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Like everything in technology, firewalls – that essential electronic barrier between your computers and the many dangers of the wild cyber-world – are constantly evolving and new versions are being developed all the time, including so-called next-generation editions. Here’s our guide on what to look for in the newest firewalls out there to give you ultimate online protection.

1. Top-level filtering

A good next-generation firewall will help to protect the overall integrity of your systems by ensuring only the right kind of information gets through and directing it to where it needs to go. Among the critical areas it deals with are protocols such as the all-important IPs that are used to transmit data from one internet-connected machine to another, so it’s crucial that security is as tight as possible at these entry-point locations.

2. Encompassing hardware

Next-generation firewalls should be able to not only scrutinise the software on the machine and detect what’s flowing through it in terms of data and possible malicious elements, but they should also extend their features to the hardware being used in the system. This is typically in the form of a specialised firewall device attached to the network and configured to work with the software version. Together, the hardware and software elements of this robust firewall provide the best in internet security for companies, giving them definitive peace of mind.

3. Cloud firewalls

Now coming on-stream in increasing varieties are cloud-based firewall applications that promise both enhanced security and flexibility. A good one, however, should be capable of meeting the demands of all kinds of operating environments and be compatible with the range of systems, machines and devices in use today. Like other aspects of cloud-computing, one of the attractions of using cloud firewalls is that you don’t have to use your own software or hardware.

Next-generation firewalls offer clients enhanced features that will be crucial in protecting their digital assets and overall online operations. In deciding on one, pay attention to the pros and cons as they relate to your organisation, and choose wisely. With new online threats emerging almost every day, putting firms’ data and reputation at risk, being secure starts with that vital digital gatekeeper, the firewall.