Architected for the cloud-first and remote-first deployments, MVISION Cloud Firewall secures access to applications and resources on the internet, accessed from every remote site and location, through a cloud-native service model. The solution inspects end-to-end user traffic – across all ports and protocols, enabling unified visibility and policy enforcement across the organizational footprint. Powered by McAfee Enterprise’s industry leading next-generation intrusion detection and prevention system, contextual policy engine and advanced threat detection platform, and supported by Global Threat Intelligence feeds, MVISION Cloud Firewall proactively detects and blocks emerging threats and malware with a high degree of accuracy, uniquely addressing the security challenges of the modern remote workforce. MVISION Cloud Firewall is an integral component of McAfee Unified Cloud Edge, offering organizations an all-encompassing, cloud-delivered Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) security solution for accelerating their business transformation.
Wherever networks went, firewalls followed
For a long time, firewalls and computer networks were like conjoined twins. Businesses simply could not afford to run an enterprise network without deploying a security system at the edge to create a secure perimeter around their crown jewels. The growing adoption of web-based protocols and their subsequent employment by cybersecurity adversaries for launching targeted malware attacks, often hidden within encrypted traffic, saw the emergence of next-generation firewall (NGFW) solutions. Apart from including stateful firewall and unified threat management services, NGFWs offered multi-layered protection and performed deep packet inspection, allowing organizations greater awareness and control over the applications to counter web-based threats.
Cloud computing changed the playing field
But things took a dramatic turn with the introduction of cloud computing. Cloud service providers came up with an offer the organizations could not refuse – unlimited computing power and storage volumes at significantly lower operating costs, along with the option to seamlessly scale business operations without hosting a single piece of hardware on-premises. Hence began the mass exodus of corporate data and applications to the cloud. Left without a fixed network perimeter to protect, the relationship between firewalls and networks entered complicated terms. While the cloud service providers offered a basic level of security functionality, they lacked the muscle power of on-premises firewalls, particularly NGFWs. This was further exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic and the overnight switch of the workforce to remote locations, which introduced the following challenges:
- Remote users were required to backhaul the entire outbound traffic to centralized firewalls through expensive MPLS connections, impacting the network performance due to latency and degrading the overall user experience.
- Remote users connecting direct-to-cloud often bypassed the on-premises security controls. With the firewalls going completely blind to the remote user traffic, security practitioners simply couldn’t protect what they couldn’t see.
- Deploying security appliances at each remote site and replicating the firewall policies across every site significantly increased the capital and operational expenditure. Additionally, these hardware applications lack the ability to scale and accommodate the growing volume of user traffic.
- On-premises firewalls struggled to integrate with cloud-native security solutions, such as Secure Web Gateways (SWG) and Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASB), creating a roadblock in Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) deployments.
The distributed workforce has expanded the threat landscape at an alarming rate. According to the latest McAfee Labs Threats Reports, the volume of malware threats observed by McAfee Labs averaged 688 threats per minute, an increase of 40 threats per minute (3%) in the first quarter of 2021. While SWGs and CASBs could address the security challenges for web and SaaS traffic, respectively, how could organizations secure the remaining non-web traffic? The answer lies in Firewall-as-a-Service, or FWaaS. FWaaS can be defined as a firewall hosted in the cloud, offering all the NGFW capabilities, including deep packet inspection, application-layer filtering, intrusion prevention and detection, advanced threat protection, among others. While, at the onset, FWaaS may give the impression of lifting and shifting NGFWs to the cloud, their business benefits are far more profound and relevant for the modern workforce, some of which include:
- Securing the remote workers and local internet breakouts, allowing direct-to-cloud connections to reduce network latency and improve user experience. Avoiding traffic backhauls from remote sites to centralized firewalls through expensive VPN and MPLS lines reduces the deployment costs.
- Significant cost savings by eliminating hardware installation at remote branch offices.
- Aggregating the network traffic from on-premises datacenters, clouds, remote branch offices and remote user locations, allowing centralized visibility and unified policy enforcement across all locations.
- Seamless scaling to handle the growing volume of traffic and the need for inspecting encrypted traffic for threats and malware.
- Centralizing the service management, such as patching and upgrades, reducing the operational costs for repetitive tasks.
Introducing MVISION Cloud Firewall
McAfee MVISION Cloud Firewall is a cutting-edge Firewall-as-a-Service solution that enforces centralized security policies for protecting the distributed workforce across all locations, for all ports and protocols. MVISION Cloud Firewall allows organizations to extend comprehensive firewall capabilities to remote sites and remote workers through a cloud-delivered service model, securing data and users across headquarters, branch offices, home networks and mobile networks, with real-time visibility and control over the entire network traffic.
The core value proposition of MVISION Cloud Firewall is characterized by a next-generation intrusion detection and prevention system that utilizes advanced detection and emulation techniques to defend against stealthy threats and malware attacks with industry best efficacy. A sophisticated next-generation firewall application control system enables organizations to make informed decisions about allowing or blocking applications by correlating threat activities with application awareness, including Layer 7 visibility of more than 2000 applications and protocols.
Fig. MVISION Cloud Firewall Architecture
What makes MVISION Cloud Firewall special?
Superior IPS efficacy: MVISION Cloud Firewall delivers superior IPS performance through deep inspection of network traffic and seamless detection and blocking of both known and unknown threats across the network perimeter, data center, and cloud environments. The next-generation IPS engine offers 20% better efficacy than competitive solutions, while far exceeding the detection rates of open-source solutions. The solution combines with MVISION Extended Threat Detection and Response (XDR) to offer superior threat protection by correlating threat intelligence and telemetry across multiple vectors and proactively detecting and resolving adversarial threats before that can lead to any enterprise damage or loss. Additional advantages include inbound and outbound SSL decryption, signature-less malware analysis, high availability, and disaster recovery protection.
End-to-end visibility and optimization: The ability to visualize and control remote user sessions allows MVISION Cloud Firewalls to proactively monitor the end-to-end traffic flow and detect any critical issues observed across user devices, networks, and cloud. This offers network administrators a unified, organization-wide view of deployed assets to pinpoint and troubleshoot issues before the overall network performance and user productivity gets impacted. Optimizing network performance elevates the user experience through reduced session latency while keeping a check on the help desk ticket volumes.
Policy Sophistication: MVISION Cloud Firewall considers multiple contextual factors, such as the device type, security posture of devices, networks and users, and pairs that with application intelligence to define a robust and comprehensive policy lexicon that is more suitable for protecting the modern remote workforce. For example, most NGFWs can permit or block user traffic based on the configured rule set, such as permitting accounting users to access files uploaded on a Teams site. McAfee, on the other hand, utilizes its data protection and endpoint protection capabilities to create more powerful NGFW rules, such as permitting accounting users to access a third-party Teams site only if they have endpoint DLP enabled.
MVISION Cloud Firewall converges with MVISION Unified Cloud Edge to offer an integrated solution comprising of industry best Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB), Secure Web Gateway (SWG), Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), unified Data Loss Prevention (DLP) across endpoint, cloud and network, Remote Browser Isolation (RBI) and Firewall-as-a-Service, making McAfee one of the only vendors in the industry that solves the network security puzzle of the SASE framework. With the inclusion of MVISION Cloud Firewall, McAfee Enterprise customers can now utilize a unified security solution to inspect any type of traffic destined to the cloud, web, or corporate networks, while securing the sensitive assets and users across every location.
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Author: Sadik Al-Abdulla