Best Next Gen Firewalls (NGFW)

A next-generation firewall (NGFW) is an advanced network security device that combines traditional firewall functionality with additional features and capabilities to provide enhanced protection against modern cyber threats.

Features such as; deep packet inspection, application awareness, intrusion prevention system, user identity awareness and access control, and advanced threat protection.

NGFWs offer improved security and more granular control over network traffic compared to traditional firewalls.

In this article, we’re going to look at the nine best next-gen firewalls. Our comparison includes an overview of some of the top next-gen firewalls on the market, with features such as intrusion prevention systems, SSL inspection, machine learning, and policy management.

Here is a list of the best Next-Gen Firewalls (NGFW):

  1. Perimeter 81 FWaaS EDITOR’S CHOICE This cloud-based network protection service is part of a collection of edge services and connectivity systems that keep distributed businesses secure. Request a demo to get started.
  2. Fortinet FortiGate (7000 series) A leading next-gen firewall with intrusion prevention, AI, SSL inspection, management console, and more.
  3. Forcepoint NGFW Next-gen firewall with automated failover, advanced malware detection, application whitelisting/blacklisting, and more.
  4. Palo Alto Networks PA Series Machine learning next-gen firewall with TLS/SSL decryption, QoS policies, automated threat prevention, and more.
  5. Juniper Networks SRX Series A range of firewalls and SD-WAN solutions with unified threat management, advanced threat protection, centralized security management, and more.
  6. SonicWall Next-Generation Firewall TZ Series Next-gen firewalls with zero-touch deployment, deep memory inspection, SSL/TLS decryption, and more.
  7. Barracuda CloudGen Firewall Next-gen firewall with advanced threat protection, an IDS/IPS, VPN, and more.
  8. Cisco FirePOWER Series Series of network firewalls with an IPS, malware detection, centralized policy management, URL filtering, and more.
  9. Sophos XG Series Series of next-gen firewalls with threat intelligence, intrusion prevention, a web application firewall, anti-spam solution, and more.

The Best Next-Gen Firewalls

Our methodology for selecting a next-generation firewall for your network 

We reviewed the market for next-gen firewalls and analyzed the tools based on the following criteria:

  • Cloud-based options
  • Systems that can protect multiple sites
  • Behavior analytics for activity baselining
  • Automated responses
  • Alerts for suspicious activity
  • A free trial or a demo system for a cost-free assessment opportunity
  • Good value for money from a comprehensive tool that doesn’t require paid add-ons in order to provide full protection for your systems.

With these selection criteria in mind, we looked for reliable next-gen firewalls that can be used to block suspicious activity as well as identify it.

1. Perimeter 81 FWaaS (EDITOR’S CHOICE)

Perimeter 81 FWaaS

Perimeter 81 produces a range of edge services, including its Firewall-as-a-Service (FWaaS). The FWaaS concept has many advantages over onsite firewall appliances. You don’t need to house, power, maintain, or protect the Perimeter 81 system – all of the hosting and management of the firewall is taken care of by the Perimeter 81 staff.

Key Features:

  • Traffic Encryption Enforcement: Guarantees the encryption of all traffic for heightened security.
  • Unified Access Control: Implements Single Sign-On (SSO) and Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) to streamline and secure user access.
  • Comprehensive Coverage: Extends protection across multiple sites and to remote workers, ensuring wide-ranging network security.
  • Inclusive Software Maintenance: Offers software maintenance as part of the service package, eliminating additional costs and effort for businesses.

Why do we recommend it?

Perimeter81 FWaaS is part of a cloud-based package that offers solutions for new strategies for corporate security that combine protection for on-premises applications and SaaS packages with user access control management. This system can also be used to create an SD-WAN and the FWaaS completes the package’s SASE solution.

The FWaaS architecture is an interesting proposition for all sizes and configurations of enterprises. Small businesses probably don’t have a very complicated network and wouldn’t have the expertise on-site to manage a comprehensive firewall. The Perimeter 81 system gives those small enterprises the full protection level experienced by big businesses, without any of the hassles of having to look after a complicated piece of equipment.

