10 Powerful Managed Firewalls to Protect Your Expanding Cloud Footprint

Cloud infrastructure adoption continues its meteoric rise across enterprises. 80% of companies now run applications in public, private or hybrid cloud environments. This seismic shift calls for a relook at traditional network security boundaries.

As organizations accelerate cloud migration, the growing remote worker population and adoption of SaaS apps magnify the attack surface and security management overhead using old-school firewalls. Here‘s where cloud-ready managed firewall services come in very handy.

Managed Firewalls – Perimeter Security for the Cloud Era

A managed firewall offers network traffic inspection, access control and threat protection capabilities without requiring any on-premise hardware or software. A service provider sets up and administers virtualized firewall instances tailored to your cloud environment type.

Compared to firewall appliances, managed firewalls provide significant TCO savings and day-to-day operational ease for securing cloud workloads. Other benefits include:

Rapid time-to-protection
Get started instantly without lengthy hardware procurement and complex setup

Flexibility & scalability
Firewall capacity adjusts automatically based on traffic patterns

Leading providers handle monitoring, maintenance, troubleshooting

Consistent security
Apply unified policies across regions, accounts and platforms

Improved visibility
Cloud-based control panel for centralized monitoring and reporting

As per MarketsAndMarkets, the cloud-based firewall services market is projected to reach $6.07 billion by 2026 at a CAGR of 14.2%.

Now let‘s take a closer look at 10 capable options for managed firewalls tailored to secure cloud environments:

1. Google Cloud Platform Firewall

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) provides native virtual firewalls tightly integrated using Google VPC Service for firewall policy and route management across Compute Engine and GKE clusters.

Key Capabilities

Secure inter-service communication
Lock down traffic between workloads in Serverless VPC connector or peered VPCs

Audit logging
Firewall policy life cycle logging ensures compliance

Anthos integration
Extend consistent ACLs to hybrid/multi-cloud Anthos environments

Use Case Example

A game developer uses GCP firewall rules to limit traffic to game servers from a specific client app VPC connector and SSH admin VPC for patching purposes only. This helped pass a recent audit.

2. AWS Web Application Firewall (WAF)

The AWS WAF is designed to filter malicious web traffic targeting your applications hosted on Amazon CloudFront, API Gateway and Application Load Balancers.

Key Capabilities

Rate-based rules
Allows blacklisting of bad bots doing content scrapping by enforcing request rate thresholds

Lambda@Edge integration
Execute serverless code to take custom actions on WAF filtered requests

AWS Shield integration
Provides amplification & reflection DDoS attack resilience for Layer 3 and 4

Use Case Example

A major news publisher uses WAF custom rules to block fake Googlebot visits from a rogue server to prevent stats inflation and save on unnecessary hosting costs.

3. Check Point CloudGuard Network Security

Check Point vSEC consolidates essential network security functions like next-gen firewall, IPS, anti-malware and application control through a unified management pane.

Key Capabilities

IaaS hardening blueprints
Predefined firewall templates for securing public cloud servers, remote user VPN etc.

Nano agent for cloud workloads
Extend firewall protection to ephemeral entities like containers and serverless

Event-driven automation
Custom policies to auto-scale security gateways during detected attacks

Use Case Example

A healthcare startup uses Check Point blueprint to lock down patient record databases in the private cloud to HIPAA compliance levels. vSEC also encrypts site-to-site VPN traffic with hardware appliances.

4. Palo Alto Networks VM-Series Firewalls

The Palo Alto Networks next-generation VM-Series firewalls enable consistent visibility and enforcement irrespective of users, applications or infrastructure type.

Key Capabilities

SaaS security
Inline proxy capability for break-out traffic going to sanctioned cloud apps

CN-series integration
Automated verification of denied connections against threat feeds

Prisma Cloud
Data loss prevention by coupling with compute instance security capabilities

Use Case Example

A manufacturing company uses dynamic address groups in VM-series rules to restrict outbound SSH/RDP traffic from on-prem VMs to locked-down production database subnets in Azure per IT recommendations.

5. Barracuda CloudGen Firewall

Barracuda Networks provide hypervisor-level network security optimized for performance without hardware dependencies.

