Q. How has the firewall market changed since 2020?
A. It may be easier to say what hasn’t changed. The firewall remains a foundational security control in the enterprise network architecture. But digital transformation is the name of the game —change is the only constant, and the firewall has not emerged from the process unscathed. Consider how much the world has changed: Hybrid remote work is the “new normal.”
The practice initially emerged as an emergency response but has true staying power by meeting workers’ need for flexibility and businesses’ need for productivity. In fact, remote work is just one new computing practice driven by the broader theme of user choice. The democratization of IT includes a broad set of devices, applications, and locations that have assimilated into the enterprise IT environment, often without permission. As a result, everything is distributed.
While work from home is most visible use case, IT leaders are keenly aware that the network now extends to workloads and devices, which are also increasingly beyond the realm of IT control. Put simply, the world has changed, and security must “deal with it.” For the firewall, the implication is that new form factors are required to extend security controls into all new environments. More services and functionality are being added to the firewall to support new technologies and use cases, as well as the new vulnerabilities created therein. Importantly, the firewall is an integral component but not the only piece of the puzzle, and the value of the firewall is increasingly tied to broader security objectives.
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