci sono risorse della banca.

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.

Che differenza c'è tra un firewall su cloud e un firewall di nuova generazione (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, è un'architettura di rete basata su cloud che unisce le funzioni di rete, come le WAN definite dal software, a un insieme di servizi di sicurezza, inclusi i FWaaS. A differenza dei modelli di rete classici, in cui il perimetro di rete dei datacenter locali deve essere protetto con firewall in locale, SASE offre un controllo degli accessi e una sicurezza completi al perimetro di rete.

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).