The Evolving Role of the Firewall in a Hybrid Workplace

Employees will enjoy enhanced and more secure videoconferencing, thanks to new enterprise firewall from Cisco.

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The workplace is indelibly changing, according to the latest data from Gallup [1]. Organizations expect that moving forward only 23% of their employees will be fully on-site, 24% will be exclusively remote, and 53% will split their time between working at home and in the office.

This widely distributed workforce model offers benefits for both employers and employees — including greater flexibility and productivity. However, there are new IT challenges, too, such as the need to provide high-performance remote access for increased video and audio conferencing.

Many mid-range enterprise firewalls weren’t designed for the volume of throughput necessary to support a hybrid workforce. On top of that, all the filtering and processing it must do to protect against malware over encrypted traffic ultimately slows down Internet speed.

“Many individuals have been on video calls where someone says the audio quality is poor, or the video connection drops,” says Nazmul Rajib, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Cisco Systems, Inc.

These results are often due to well-intended firewalls that are now antiquated, and which limit productivity. As an enterprise adds more comprehensive security policies — as it should to protect both end users and corporate infrastructure in the hybrid workplace — performance will increasingly degrade. And that translates to increasingly poor-quality video conferencing that will frustrate employees.

Firewall features that address new hybrid requirements

With the ever-changing hybrid workplace, organizations can now boost performance and security, and gain greater flexibility to accommodate business growth, with Cisco’s new Secure Firewall 3100 Series.

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Figure 1: Cisco Secure Firewall 3100 Series

“It leverages automation and integration for low-touch provisioning, easing management for IT administrators and giving them visibility into firewall performance and security,” Rajib says.

In addition, the device is built to deliver rapid return on investment and scalability with its clustering capability, he said. “You could start with one or two firewall devices in this 3100 Series platform, and then as your business grows, you simply add more devices to the cluster, which supports up to eight firewalls.”

Importantly, the new firewall series improves security without degrading network traffic performance. Using a machine learning-based engine, the 3100 Series firewalls inspect and identify threats and encrypted traffic at up to seven times the speed of traditional firewalls. It also has the capacity to provide up to seventeen times more throughput performance with VPNs, compared to Cisco’s 2100 Series firewalls. That higher level of throughput enables IT admins to deploy critical next-generation security policies without affecting the employee experience.

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Figure 2: Performance boost in the Cisco Secure Firewall 3100 Series, compared to the existing enterprise firewalls

These advantages are possible because the 3100 Series firewalls have built-in Crypto accelerator, which speeds bulk cryptographic operations and processes packets before the firewall software, and the specially built Flow accelerator circuit speeds traffic throughput for greater performance.

“All of these capabilities in the 3100 Series firewalls translate to better supporting and securing the hybrid workforce, while future-proofing the business for growth and security” Rajib says. Now you can:

  • Empower hybrid workers: Support up to 20,000 remote VPN users with blazing fast IPsec and DTLS throughput.
  • Connect hybrid apps: From next-generation video conferencing to FinTech, native TLS 1.3, HTTP/2, and QUIC support secures them all.
  • Enjoy investment protection: Clustering and high port density allow your firewall to grow with you.

Discover more about the high-performance Cisco Secure Firewall 3100 Series that is designed for hybrid work.

[1] Gallup Workplace data

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