Key Capabilities

Centralized management
Unified security policies across distributed public cloud deployments

IT asset discovery
Agent scans dynamically map unknown instances to help uncover shadow IT

Failover clusters
Ensures high availability with multiple active firewall instances and configurable health checks

Use Case Example

An e-commerce business runs WAF-enabled load balanced CloudGen Firewalls in AWS autoscaling groups across availability zones to maintain 100% uptime during flash sale events.

6. Zscaler Internet Access

Zscaler Internet Access (ZIA) is an inline cloud proxy that examines inbound and outbound application traffic across all ports and protocols.

Key Capabilities

Cloud sandbox
Isolates and inspects unknown files using static + behavioral techniques

Cloud browse isolation
Executes risky web sessions away from endpoint to mitigate malware

Cloud DLP
Scans cloud storage like Box, G Suite and OneDrive for sensitive data

Use Case Example

A consulting major enforces consistent policies to restrict unauthorized third-party cloud app access by geo-location using ZIA business policies to enhance security and data privacy.

7. Fortinet FortiGate Cloud

The FortiGate-VM brings next-generation firewall capabilities like SD-WAN functionality for dynamic cloud networks.

Key Capabilities

Cloud-scale logging
Normalization and correlation of FW logs with FortiAnalyzer

Flexible licensing
Mix and match annual, perpetual bundled options

FortiOS features
NGFW capabilities like web filtering, antivirus, vulnerability scans and more

Use Case Example

An online university provisions FortiGates across AWS regions to realize consistent rules for student access by geography using Fortinet‘s Fabric Management framework.

8. Cisco Secure Cloud Firewall

Cisco Secure Firewall Cloud unifies control and policy visibility across hybrid networks via Talos threat intelligence.

Key Capabilities

Umbrella integration
Extend secure web gateway functionality to Cisco firewalls

Tetration overlay
Enforce application whitelist policies based on workload behaviors

AMP integration
Block command and control communications when compromised hosts detected

Use Case Example

A bank uses Talos IoC insights for detecting C2 activity to block suspicious domains through Cisco firewalls. Umbrella and Duo Verify handle remote access.

9. Juniper SRX Series Firewall

The Juniper SRX Series firewalls simplify security administration across highly scalable network environments with centralized CX Command Center.

Key Capabilities

Container firewall plugin
Fine-grained application traffic control for K8s pods and services

Automation toolchain
Integrates with Salt, Ansible, Terraform and other DevOps tools

Advanced anti-malware
On-box machine learning based command and control blocking

Use Case Example

A media agency leverages SRX chassis firewalls to provide granular visibility into SSL encrypted traffic using information extracted by the decrypted session collector package configured on the control plane.

10. Sophos XG Firewall

The Sopos Central Firewall platform offers synchronized security Heartbeat sharing between endpoints and firewall to enable better protection.

Key Capabilities

Phish Threat joins AWS Security Hub
Correlate suspicious email attachments and URLs with VPC flow logs

Azure Sentinel integration
Stream firewall syslog events for SIEM analytics and correlation

Guardicore integration
Automate micro-segmentation changes based on firewall detections

Use Case Example

An accounting firm uses Sophos Connect client VPN along with firewall rules to restrict financial database access to corporate laptops running approved antivirus scans minimizing chances of data exfiltration during tax seasons.

Key Evaluation Criteria

With multiple strong options, you must align managed firewall selection to your business environment considering aspects like:

Hybrid networking – Site-to-site VPN, SD-WAN capabilities
Threat intelligence – Sandboxing, global threat feeds
Admin flexibility – On-cloud or premise management
Consolidation – Integrations with endpoint, email, network security
Business size – Bandwidth, number of locations/users supported
In-house skills – Appliance vs cloud-native complexity

The Bigger Cloud Security Picture

While managed firewalls offer turnkey protection, zero trust and defense-in-depth remain paramount in the cloud. Core considerations include:

Access controls– Identity governance, privileged access management

Data security – Storage encryption, data loss prevention integration

Code risks – Infrastructure as code scanning, web app security testing

Compliance visibility – Cloud security posture management, audit-ready policies

Endpoint security – Provision firewall access rules based on device health checks

By tackling adjacent areas, you can maximize ROI from the managed firewall and significantly enhance cloud protection maturity.


This overview of top managed firewall solutions proves that aligning offerings to your operating environments, feature expectations and business needs is vital for optimal value.

Getting granular with policies, implementing compensating controls and continuous security monitoring help fulfill the shared responsibility.

Reach out in comments if you wish to have specific firewall selection questions answered!