"As with any term, once the marketing department gets hold of it, things can spread pretty dramatically," states Eric Hanselman, research director for networks at The 451 Group. While solutions such as intrusion detection or intrusion prevention systems (IDS/IPS), virtual private networks (VPN) and web application firewalls are common features of a NGFW, other vendors tout features such as SSL acceleration or WAN acceleration as a component, too.
Hanselman says the core functionality of a NGFW should be protecting the network from outside or inside threats. Everything else may be nice to have but not a core function. He uses an automotive analogy.
"A next-generation car would include things like ABS and more sophisticated traction control, things that are related to the driving of the car, as opposed to things like air conditioning or a better sound system," he says.
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