There was a time when on-premises hardware took care of your company’s cybersecurity. Most workers heard there was some kind of firewall behind those server room doors but never got to see it. Now, these rooms are getting smaller, and there are fewer and fewer doors to open.
Today, hardware-heavy businesses are steadily declining while the on-cloud sector goes the opposite way. This doesn’t come as a surprise, given that buying solutions from the vendor is cheaper and doesn’t require a significant IT workforce. Following the trend, we at NordLayer further expanded our cybersecurity feature selection with a Cloud Firewall.
While we already had options like ThreatBlock or Deep Packet Inspection Lite (DPI Lite) next to the VPN, Cloud Firewall will further strengthen your multi-layered network protection. Also, let’s not forget that a firewall is a must for Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) and Security Service Edge (SSE) frameworks.
Whether you’re moving to the cloud or looking for ways to strengthen your company’s cybersecurity, continue reading to learn how NordLayer’s Cloud Firewall can assist.
Cloud Firewall solution using NordLayer
NordLayer’s Cloud Firewall is very easy to deploy as it doesn’t require extra hardware that would also need constant supervision. That means you won’t have issues integrating it into your existing network and fitting the company’s infrastructure. In fact, the whole network access management process becomes streamlined and effortless.
As noted earlier, you can install a firewall on your hardware, choose a cloud-based option, such as NordLayer, or use both options. The Cloud solutions are also known as Firewalls as a Service (FWaaS). They require no local hardware—just a web-based Control Panel for controlling access to your data.
Benefits of Cloud Firewall VPN
NordLayer’s FWaaS can benefit you in many ways beyond firewall protection. Here are just some of the examples.
Granular network segmentation
The main benefit of NordLayer’s Cloud Firewall is granular network segmentation. It means you can choose which departments, teams, or employees can access particular in-house resources. This makes creating new workflows easier and existing business processes more secure.
Moreover, network segmentation reduces the attack surface inside the organization. It’s always easier to detect a possible threat in a subnet compared to the whole network.
Let’s also not forget about the increased performance. The bigger the network, the higher the risk of a slowdown. With network segmentation, you’ll avoid bandwidth throttling because one subnet’s load won’t affect the other.
The firewall is on the cloud, meaning it can easily protect both your office and remote workers. That means it works both for your cloud and on-premises environments. The same applies to enforcing policies on all endpoints.
Centralized security means that your IT admins have more control over network security. What’s more, they can customize security controls for each segment.
One control panel to rule them all
One of the main goals of NordLayer is simplicity and ease of use. That’s why we put all controls in one panel without cluttering it. Even if you’re not an IT expert, you’ll be able to create new rules, which will be automatically applied to anything added to the Gateway.
And in case there was a rule for one employee only, it will automatically become disabled if the worker is removed from a Team. However, if you decide to remove a Gateway or a dedicated server, you’ll have to turn off the firewall first.
Cloud firewalls are easily updated, and the process can be automated. There’s no need to visit every office with a server to install the latest firmware updates and patches.
Traditional firewalls are not always ready to handle cloud applications and may require extra expenses for them to work. In contrast, NordLayer’s Cloud Firewall won’t become a choke point in your network.
And the best thing is you won’t be sacrificing security for the sake of performance. It’s always easier to avoid bandwidth throttling when you have your network segmented.
No need for extra hardware means your Cloud Firewall will expand together with your business. And this can happen without overly complicating the process.
A new department in your company? Simply add another rule for them. With NordLayer’s Cloud Firewall, you can focus on your business instead of worrying about its cybersecurity.
Additionally, it doesn’t matter what kind of work model your company uses. NordLayer fits in-house, cloud, and hybrid environments. So, if you’re planning to switch from one to another in the near future, you don’t need to worry about changing your firewall.
How does NordLayer’s FWaaS feature work?
NordLayer’s Cloud Firewall works a bit like a border guard, scanning incoming and outgoing data packets. It checks if you can pass the border into a specific country.
Just like a firewall examines the content of the data packet, the border guard inspects your ID to see if it’s really you and whether you’re on a list of allowed travelers. But how does that actually happen?
The first and most important step is configuring the firewall according to your business needs. That means creating rules defining who will access which resources and who will be blocked. A rule can be applied to the whole company or just one employee.
When it comes to traffic destinations, your Cloud Firewall can work with standalone IPs, IP lists, or entire subnets. These options give you the freedom to customize to your heart’s content.
Once you're past this stage, the only thing left is enabling NordLayer’s Firewall, which in turn starts filtering data packets passing through the gateway.
Now, no matter your or your employee’s location, this Cloud Firewall will protect your company as the bouncer protects the nightclub by doing face control. He won’t let the dodgy-looking fellas in and won’t explain the reasons why. And you, as the club manager, can overrule the bouncer’s decision anytime.
