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Security should enhance productivity—not impede it

Security is a fact of life. Ignore it at your own peril. Unfortunately, in order to effectively detect and avoid malware and other threats your security tools have to be able to monitor and analyze network traffic and applications—thereby introducing a layer of complexity and slowing things down to some extent. Speed and performance have always been key selling points for firewalls and other perimeter security controls, but as more organizations spread out to remote branch offices and/or embrace cloud applications it becomes a business imperative that any perimeter defenses enhance rather than impede productivity.

Traditional firewalls and gateway security appliances often end up acting as a bottleneck when all of the security functions are enabled. To some extent, there’s no way to avoid it. Traffic and applications can be monitored in parallel so users have access at optimal speed, but that just makes it more complicated to block access and reverse any damage if it’s determined to be malicious. As more businesses rely on software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings, public cloud applications, and other cloud or hybrid cloud solutions, though, performance becomes a crucial differentiator for security tools.

“Companies are using the cloud every day as well as supporting remote workers through VPN access. Cloud applications like Salesforce are no longer a luxury but a necessary part of business operations,” said Jason Pappalexis, Research Director, NSS Labs. “A next-generation firewall strategy that includes secure access and full next-generation firewall functionality with central management will be important for today’s hybrid networks where application-aware traffic distribution is key. The most successful firewall vendors will be those that help address the unique challenges created within a hybrid network.”

Appliances like the latest next-generation firewalls from Barracuda are designed to address these challenges. The Barracuda NextGen Firewall appliances also act as application delivery platforms that include advanced traffic optimization features.

“Typical gateway security devices for remote locations can be a bottleneck when all security functions are enabled. This issue is compounded when you take into account the growing number of organizations that rely on SaaS and public cloud applications,” explained Dr. Klaus Gheri, VP Network Security, Barracuda. “As the adoption of these cloud-based applications increases, organizations are forced to rethink their network architecture and thus the technology needed to protect it. Most ‘next-generation’ firewalls today are designed to filter out undesired application traffic rather than proactively regulate and prioritize business critical traffic. The new Barracuda NextGen Firewall desktop appliances change that approach. Barracuda NextGen Firewalls provide a high level of security, and play an active role in application delivery and network performance, which other security devices used to secure remote locations in this price range typically do not offer.”

As with most challenges related to IT, larger enterprises have the tools and the expertise to manage these issues, but small and medium businesses struggle. The Barracuda NextGen Firewalls bring these features and capabilities down to a sub-$700 price point that just about any company can manage.

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