Q&A with Barracuda GM of Security, Hatem Naguib: Cloud-Ready Firewalls

Barracuda recently announced the Barracuda NextGen Firewall F-Series version 7.0, which includes new features that expand on the cloud-ready technology available in Barracuda NextGen Firewalls. I caught up with Hatem Naguib, GM Security at Barracuda, to explain “cloud-ready” and what customers can expect in terms of next-generation firewall technology in this cloud era.

Me: What does cloud-ready mean to you?

Hatem: When customers talk about using the cloud, there are certain characteristics that repeatedly appear. They want something that can be deployed quickly, can scale and shrink to meet demand, includes cross-geo access, and usually has an ephemeral lifecycle. In the cloud era, it’s all about performance. A cloud-ready solution must be optimized for cloud environments so that its architecture, manageability and usability accentuate the overall experience. Unfortunately, traditional infrastructure security companies, especially firewall vendors, think cloud-ready means creating a virtual-form factor and dumping into a cloud. That’s not cloud-ready, and does not deliver the speed and functionality required in these environments.

Me: How has the role of the firewall evolved?

Hatem: The firewall has evolved in three key areas:
• From a perimeter-based hardware appliance to a ubiquitous distributed solution that is closer to the endpoint and workloads that need to be managed
• From an IP-port number-based rule set to a sophisticated set of dynamic policies that map to users, applications and locations
• From a single-purpose device to a platform that includes a complete portfolio of security capabilities tailored to workloads and evolving threat vectors

Me: What makes the NextGen Firewall F-Series a cloud-ready solution?

Hatem: If we look at the attributes of what it means to be cloud-ready, the Barracuda NextGen Firewall F-Series exemplifies these characteristics in two key ways –

First, since inception the Barracuda NextGen Firewall F-Series was purpose-built for customers who want to quickly deploy and manage thousands of next-generation firewalls to protect endpoints, including remote offices, branches and devices. This architecture translates very well into the public cloud. The Barracuda NextGen Firewall empowers customers to quickly deploy and manage multiple cloud instances. And for those customers requiring hybrid cloud, we enable them to seamlessly manage both on-premises and cloud-based NextGen Firewall deployments from a single pane of glass.

Second, customers deploying workloads in the cloud or using SaaS-based applications need to ensure their security policies are cost-effectively enforced regardless of location. For many organizations today working with traditional firewall vendors, this means that they will incur a huge expense to architect a network and workload connectivity that backhauls traffic through a centralized firewall. For a distributed organization, this creates chokepoints in traffic, operational and capital overhead with maintaining expensive MPLS, and T1 links to ensure connectivity. The Barracuda NextGen Firewall allows customers to maintain full security and compliance at endpoints and remote sites, offering direct site-to-cloud access without needing to backhaul traffic. For todays distributed organizations this can mean savings of thousands of dollars a year in both OPEX and CAPEX, and also having an easier network to manage.

Whether your organization is a single-site non-cloud-based business, or a highly distributed enterprise using public cloud for Office 365, or other SaaS applications, or plan to do so in the future, the NextGen Firewall F-Series is the right product for you.

Me: What does the future look like for firewall technology?

Hatem: As more companies embrace cloud in all its flavors (public, hybrid, private, SaaS, PaaS), we will see customers demand cloud-ready next-generation firewalls as a default for their enterprises.

We see more customers looking to leverage microsegmentation by deploying firewalls at the workload or device level in order to reduce the attack surfaces in their enterprises. Barracuda NextGen Firewalls are the best choice for customers looking to centrally manage large numbers of firewalls and ensure their security policies are enforced as close as possible to where the workload or machines will reside.

Third, the increasing number and more malicious nature of cyberattacks require customers to develop a defense-depth-strategy including network, content and application security, as well as data protection solutions. Barracuda offers our customers a full portfolio of IT solutions to protect our customer’s data across all threat vectors.

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