You can also customize NordLayer’s Firewall to fit your company. No matter if your workplace is on-site, hybrid, or remote – you’ll still be getting top-notch threat prevention and access control.
What’s more, you don’t have to be an IT specialist to tweak your Cloud Firewall. You can apply different rules to your employees right in NordLayer’s Control Panel. No more financial data for Mark? Bam, it’s done. Sales team newbies need access to Salesforce? Bam, it’s done.
How to use NordLayer’s Cloud Firewall?
This section describes the key actions you can take with our FWaaS without needing an IT specialist. We’ll look at Default Firewall Action, creating new Firewall rules, and managing rule hierarchy. We also want to remind you that if you’re having trouble with any of the steps, contact our 24/7 customer support – they will be glad to help.
What is a Default Firewall Action?
Default Firewall Action controls what happens to the traffic when it does not meet any of the firewall rules defined by the organization. However, new employees who are yet to be assigned to a Team won’t see any Virtual Private Gateways, just the shared ones. This means neither firewall rules nor the Default Firewall Action applies to them.
There are two Default Firewall Actions available:
Allow. The firewall allows all network traffic by default unless a rule prohibits the traffic.
Deny. The firewall disallows all network traffic by default unless a rule permits the traffic.
This means you can’t have both actions active, just like the border guard can’t let and not let you through at the same time.
Creating new Cloud Firewall rules
Firewall rules are the backbone of the firewall itself. Without rules, the Cloud Firewall is basically not doing anything. So, your first step should be deciding on the exact policies and the resources or services you want to have controlled access.
Creating a new rule starts with naming it, followed by choosing the traffic source. It can be any traffic from any Team or a specific Team or employee. When you have the traffic source set, you can determine the traffic destination.
Once again, it can be any network address or a custom one. You can choose from predefined addresses or a new entry.
Finally, you get to define network services such as protocols and ports. Each new rule is added to the top of the priority list. Rule priority can be adjusted by dragging and dropping separate rules.
NordLayer’s FWaaS statuses and rule hierarchy
As mentioned above, firewall rules have a hierarchy that helps control your network. So when a firewall sees that the traffic meets the criteria of a certain rule, it ignores the others with lower priority.
Every rule can have one of the three statuses – Enabled, Disabled, or Deleted. All are self-explanatory, but the latter status will change only when you apply the rule changes.
NordLayer’s FWaaS vs traditional firewall
Traditional firewall requires you to have the necessary hardware in your office. Then, you need IT managers to install the firewall, maintain it, and extend its coverage.
This can be a good option if you don’t have remote workers, including yourself. But that’s highly unlikely, isn’t it? In contrast, as the name implies, NordLayer’s Cloud Firewall is deployed in the cloud and efficiently protects your workforce around the world. Moreover, this helps to cut your cybersecurity costs.
Also, if you’re working with cloud-based services, there are no extra investments to protect the remote workforce. Since the firewall is virtual, it stands between the user and the service. If you had an on-premises firewall, a remote worker would need to backhaul the traffic to the hardware infrastructure first, which is neither easy nor practical.
Should you get NordLayer’s Cloud Firewall?
Gone are the days when cybercriminals would target only big corporations like Google or Amazon. According to IT Governance, more than 40% of data breaches and ransomware attacks hit SMBs, and over 50% of companies plan to increase cybersecurity spending (IBM). The most targeted industries are Manufacturing, Finance & insurance, and Professional business & consumer services.
In short, every company that uses the internet should get a solid firewall. And if at least one employee will work remotely, a cloud version is the easiest and cheapest path to enhanced cybersecurity. For that, we recommend NordLayer’s Cloud Firewall.
Our FWaaS gives you IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS app protection, granular access control, and secure packet filtering. It combines well with DNS filtering by category or our DPI capabilities. Managing and centralizing your network won’t be a trouble, and when your business is ready to scale, your Cloud Firewall will follow side-by-side.
What is a cloud firewall?
A cloud firewall is a specialized security solution designed to restrict unauthorized access. Unlike traditional firewalls operating on-premises, cloud firewalls are situated and managed within the cloud. This modern firewall deployment approach is often called Firewall-as-a-Service (FWaaS).
What is the difference between a cloud firewall and FWaaS?
All Firewall-as-a-Service (FWaaS) are cloud firewalls, but not all cloud firewalls are FWaaS. Cloud firewall protects cloud-based resources by restricting unauthorized access. FWaaS delivers these capabilities as a managed service, eliminating the need for on-premises hardware or dedicated firewall appliances.
What is the difference between a cloud firewall and a hardware firewall?
A cloud firewall, such as NordLayer FWaaS, operates in a cloud environment, focusing on data-centric protection strategies. In contrast, a hardware firewall is a physical device that guards the perimeter of a local network, using both hardware and software to filter and monitor incoming and outgoing traffic.