Decline of the traditional firewall likened to the demise of operating systems and mobile phones

News by Dan Raywood

Last week's announcement of the launch of an advanced firewall by Barracuda Networks has been welcomed by one of the traditional technology's biggest critics.

Last week's announcement of the launch of an advanced firewall by Barracuda Networks has been welcomed by one of the traditional technology's biggest critics.

Palo Alto Networks had previously claimed that the ‘firewall was dead' and that businesses needed to consider advanced technologies such as port control. Last week, Wieland Alge, general manager of EMEA for Barracuda Networks and the former CEO of Phion, said: “The firewall is dead, it is not about the unified threat manager (UTM). We are happy with the fact that the firewall is now fashionable again. The classical version is not dead but has evolved.”

Speaking to SC Magazine this week, Nir Zuk, CTO and founder of Palo Alto Networks, said: “Gartner released a report saying stop buying firewalls and intrusion prevention systems (IPS), as the firewall cannot see the traffic as today we are talking about hundreds of applications with encryption and that is a small part of the problem, then it was blocking the applications and now it is securing use of Web 2.0 applications.

“The problem with the traditional firewall is that it does not do anything and it does not fix but create a problem and you will not find a UTM that stays active more than five per cent of the time when you upload software such as anti-virus. We have changed the way the firewall works.”

Speaking directly about the advancements announced by Barracuda Networks, Zuk said: “Everyone has a next-generation firewall, but for Gartner and me it is not enough and you need management across all applications. Barracuda is in the small to medium business market but I never see them in the enterprise market.

“We are at an inflation point in the network security market and everybody agrees that the traditional firewall will be replaced with a next-generation firewall. I compare it to the Apple iPhone. In five years there will be no more Nokia, as they are not in the smartphone business. Microsoft is the same as it is dying and being replaced by Google and we see the same thing with the traditional security vendor, they cannot adapt quickly enough to inflation points.

“I believe it is impossible to be a small to medium business and an enterprise provider. The SMB expects low cost and quality is less of an issue; the enterprise expects high quality and less about cost. If you try to do both you fail.”

Speaking to SC Magazine, Dean Drako, president and CEO of Barracuda Networks, said: “Palo Alto is doing a great job, last year the marketing message was 'firewall is dead' and this year it was 'firewall is dead and we have the solution'.

“Check Point would never say that the firewall would go away and Gartner is saying the firewall is moving to the next generation. It is now at 2.0 and now IDC has said the firewall is dead and you can have a UTM, but that is the same as the NG. Really customers do not care, we found that they do content filtering, VPN and want easy management and low costs.”


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