It's time for businesses to realise that network firewalls do not protect them from everything and that most attacks are actually happening at the application layer rather than the network layer, according to F5 Networks' managing director for ANZ, Kurt Hansen.
"CIOs are sleeping at night because they think they're safe because they bought some firewalls. They're deluding themselves. Network firewalls aren't enough," says Hansen, adding that there is an urgent need for businesses to get onboard with dedicated application-based strategies.
"Over the last two years we have seen most customers inundated with cyber attacks, more pronounced at the application layers than the network layers," says Hansen.
The challenge also represents an opportunity for security-focused channel partners. F5 Networks has announced a new application delivery firewall solution, which the company claims to be the world's fastest, to protect both applications and data, as well as the network infrastructure. The vendor says this firewall solution is the first in the industry to unify a network firewall with traffic management, application security, user access management, and DNS security capabilities within an intelligent services framework. "This is a great new tool to expand [the partners'] business offering," Hansen says. "We've become more strategic for some of the security partners looking at F5 now."
According to Hansen, the company "came out of the closet" in terms of security in the last couple of months, after a decade making its mark as a load balancing vendor.
"We became the best at load balancers a decade ago. That put us in a very strategic place in the datacentre, so we had to develop a full proxy architecture and we developed our own hardware. Along the way, we added a lot of features, including security ones," he says.
The new solution also includes a management console that wasn't available with previous F5 firewalls. "We didn't have a management console, we hadn't bothered with that until now," says Hansen.
The vendor has recently launched a security-specific accreditation programme for channel partners, to provide them with in-depth understanding of the entire F5 security portfolio, including the vendor's datacentre firewall solution.
F5 Networks is distributed in New Zealand by Westcon, Distribution Central and Observatory Crest.