Unleashing the Power of Azure Firewall: Which Solution Fits Your Business?

By Jackson Bain June 6, 2023

In today’s digital landscape, where cloud computing plays a pivotal role in business operations, ensuring robust security measures is more important than ever. Azure Firewall, a cloud-based network security service offered by Microsoft Azure, is a game-changer in protecting your cloud infrastructure. With its array of features and capabilities, Azure Firewall not only strengthens your network security but also streamlines management and reduces complexity. In this article, we will explore the numerous benefits of Azure Firewall and delve into why it should be an integral part of your cloud security strategy.

Network Security

Azure Firewall offers advanced network security capabilities to protect your cloud resources. By acting as a secure barrier between your Azure Virtual Network and the internet, Azure Firewall mitigates potential threats by inspecting and filtering traffic at layers 3, 4 and 7. It provides a stateful firewall that supports both inbound and outbound filtering, ensuring that only authorized traffic passes through.

Application-level Filtering

One of the standout features of Azure Firewall is its ability to perform deep packet inspection at the application layer. This enables fine-grained control over network traffic, allowing administrators to define and enforce application-specific rules. By analyzing traffic at the protocol level, Azure Firewall can identify and block potential threats, such as malicious payloads, unauthorized access attempts and application vulnerabilities.

High Availability and Scalability

Azure Firewall is designed for high availability and scalability, ensuring that your network security remains robust even during peak loads. It automatically scales based on network traffic volume, allowing seamless protection without compromising performance. Additionally, Azure Firewall supports availability zones, enabling you to distribute your firewall instances across multiple data centers for enhanced redundancy and fault tolerance.

Application FQDN Filtering

Azure Firewall offers the unique capability of filtering traffic based on fully qualified domain names (FQDNs). This feature allows administrators to create rules that allow or deny access to specific websites or services, enhancing control over outbound internet connectivity. By filtering traffic based on FQDNs, you can enforce compliance policies, restrict access to unauthorized services, and prevent data exfiltration.

Threat Intelligence Integration

To keep pace with evolving cyber threats, Azure Firewall integrates with Microsoft Threat Intelligence. By leveraging threat intelligence feeds, Azure Firewall can identify and block traffic originating from known malicious IP addresses, domains or URLs. This proactive approach strengthens your network security by minimizing the risk of attacks from known threat actors and botnets.

Logging and Monitoring Capabilities

Azure Firewall provides extensive logging and monitoring capabilities, enabling administrators to gain visibility into network traffic and security events. You can leverage Azure Monitor to collect firewall logs and metrics, allowing you to analyze and detect anomalies or suspicious activities. Additionally, by integrating with Azure Sentinel, you can centralize security event management and benefit from advanced threat detection and response capabilities.

Azure Firewall SKUs

Azure offers a few SKUs to pick from: Azure Firewall Basic, Azure Firewall Standard and Azure Firewall Premium.

Azure Firewall Basic is intended for small and medium-sized businesses with throughput needs up to 250Mbps, designed to provide essential network security capabilities at a lower cost. Features are limited but do include built in high availability, application FQDN filtering rules, outbound SNAT support and threat intelligence in alert mode. It lacks features such as advanced threat intelligence, URL filtering, TLS inspection and threat intelligence-based filtering. If your organization requires these advanced capabilities, you may need to consider the standard Azure Firewall or other third-party security solutions.

Azure Firewall Standard provides more advanced network security features and comprehensive protection for your cloud infrastructure by providing layer 3, 4, 7 filtering and threat intelligence feeds directly from Microsoft Cybersecurity. Standard includes a large range of features, such as stateful packet inspection, application and URL filtering, threat intelligence and intrusion detection, TLS inspection, high availability and scalability. By leveraging Azure Firewall Standard, organizations with more advanced security requirements can strengthen their security posture and ensure the integrity and availability of their cloud environment. Standard is recommended for businesses that require a solution that can handle up to 30Gbps of traffic and desire features such as threat intelligence, web filtering and DNS proxy.

Azure Firewall Premium is a newer SKU (2021) and includes all the features of standard but adds Data Loss Prevention (DLP) and a few other Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) items such as a fully managed Intrusion Detection and Prevention System (IDPS) as well as inbound and outbound TLS termination. Premium is designed around the customer that wishes to secure highly sensitive applications, requires throughputs up to 100Gbps, and wishes to take advantage of Azure’s top of the line DLP and ATP features.

So, which firewall is best for your business? As a Microsoft Premier Partner, ivision has extensive experience and expertise with Azure. Contact us today to discuss how ivision can help secure your Azure cloud environment with one of Microsoft’s robust firewall solutions.