Larger businesses would also benefit from the Perimeter 81 FWaaS because it enables the protection of networks on multiple sites to be integrated into one service – watched from one single console. For businesses that prioritize IT service centralization, this is a very interesting option.

Perimeter 81 FWaaS add service


Flexible, innovative businesses that practice a virtual office strategy would be particularly interested in the Perimeter 81 FWaaS. If your business doesn’t operate any premises and uses freelance remote workers, then the task of linking all of those endpoints together into a secure whole can be problematic.

Who is it recommended for?

This system is a platform of tools that is available in four plans. The lowest plan, Essentials provides a corporate VPN package. You need to get one of the three upper plans to access the FWaaS option. The tools in the package allow a number of different system security strategies to be adopted.


  • Flexible Solutions: Caters to both small networks and large enterprises with adjustable features and offerings.
  • Multi-Site Management: Ideal for MSPs thanks to its capability to oversee networks across multiple locations.
  • User-Friendly Configuration: Employs an object-based configuration system that simplifies setup and management.


  • Limited Initial Experience: Potential users may prefer a trial period to explore the service, rather than a scheduled demo.

The FWaaS is an edge service and it fronts all of your business’s communications with the world, so it is able to present a single entry point to front a distributed workforce. Request a demo to get started.


Perimeter 81 FWaaS is our top pick for a NextGen firewall because it has all of the advantages of a cloud service while fully protecting your endpoints and services no matter where in the world they are located. The FWaaS is located away from your network and protects the link from its base through to your facilities with encryption. This service also manages secure connections between all of your sites, providing one entry point for a distributed business.

Request a Demo and Start:

OS: Cloud-based

2. Fortinet FortiGate

FortiGate 7000E Series

Fortinet FortiGate is a series of next-gen firewalls that includes an intrusion prevention system that can automatically detect threats. The Fortinet Fortigate 7000 series is the gold standard of next-gen firewalls with threat detection powered by AI, which can inspect plain text or encrypted traffic and identify cyber-attacks.

Key Features:

  • Intrusion Prevention: Blocks cyber threats automatically with an advanced system.
  • AI-Powered Detection: Utilizes artificial intelligence to identify and neutralize threats effectively.
  • SSL Inspection: Inspects encrypted traffic to uncover hidden threats.
  • Unified Management: Offers a single console for comprehensive network control.

Why do we recommend it?

Fortinet FortiGate is a well-known cyber security product that traditionally has always been delivered as a network appliance. Fortinet now also offers the FortiGate firewall system as a virtual appliance or as a cloud-based system. The cloud version of FortiGate is a FWaaS and it can be integrated into a range of corporate security strategies.

In terms of throughput, Fortinet FortiGate offers 100 GBPS of NGFW throughput, 120 GBPS of intrusion prevention throughput, 50 GBPS of SSL inspection throughput, and 80 GBPS of threat protection throughput. The high throughput enhances performance and lowers latency for end-users.

Users can manage their network settings through the management console, which comes with features like compliance checklists you can use to manage your environment.

Who is it recommended for?

Fortinet offers a framework called the Security Fabric. This includes many elements but they are all anchored by the FortiGate product. It is possible to create a Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) with the cloud firewall managing traffic between the outside world and the corporate virtual network.


  • Advanced Threat Detection: Leverages AI and machine learning for cutting-edge threat identification.
  • Encrypted Traffic Analysis: Capable of uncovering threats within encrypted traffic through SSL inspection.
  • Enterprise-Friendly: Tailored for large organizations and managed service providers with its extensive capabilities.


  • Large-Scale Bias: Primarily designed for larger networks, potentially overkill for smaller setups.

Fortinet FortiGate is one of the top solutions to research if you want a top-of-range next-gen firewall. It is available as an appliance and virtual machine. You can request a demo from this link here.

Related post: The best Fortinet analyzers

3. Forcepoint NGFW

Forcepoint NGFW 3300 series

Forcepoint NGFW is a solution that combines a next-gen firewall with an SD-WAN for high availability. With Forcepoint NGFW you can deploy broadband, wireless, and dedicated lines on-premises with automated failover to protect against service disruptions. Through the dashboard you can view a top-down perspective of network activity, helping you to identify and respond to security events quickly.

