A few months ago, I received an email from one of my customers, a senior IT leader at a state government agency. He had a problem on his hands. The organization’s digital footprint was growing, and its need for bandwidth seemed insatiable. No matter how much new capacity the agency added to the network, it was quickly consumed during peak periods.

The agency’s IT leaders needed better insight into what was driving bandwidth demands and suspected that much of the use was not related to work. On top of that, the agency’s existing firewall was unable to keep up with these bandwidth demands and required an upgrade. The situation looked dire, and my customer didn’t have a good sense of how to get things under control. The agency needed ideas on how to improve security, better manage its networks and control IT costs.

When we spoke, I suggested that the agency consider replacing its existing stateful inspection firewall with a next-generation firewall. My customer knew that NGFWs represent the state of the art in security technology but feared that the organization didn’t have the financial resources to purchase one and lacked the technical staff to support its operation. As we spoke, it became clear to both of us that implementing an NGFW was both technically wise and fiscally sound.

Benefits of a Next-Generation Firewall

The primary advantage of a next-generation firewall is the advanced security technology that these solutions bring to the table. The threat landscape is constantly changing, and an NGFW can leverage threat intelligence information to identify and prevent unknown malicious malware from getting into a network. In addition, NGFWs combine multiple security technologies on a single platform, including intrusion prevention, application visibility and web security capabilities.

From a financial perspective, the agency actually lowered its costs. While upgrading to the NGFW was more expensive than simply replacing the legacy firewall technology, using an NGFW allowed the agency to replace three existing security products with a single platform. The agency replaced its firewall, intrusion prevention system and web security solution with a single product capable of meeting all three needs. The NGFW upgrade cost was far less than the agency’s combined planned replacement costs for all three solutions.

The savings didn’t end with those direct costs, however. Like many government agencies, the technology team at this organization was chronically understaffed and lacked the specialists needed to adequately operate and monitor existing security technology. Consolidating security solutions allowed the agency to consolidate management responsibilities and dramatically increase staff effectiveness. It also gave the agency’s IT professionals better visibility into how bandwidth is utilized in their environment.

Three months after deploying the product, my customer is incredibly pleased with the early results. The solution’s centralized monitoring and management capability alone justifies the investment, but the agency’s IT leaders are also thrilled to have answers to their other security needs without purchasing additional products. They’ve identified several unnecessary, bandwidth-intensive applications running on the network and decreased the need for additional bandwidth. And, most important, they now rest comfortably, knowing that the agency’s networks are protected against cybersecurity threats with the best available technology.

Want to learn more about how to combat modern security threats? Read “The Cybersecurity Insight Report” from CDW.

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