Network-based firewalls have become almost ubiquitous across US enterprises for their proven defense against an ever-increasing array of threats.

A recent study by network testing firm NSS Labs found that up to 80% of US large businesses run a next-generation firewall. Research firm IDC estimates the firewall and related unified threat management market was a $7.6 billion industry in 2015 and expected to reach $12.7 billion by 2020.

What is a firewall?

Firewalls act as a perimeter defense tool that monitor traffic and either allow it or block it. Over the years functionality of firewalls has increased, and now most firewalls can not only block a set of known threats and enforce advanced access control list policies, but they can also deeply inspect individual packets of traffic and test packets to determine if they’re safe. Most firewalls are deployed as network hardware that processes traffic and software that allow end users to configure and manage the system. Increasingly, software-only versions of firewalls are being deployed in highly virtualized environments to enforce policies on segmented networks or in the IaaS public cloud.

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What is a firewall?