Key Features:

  • Always-On Connectivity: Ensures high network availability with seamless failover.
  • Comprehensive Dashboard: Provides a complete overview of network activity for quick threat identification.
  • Automatic Failover: Maintains network integrity by automatically switching to backup connections.
  • Malware Protection: Integrates advanced malware detection for real-time defense against zero-day threats.
  • Traffic Decryption: Efficiently decrypts and inspects traffic to prevent hidden malicious activities.

Why do we recommend it?

The Forcepoint NGFW is a network appliance that implements a package supporting the creation of a secure virtual network over the internet with a SASE strategy. The Forcepoint system also enables the creation of a Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA) by providing authentication, authorization, and accounting (AAA) functions.

The firewall comes with Forcepoint Advanced Malware Detection to detect zero-day ransomware threats. Zero-day protection is useful because it protects against unknown strains of malware and ransomware, reducing the chance of your network falling victim to the latest online threats.

At the application-level, Forcepoint NGFW provides whitelisting and blacklisting to control which applications can access the internet. Application controls are customizable so you can select which services will be able to access online services. The firewall also includes accelerated decryption to inspect HTTPS and SSL/TLS traffic to ensure that no malicious activity takes place.

Who is it recommended for?

The Forcepoint system is similar to the Perimeter81 platform because it provides a menu of services, each of which customers can choose to deploy or ignore, thus implementing ZTA, SD-WAN, or SASE strategies. As with the Perimeter81 system, this package is particularly beneficial for hybrid networks and companies that have a lot of remote workers.


  • Failover Support: Offers robust automated failover for consistent network reliability.
  • Cutting-Edge Malware Defense: Employs AI for proactive zero-day malware protection.
  • Rapid Traffic Inspection: Quickly scrutinizes vast amounts of traffic for threats, ensuring network safety.


  • Smaller Network Limitations: Less suitable for smaller network environments, focusing on enterprise needs.

Forcepoint NGFW is ideal for enterprises that require a high-availability and secure firewall solution. For pricing information, you need to contact the sales team to request a quote. You can request a demo from this link here.

4. Palo Alto Networks PA Series

Palo Alto Networks Pa-5200

Palo Alto Networks PA Series is a machine learning-powered next-gen firewall. With Palo Alto Networks PA Series you can use TLS/SSL decryption and inspection to monitor traffic and ensure that no encrypted malicious traffic gets through your defenses. There is also DoS protection to defend against brute-force attacks on your network.

Key Features:

  • Machine Learning Integration: Enhances threat detection and network analysis using machine learning.
  • Decryption Capabilities: Monitors encrypted traffic to prevent the infiltration of malicious content.
  • Quality of Service Management: Allows prioritization of traffic to optimize network performance.
  • Denial of Service Guard: Protects against DoS attacks, ensuring network resilience.
  • Proactive Threat Identification: Automates the detection of threats to maintain network security.

Why do we recommend it?

The Palo Alto Networks PA Series is a network appliance that processes all traffic coming into the network and going out as well. It implements anomaly detection and records activity according to different traffic segmentation rules but mainly builds records related to the activities of specific IP addresses.

The Palo Alto Network PA series comes with a range of administration options you can use to manage your network. For example, configurable QoS policies allow you to optimize network performance and determine which applications and users take priority.

A threat prevention feature uses payload-based signatures to block malware and zero-day attacks. Palo Alto Networks updates the signatures daily to ensure the firewall can detect the latest threats. In addition, URL filtering automatically detects and prevents web-based threats like phishing links and phishing sites.

Who is it recommended for?

This is a large physical device and is aimed at large organizations. The functions of the hardware firewall can be enhanced to provide an SD-WAN between the sites of a large organization. The device can also implement DDoS protection. Small businesses would get better value from a cloud-based FWaaS solution.


  • Intelligent Traffic Monitoring: Utilizes machine learning for comprehensive analysis and threat detection.
  • DoS Protection: Offers robust defenses against DoS and brute force attacks.
  • Customizable Network Prioritization: Features adjustable QoS settings for tailored network management.


  • Complex Setup: Advanced features require professional expertise for setup and ongoing management, making it less accessible for smaller operations.

Palo Alto Networks PA Series is one of the top firewalls for enterprises in the market for an advanced next-gen firewall with anomaly detection capabilities and QoS settings. For pricing information, you need to contact the company directly to request a quote. You can request a demo from this link here.

5. Juniper Networks SRX Series

Juniper Networks SRX series

Juniper Networks SRX Series is a range of firewalls and SD-WAN solutions designed for private, hybrid, and public cloud environments. The firewall addresses online threats head-on by scanning incoming traffic with deep packet inspection to identify viruses, malware, and other malicious attachments.

Key Features:

  • Hybrid Firewall: Combines firewall protection and SD-WAN for diverse network environments.
  • Threat Management: Unified approach to managing online threats effectively.
  • Advanced Prevention: Utilizes Juniper’s sophisticated threat prevention technologies.
  • Centralized Control: Simplifies security management across multiple locations from a single platform.

Why do we recommend it?

The Juniper Networks SRX Series is in direct competition with the hardware version of FortiGate and the Palto Alto PA Series. This service is also available as a virtual appliance over a hypervisor or a container system. The physical device is offered in a range of traffic throughput capacities.

The firewalls also come with Juniper Advanced Threat Prevention, which can identify known and unknown threats with machine learning and advanced malware analysis. Centralized security management gives users the option to manage the security settings of multiple locations from one place.

Who is it recommended for?

The Juniper system provides an ML-based next-gen firewall and can also implement traffic shaping. The hardware line has a very wide range of traffic capacities. However, these are all suitable for large to very large organizations. SMBs would be better off with the virtual appliance versions.


  • Cloud-Compatible: Excellently supports larger environments, including cloud integrations.
  • Smart Malware Protection: Harnesses AI and machine learning for proactive malware defense.
  • Integrated UTM: Provides comprehensive threat management within a single unit.


  • Pricing Transparency: Pricing details require direct inquiry, adding an extra step for interested parties.

Juniper Networks SRX Series is an excellent choice for enterprises that need to defend against day-one threats. For pricing information, you need to contact Juniper directly to request a quote. You can sign up to buy from this link here.

6. SonicWall Next-Generation Firewall TZ Series

SonicWall TZ Series

SonicWall’s Next-Generation Firewall TZ Series is a series of firewalls aimed at SMEs. The TZ Series offers zero-touch deployment so you can deploy devices to multiple locations and use Network Security Manager to centrally manage your network configurations.

Key Features:

  • Effortless Setup: Offers zero-touch deployment for simplified network expansions.
  • Advanced Inspection: Employs deep memory analysis to identify and block sophisticated cyber threats.
  • Enhanced Security: Features built-in storage and redundancy for uninterrupted protection.
  • Traffic Decryption: Scrutinizes encrypted traffic to reveal hidden dangers.

Why do we recommend it?

The SonicWall Next-Generation Firewall TZ Series is specifically designed for small and mid-sized businesses. These models are affordable and easy to set up – there is a model that has a wireless AP built into it. The physical device provides Real-Time Memory Inspection, Advanced Threat Protection, SSL offloading, and connection management as well as packet inspection.

With deep memory inspection, the TZ Series detects advanced cyber attacks such as ransomware and malware with shared threat intelligence that can detect zero-day threats. When combined with the intrusion prevention system and content filtering, the TZ Series provides comprehensive protection against all types of threats.

At the same time, SSL/TLS decryption looks out for threats hidden in encrypted traffic. For extra security, employees can access the network with the 802.11ac wireless SSL VPN.

Who is it recommended for?

The tool is aimed at SMBs but multi-site businesses will get the most value out of this tool. In a multi-site scenario, however, each site will need one of the appliances, which could work out quite expensive. However, you can implement virtual network strategies with these devices.SonicWall produces other models for large businesses.


  • User-Friendly Design: Boasts an intuitive interface for easy management and navigation.
  • Comprehensive Security: Offers extensive content filtering and effective policy management.
  • Remote Access: Integrates VPN services for secure, remote network access.


  • Cost Consideration for SMBs: Initial setup across multiple sites may be costly, affecting small to medium-sized businesses.

SonicWall’s Next-Generation Firewall TZ Series is a reliable option for SMEs looking for a next-gen firewall with a diverse selection of security features. To view pricing information for the TZ series you need to contact the sales team to request a quote. You can submit an inquiry from this link here.

7. Barracuda CloudGen Firewall Series

Barracuda CloudGen Firewall

Barracuda CloudGen Firewall is a next-gen firewall with traffic management and SD-WAN. The series comes with advanced threat protection and checks files against a regularly updated cryptographic hash database to identify malicious activity. If the system detects malicious activity it can respond with an automatic quarantine to control the problem.

Key Features:

  • Efficient Traffic Management: Ensures optimal network performance and control.
  • Seamless Connectivity: Facilitates SD-WAN for reliable, high-speed internet access across locations.
  • Cutting-Edge Threat Protection: Features advanced mechanisms to combat cyber threats.
  • Proactive Intrusion Defense: Offers robust intrusion detection and prevention capabilities.
  • Remote Connectivity: Provides VPN services for secure access from anywhere.

Why do we recommend it?

Barracuda CloudGen Firewall Series is available as a physical device and an on-site or cloud-installed virtual appliance. The cloud-hosted option competes with the cloud version of Fortinet FortiGate and the Perimeter81 system but it isn’t a FWaaS because you need to manage the software on your own cloud account.

An Intrusion Detection and Prevention System (IDS/IPS) provides protection against cyber threats. The IDS/IPS can detect network threats such as SQL injections, access control attempts, cross-site scripting, DoS/DDoS attacks, viruses, and spyware, so it can block even the most advanced attacks.

VPN capabilities enable remote users to connect to network resources with SSL and IPsec. The VPN is portal-based so that users can connect seamlessly. There is also a mobile portal for iOS, Android, and Blackberry devices that employees can access from a smartphone or tablet.

Who is it recommended for?

The Barracuda tool is suitable for businesses of all sizes. You can implement an SD-WAN strategy between sites with this tool and then protect that virtual network with the CloudGen firewall. The package provides a long list of protection services. The virtual appliance option will be of interest to small businesses.


  • Responsive Threat Mitigation: Automatically addresses malware with quick quarantine responses.
  • Comprehensive IDS/IPS: Effectively counters a wide array of network attacks.
  • Versatile VPN Support: Extends secure network access to mobile devices for flexibility.


  • Enterprise Focus: More advantageous for larger networks, potentially overlooking smaller business needs.

Barracuda CloudGen Firewall is a solution suitable for those that require advanced threat detection and automated response capabilities. You can order a trial from this link here.

8. Cisco FirePOWER Series

Cisco Firepower 2100 series

Cisco FirePOWER is a series of network firewalls with IPS and malware detection capabilities. The Cisco FirePOWER Series IPS can identify indicators of compromise within the network and automatically respond. Regular signature updates ensure the IPS is also ready to detect emerging online threats. At the same time, advanced malware protection detects and blocks malware from entering your network.

Key Features:

  • Intrusion Prevention: Identifies and mitigates compromise indicators efficiently.
  • Web Filtering: Categorizes and blocks access to harmful URLs.
  • Malware Defense: Actively prevents malware infiltrations into the network.
  • Policy Oversight: Centralizes control over security policies and threat management.

Why do we recommend it?

The exceptional feature of the Cisco FirePOWER Series is its intrusion prevention system. It can spot and block intruders without any extra investment in third-party security software. Cisco routers can implement traffic management including blocks on access to specific devices or zones. The firewall builds on that expertise.

Centralized policy management allows you to manage firewalls, application control, URL filtering, and malware protection. Here you can monitor discovered threats and begin the remediation process. There is also a URL filtering feature that can categorize over 280 million URLs with 80 different categories.

Who is it recommended for?

This firewall is able to manage traffic traveling ou to the internet as well as incoming traffic. This enables it to manage access from the protected network to cloud assets. This makes the tool ideal for businesses that have hybrid systems and also multiple sites. You can implement ZTA with this device as well.


  • Comprehensive Intrusion Alerts: Monitors both internal and external threats with precision.
  • Detailed Policy Management: Enables refined access controls and security settings.
  • Advanced URL Filtering: Provides extensive filtering capabilities across numerous categories.


  • Complex Setup: May present challenges for administrators new to Cisco environments.

The Cisco FirePOWER series is recommended for enterprises that need to secure public or private cloud environments. For pricing information, you need to contact the company directly to request a quote. You can contact the sales team here.

9. Sophos XG Series

Sophos XG 330

The Sophos XG series is a series of next-gen firewalls that use threat intelligence and intrusion prevention to block unknown threats. The Sophos XG Series’ threat intelligence uses deep learning to detect zero-day threats. This enables the firewall to follow up with automatic responses like quarantining the malicious content so it can’t spread to other systems.

Key Features:

  • Advanced Prevention: Utilizes intrusion prevention and deep learning for unmatched threat mitigation.
  • Intelligent Learning: Employs deep learning algorithms to identify and neutralize novel threats.
  • VPN Accessibility: Features comprehensive VPN support for secure remote connections.
  • Web and Email Security: Offers protection against web-based attacks and email threats.

Why do we recommend it?

The Sophos XG Series is a range of network appliances that implement anomaly detections for intrusion prevention and malware blocking. The package includes a VPN client to allow remote workers to connect into the network through the firewall. A device on each site helps multi-location businesses implement an SD-WAN.

A web application firewall provides protection against Layer 7 web-based attacks. Similarly, there is an anti-spam solution that protects the user’s inbox from threats like phishing attacks and spam.

Remote workers can easily connect to your network with a VPN client. The VPN client is available on Windows and macOS so that users can log into the network from wherever they are located. There are also application-based mobile VPN clients with IPSEC and SSL VPN.

Who is it recommended for?

This tool is very well suited for businesses that have a large number of home-based workers. Muti-site businesses will need to buy a device for each location, which pushes up costs but presents options for secure virtual networks. The device provides traffic inspection, intrusion prevention, and email inspection.


  • Zero-Day Threat Defense: Employs cutting-edge technology to detect and isolate new threats.
  • Versatile VPN Options: Supports a wide range of VPN protocols for flexible remote access.
  • Email Protection: Enhances security with effective spam and phishing prevention measures.


  • Pricing Clarity: Requires direct inquiry to Sophos for detailed pricing information.

The Sophos XG Series is suitable for enterprises that require all-around protection from private-network and web-based threats. You need to contact the company directly to request a quote for pricing information. You can sign up for the free trial here.

Next-gen firewall FAQs

What is the difference between UTM and next-generation firewall NGFW?

A next-generation firewall adds new functions to the traditional firewall tasks of blocking inbound connection requests. These include packet inspection, application layer data examination, threat intelligence, and intrusion detection measures. UTM stands for Unified Threat Management and this is a system that combines the activities of different security tools operating on a network. A firewall will be part of a UTM but it won’t include as many threat protection functions as a next-gen firewall.

Does NGFW have IPS?

IPS stands for “intrusion prevention system.” An IPS is an intrusion detection system (IDS) with added responses to shut down malicious activities. A firewall has IDS capabilities. You wouldn’t expect a firewall to detect a threat and then just let its traffic through and so you can be sure that the firewall will have playbooks to block intrusion. This makes a next-gen firewall an IPS system.

What layer does a NGFW use?

A next-generation firewall is an Application Layer tool, which is Layer 7. This is because a NGFW examines traffic across packets, so it is more than a Network Layer tool that would only be concerned with individual packets. It is also more than a Session Layer tool because it examines the contents of the packets. It is also higher than the Data Layer because the system deals with intent and function rather than just data, so it operates at the top layer of the OSI stack.