Businesses are increasingly operating at the edge due to the rise of work-from-home employees 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 wherever deploying hardware firewalls is difficult or costly, or both. This practice can involve delivering firewall security to public and private cloud architectures or to software-defined wide area networks (SD-WANs).

In response, Cisco and Equinix have joined forces to help businesses protect their network perimeter, inter-cloud communications, remote workforces, and multi-cloud environments. Cisco was named 2020 Forrester Wave Leader in Enterprise Firewalls and brings to market security solutions that are optimized for multi-cloud environments and provide secure connections from digital core to edge. Equinix is the data center leader and brings to market Equinix Fabric, which provides a digital ecosystem to connect infrastructure and services on demand via secure, software-defined interconnections.

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Equinix and Cisco Deliver End-to-End Virtual Firewall Security

Trending to virtual

It’s no secret that there is a global trend toward a hybrid workforce. Global Workplace Analytics, for instance, predicts that post pandemic, 25 to 30 percent of the United States workforce will be working from home one or more days a week. Work at home presents a level of security vulnerability not present when everyone is working in walled offices. That’s why it’s critical that firewalls protect an organization’s networks regardless of where their employees are working.

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

Resolving this complexity is critical. According to a cloud-native security study by Cisco[1], 73 percent of organizations lack visibility into threats, and 48 percent of those organizations have experienced losses due to attacks on their production environments.

Protecting with virtual firewalls

Virtual firewalls provide a much-needed answer. A virtual or cloud firewall is a network security solution designed for environments in which deploying hardware firewalls is either difficult or impossible¾such as public, hybrid and multi-cloud environments, software-defined networks, and SD-WANs.

Like traditional hardware firewalls, virtual firewalls allow or deny network access to traffic flow between trusted and untrusted zones. However, because they are deployed via software, virtual firewalls are perfect for securing virtual environments such as hybrid and multi-cloud architectures. Their agility and ease of deployment make virtual firewalls a critical foundation for any IT security strategy¾for example, as remote workers require secure access to corporate resources¾including enforcing Layer 7 application policies.

Providing consistent firewall security from the core to the edge

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

The joint solution includes two Cisco Secure Firewall products:

  • Cisco Secure Firewall ASA Virtual (formerly ASAv) provides firewall protection at Layers 3 and 4 with scalable options for remote and site-to-site VPN capabilities.
  • Cisco Secure Firewall Threat Defense Virtual (formerly FTDv) delivers consistent policy and visibility from the Cisco 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.

Those Cisco Secure Firewall offers 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 at the edge in minutes, with no additional hardware requirements.
  • Equinix Fabric enables the connection of digital infrastructure and services on demand at software speed via secure, software-defined interconnection. Organizations can scale hybrid deployments, achieve network agility, and connect to partners and providers directly, easily, and securely.

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

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[1] Cisco Cloud Native Security Survey
[2] Gartner: One Brand of Firewall is a Best Practice for Most Enterprises



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