Network Firewalls

Network Firewalls Market Guide 2024

How to choose the right Network Firewall software.

Network Firewalls Buyers guide

Network firewalls act as a barrier between trusted internal networks and untrusted external networks. This is important for safely blocking unauthorized access and cyber threats, keeping your network safe and secure.

In this guide, we’ll cover:

  • Why It Matters
  • Types of Firewall
  • Best Vendors
  • Features Checklist
  • Our advice on picking the best Network Firewall solutions
  • The future of the Network Firewall industry

Why It Matters: Rule-based scrutiny allows firewalls to enable safe data transfers while blocking potentially malicious traffic.

  • In the 12 months between September 2022 and September 2023, there were over 4,608 data breaches reported in the US, with over 5 billion affected records (Privacy Rights Clearinghouse)
  • Malware deployment was the most common action threat actors took against victim networks, occurring in 43% of all reported incidents (IBM X-Force)
  • The network security firewall market size has grown exponentially in recent years. It will grow from $5.74 billion in 2023 to $6.89 billion in 2024 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20% (The Business Research Company)

Types of Firewall: Network firewalls combine a range of capabilities to deliver comprehensive security. Some of the different ways of working include:

  • Stateful: These monitors the state of active connection to better inform filtering decisions, using contextual information on network connections and packet contents to judge if traffic should be allowed through. This offers comprehensive filtering, but also consumes more resources.
  • Stateless/Packet Filtering: This works by inspecting incoming and outgoing data packets based on predefined rules, and judging traffic based only on information in the packet header. This is faster and less expensive than stateful firewalls, but comes with the drawback of being unable detect invalid or malicious packet contents.
  • CircuitLevel: Circuit-level firewalls apply security mechanisms after either datagram protocol or a transmission control protocol connection has been made, and tracks protocol information between packets, blocking or admitting based on session policies.
  • Proxy Service: Acting as an intermediary between end users and the internet, proxy services work by intercepting messages entering and leaving the network, effectively hiding the true network addresses.
  • Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW): This is an advanced firewall that brings together traditional firewall capabilities and additional advanced features that provide more robust and granular protection.
  • Unified Threat Management (UTM): Combines multiple security features into a single device, including firewall, antivirus, and content filtering. 

Best Providers: We’ve put together a shortlist of the top network firewall providers:

Features Checklist: When choosing a network firewall for your organization, make sure to look out for the following features:

  • Access Controls: Network firewalls need to be able to enforce access privileges to maintain a secure network environment; this is achieved by adopting a ‘deny by default’ approach to access.
  • Traffic Monitoring: By monitoring data transfers and allowing administrators to adjust security settings in response to observed traffic patterns, network firewalls support the detection and neutralization of risk.
  • Threat Intelligence: Integration with global threat intelligence for real-time updates is essential; organizations should ensure that the network firewall tool that they choose provides advanced threat intelligence, intrusion prevention, and application control features.
  • VPN Support: Network firewalls often provide VPN support to facilitate more secure remote access and make sure that data transmitted is protected against interception. This enables remote access and site-to-site connectivity.
  • User Identity management: By enabling the creation of granular access policies, you can prevent unauthorized access through accurately identifying and authenticating users and their context.
  • Reporting and Analytics: Network firewalls typically provide reporting and analytics capabilities to better secure the network through monitoring network traffic user activity and security events.

Our Recommendations: When selecting a network firewall for your organization, we recommend prioritizing the following capabilities:

  • Scalability: Particularly for large enterprises that may experience rapid growth, the ability to handle increased traffic loads and expanding networks without compromising security or performance is essential.
  • Compliance: Network firewalls need to adhere to legal, regulatory, and industry standards to avoid legal penalties and maintain customer and partner trust. This is especially important for organizations in restricted industries.
  • Ease of use: Administrators need to be able to easily configure, manage, and monitor the network firewall, as a user-friendly interface helps to minimize the risk of errors and saves time.
  • Integration: Compatibility with existing network infrastructure and other security tools in use helps to build a cohesive security strategy. 
  • Support and Maintenance: Reliable vendor support, along with a strong warranty and regular updates, is important for ensuring the network firewall is operating optimally and there are no gaps in the defenses.

Future Trends: Some upcoming trends in the network firewall market include:

  1. The network security firewall market is witnessing rapid growth due to the rising cyber threats, the adoption of cloud-based services, the proliferation of IoT devices, and the increasing focus on data privacy and compliance.
  2. North America is expected to account for the largest market share in terms of revenue over the coming years. This is due to rapid advances in mobile security technologies in this region.

Further Reading: