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AWS Network Firewall Versus Azure Firewall: An Overview and Key Features
Cyber Security, Cloud - February 25, 2022
With cyberattacks becoming more prevalent on a daily basis, it is critical to safeguard your
applications and networks on-Prem or in cloud with a security device to protect against attacks
that originate from outside trying to breach the perimeter. While offering extensive access
control, network firewalls can defend your network and application against dangers such as
malware, botnets, and DDoS assaults.
There are two methods for incorporating an advanced firewall into your network: through the use
of a physical security device or the use of a software-based firewall. In the classic enterprise
model, network traffic is routed through a physical cybersecurity device which is changing with
the cloud services and application hosting.
The software-based firewalls, which are gaining popularity due to several advantages like
versatility, cost, deployment, configuration and maintenance ease. Additionally, they are
quicker to learn. The enterprise cloud firewall market is dominated by two big competitors.
These are the Azure and AWS Firewalls.
Let us examine their distinguishing characteristics.
Azure Network Firewall
Azure Firewall is a cloud-based, managed security service that secures the resources in your
Azure Virtual Network. It comes with high availability and unconstrained cloud scalability built
in. You may create, enforce, and log policies for apps and network connections across
subscriptions and virtual networks centrally. Azure Firewall assigns your virtual network
components a static public IP address, which enables external firewalls to detect traffic coming
from your virtual network. For monitoring and analysis, the service is completely integrated
with Azure Monitor.
Azure Firewall includes the following capabilities:
Scalability: Azure Firewall can scale up to meet changing network traffic flows, so you
don't have to account for peak traffic.
Filtering criteria for application FQDNs: You can specify a list of fully qualified
domain names (FQDNs) for outbound HTTP/S traffic, including wild cards. This functionality is
self-contained and does not need SSL termination.
Filtering rules for network traffic: Allow or refuse network filtering rules may be
created centrally by source and destination IP address, port, and protocol. Azure Firewall is
entirely stateful, which enables it to differentiate between legal packets for various sorts of
connections. Across numerous accounts and virtual networks, rules are enforced and logged.
FQDN identifiers: FQDN tags make it simple to let traffic from well-known Azure service
networks over your firewall. For instance, suppose you wish to enable network traffic from
Windows Update to pass through your firewall. You add the Windows Update tag to an application
rule. Now, Windows Update network activity can get via your firewall.
Support for outbound SNAT: The IP addresses of all outgoing virtual network traffic are
converted to the public IP address of the Azure Firewall (Source Network Address Translation).
You can detect and permit traffic to and from remote Internet destinations that originates in
your virtual network.
DNAT assistance: Inbound data transmission to your firewall's public Network is converted
and redirected to the private IP addresses on your virtual networks using DNS (Destination
Network Address Translation).
Logging in Azure Monitor: All events are linked with Azure Monitor, which enables you to
store logs in a storage server, stream them to an Event Hub, or transmit them to Log Analytics.
Amazon Web Services Firewall
AWS Network Firewall eases the procedure of implementing critical network security for all your
Virtual Private Clouds (VPCs). The service is simple to configure, and scales automatically
based on your network activity, so you don't have to worry about building or managing any
architecture. The configurable rules engine in AWS Network Firewall enables you to create
firewall rules that provide fine-grained control over network traffic, such as limiting outbound
Server Message Block (SMB) queries to prevent the spread of harmful behaviour. Additionally, you
may import rules defined in commonly used open-source rule formats and allow interfaces with
managed intelligence feeds provided by AWS partners. AWS Network Firewall provides a web based
Firewall console, enabling you to create policies Network communication rules and then apply
them centrally across your VPCs and accounts.
Inspect traffic between VPCs
AWS Network Firewall inspects and assists in controlling traffic across VPCs to conceptually
isolate networks running critical applications or line-of-business workloads. AWS Network
Firewall's stateful visibility at the network and application levels enables it to provide
fine-grained network security controls for VPCs that are linked via AWS Transit Gateway.
Outbound traffic filtration
AWS Network Firewall enables outward traffic filtering by URL/domain name, IP address, and
content to prevent data loss, assist in meeting regulatory standards, and block known malware
instances. AWS Network Firewall provides hundreds of rules that may be used to block network
traffic from known malicious IP addresses or domain names.
Secure AWS Direct Connect and VPN communications
AWS Network Firewall secures AWS Direct Connect and VPN traffic between AWS Direct Connect and
client devices and on-premises environments that employ AWS Transit Gateway.
Internet traffic filtering
AWS Network Firewall assists in preventing intrusions by analysing all inbound Internet traffic
with capabilities such as Access Controls (ACL) rules, stateful surveillance, protocol
recognition, and intrusion prevention.
Both AWS and Azure follow a pay-as-you-go model for firewalls. You pay an hourly rate for each
firewall endpoint and a data processing fee per gigabyte of data processed by the firewall. The
price you pay for AWS services is entirely dependent on the use case and deployment environment.
In case of Azure, threat intelligence is provided by the in-house Microsoft Security Threat
labs. Additionally, Azure'’s firewall is HIPAA-compliant and an ICSA-certified network firewall.
Cloud services and infrastructure are becoming critical components of your company’s
infrastructure and storage - this calls for secure firewall solutions that prioritise
operability and dependability. Firewall services built for Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web
Services (AWS) offer this level of security and support to organisations looking to protect
their data and apps – particularly those with less sophisticated requirements.
Thomas Harpham earns 30+ years of industry experience in Networking & Security Solutions and
extensive consulting experience with many small, medium, and large enterprises. Thomas has
worked with various clients across the globe to generate the solutions to meet their
requirements that include resiliency and scalability in the networking and security areas of IT,
leveraging existing and new tools.
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