Cisco: end-to-end security via virtual firewall

Businesses are increasingly operating at the edge due to the increase in employees working from home and the adoption of public, hybrid and multi-cloud environments. This trend is giving rise to the deployment of virtual firewalls, designed for use in cloud environments and anywhere that deploying hardware firewalls is difficult or expensive, or both. This practice may involve providing firewall security to public and private cloud architectures or software-defined wide area networks (SD-WANs).

In response, Cisco and Equinix have joined forces to help enterprises protect their network perimeter, cross-cloud communications, remote workforce, and multi-cloud environments. Cisco has been named a 2020 Forrester Wave Leader in Enterprise Firewalls and brings to market security solutions optimized for multi-cloud environments and providing secure connections from the digital core to the edge. Equinix is ​​the data center leader and markets Equinix Fabric, which provides a digital ecosystem to connect infrastructure and on-demand services through secure software-defined interconnects.

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Tendency to virtual

It’s no secret that there is a global trend towards a hybrid workforce. Global Workplace Analytics, for example, predicts that after the pandemic, 25-30% of the workforce in the United States will work from home one or more days a week. Working from home presents a level of security vulnerability that does not exist when everyone is working in closed offices. That’s why it’s essential that firewalls protect an organization’s networks, no matter where its employees work.

Additionally, as organizations continue to migrate applications to public, hybrid, and multi-cloud architectures, securing these environments can become complex. This is especially true when cloud strategies involve multiple cloud providers. What’s needed is a security platform that caters to the distributed nature of hybrid multicloud environments with end-to-end policy control and visibility from an organization’s core to its edge locations. .

Resolving this complexity is essential. According to Cisco Cloud Native Security Study[1]73% of enterprises lack visibility into threats and 48% of them have suffered losses due to attacks on their production environments.

Protect with virtual firewalls

Virtual firewalls provide an indispensable answer. A virtual or cloud firewall is a network security solution designed for environments where deploying hardware firewalls is difficult or impossible, such as public, hybrid and multi-cloud environments, software-defined networks and SD-WAN.

Like traditional hardware firewalls, virtual firewalls allow or deny network access to traffic flow between trusted and untrusted zones. However, because they are deployed through software, virtual firewalls are ideal for securing virtual environments such as hybrid and multi-cloud architectures. Their agility and ease of deployment make virtual firewalls an essential foundation for any IT security strategy, for example, as remote workers need secure access to corporate resources, including application Layer 7 application policies.

Provide consistent firewall security from core to edge

To help organizations implement their virtual firewall strategies, Cisco and Equinix have joined forces to provide end-to-end firewall security from the digital core to the digital edge through Equinix Network Edge services available in more than 24 global locations. Network Edge is optimized for instant deployment and interconnection of virtual network function (VNF) devices, such as virtual private networks (VPNs), firewalls, and routers, as well as access to private clouds and public via the Equinix Fabric portal.

The joint solution includes two Cisco Secure Firewall products:

  • Virtual Cisco Secure Firewall ASA (formerly ASAv) provides Layer 3 and Layer 4 firewall protection with scalable options for remote and site-to-site VPN capabilities.
  • Cisco Secure Firewall Virtual Threat Defense (formerly FTDv) delivers consistent policy and visibility from Cisco’s next-generation firewall, simplifying security enforcement across hybrid and multi-cloud environments. It offers stateful firewall inspection, application visibility and control, IPS, URL filtering, and malware defense.

These Cisco Secure Firewall offerings are available through Equinix Network Edge:

  • Equinix Network Edge provides virtual network services that run on a modular infrastructure platform, optimized for instant deployment and interconnection of network services. Select, deploy, and connect virtual network services to the edge in minutes, with no additional hardware requirements.
  • Equinix Cloth enables the connection of on-demand digital infrastructure and services at the speed of software via a secure software-defined interconnect. Organizations can scale hybrid deployments, achieve network agility, and connect to partners and vendors directly, easily, and securely.

The Equinix solution includes configuring virtual firewalls on behalf of their customers, which is very important given that 99% of firewall breaches are the result of misconfigurations.[2].

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[1] Cisco Cloud Native Security Survey

[2] Gartner: Branded firewall is best practice for most companies


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