Firewall-as-a-Service: Ultimate Guide & Definition

Firewall-as-a-service (FWaaS) is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) cybersecurity offering for network security where a cloud firewall solution is provider by a vendor.

See below to learn all about what FWaaS is in the network security market:

What is FWaaS?

How does FWaaS work?

FWaaS is a cloud-based firewall that can be used to remotely secure your network’s access points and internal communications paths. As a ready-for-you service, FWaaS is the ideal solution for companies with little technical experience or those that can’t afford to deploy and maintain their own on-premises firewall solution.

Since FWaaS is a method of deployment rather than a type of firewall, the setup can be made for a variety of firewall types, including traditional first-generation firewalls, next-generation firewalls (NGFWs), application-layer firewalls, and circuit-level gateways.

What are the features of a FWaaS?

Comprehensive network and endpoint visibility

All incoming and outgoing network traffic is routed into the FWaaS cloud to be monitored, scanned, and logged, allowing for a centralized and comprehensive view of your network and its endpoints. The same central management dashboard can be used to deploy and monitor the operations of the remaining tools included in the FWaaS offering.

Most FWaaS providers allow you to integrate the cloud with the organization’s SIEM or Endpoint Detection and Monitoring (EDR) solutions for more optimized security.

Centralized policy set up and enforcement

One of a firewall’s most critical features is determining and enforcing your network’s security and privacy policies on all devices and applications. They’re the guidelines that define how the firewall should react to traffic that meets set criteria of dangerous or suspicious behavior.

As an online solution that’s constantly connected to all monitored devices and applications of your network, any changes to the security policies are immediately enforced without delay. 

Zero-trust integration

Working with a cloud model means your FWaaS solution is capable of adopting a zero-trust framework. Through the centralization of the firewall online, your zero-trust framework could be used to authenticate and validate the identity of all network users, applications, and devices before they’re granted access or communication privileges.

Zero trust alongside considerate network access control reduces the rates of latency and bandwidth use up in the network by limiting the overall and unnecessary access to network resources.

Highly scalable

As a SaaS service, FWaaS solutions are highly scalable and require little to no technical preparation on your end. Simply increasing your bandwidth and traffic filtering allowance with the FWaaS vendor should be enough to add anywhere from a few devices and accounts to new servers and applications to your network’s architecture.

FWaaS providers

Here a couple examples of leading FWaaS offerings in the space:

Zscaler

Zscaler is a cloud and network security company based in San Jose, California. It offers a variety of cloud-based services that enable businesses to employ zero-trust solutions to boost security, flexibility, and resiliency.

The Cloud Firewall solution by Zscaler is a FWaaS offering that allows users access to fast and secure internet and inner-network connections through the monitoring and scanning of user and application traffic.

It doesn’t require you to have any dedicated in-house hardware to access the services, as it’s available through a remote access portal.

In 2022, Zscaler was appointed a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Security Service Edge (SSE).

Versa Networks

Versa Networks is a security, networking, cloud, and analytics services provider based in Santa Clara, California. It aims to help large enterprises to elevate their networks for more efficient management and achieve business advantages and growth.

Versa Networks’ Next-Generation Firewall-as-a-Service (NGFWaaS) is part of the Versa Security Access Service Edge (SASE). It protects the micro and macro segmentation in your network, in addition to protection from threats on the inside and on the outer border of the network.

In 2022, Versa SASE won the Global Infosec Award for the Best Solution in the Network Security and Management category by Cyber Defense Magazine.

Why should you implement a FWaaS solution?

Outsourced technical expertise

Deploying, running, and maintaining a firewall solution on-premises requires a lot of technical expertise to be available on the spot, a feat that many small companies and non-technical startups don’t have the resources or budget to implement.

FWaaS solutions enable you to outsource the entirety of the work needed to run and maintain your network security solutions and tools to the vendor’s qualified team of IT and security experts. This also ensures the IT staff are trained to work with the specific cloud firewall solution, and not just general security expertise.

Elevated security standards

Using a FWaaS network security solution instead of a legacy one means you’re adopting the security and privacy standards of your vendor. Leasing the services from a credible cybersecurity company with credible security practices and certifications transfers that expertise on to your network.

This can be advertised to win the trust and confidence of your clients and business partners. In some cases, and depending on your industry, strict security standards may be needed to operate in your field.

What’s the size of the FWaaS market?

The global FWaaS market was estimated to be valued at $1.26 billion in 2021, and it is projected to reach $2.86 billion by 2027, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.68% over the analysis period.

Bottom line

Opting for legacy firewall solutions is still widely in use, especially for larger corporations with the budget and resources to hire a team of expert cybersecurity and IT professionals. 

However, FWaaS solutions have features and advantages that make them stand out compared to their traditional on-premises alternative.

Anina Ot
Anina Ot
Anina is a writer who has been writing about security, privacy, cloud computing, and data science for the past three years. She believes technology exists to make lives easier, but many people are intimidated by highly technical topics. She started writing to make tech and privacy more accessible.

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