NSS Labs Shares 2017 Next Generation Firewall Group Test Results

NSS Labs has announced the results of its Next Generation Firewall (NGFW) Group Test, testing 11 products from 10 market-leading vendors, in the key areas of security effectiveness and total cost of ownership (TCO). Of the NGFW vendors whose products had results published today, seven products received a “Recommended” rating, while four products received a “Caution” rating.

NGFWs are a critical component of a defense-in-depth strategy. The attack surface in enterprise environments is constantly expanding. This is for a number of reasons, including the proliferation of enterprise applications; mainstream adoption of bring your own device (BYOD) policies; hybrid cloud environments; operational requirements—such as IT and security policy enforcements; and the constant need to patch operating systems and devices. Enterprises are investing in NGFW perimeter defenses that address these requirements and reduce the attack vectors that cybercriminals can use to compromise their environments.

For this seventh iteration of the NSS Labs NGFW Group Test, the Test Methodologyincorporated additional use cases to support current real-world requirements for security efficacy and encryption. In particular, evasion techniques were expanded beyond active, in-the-wild threats to include new, weaponized attacks. Evasions are a growing concern as many exploits are capable of bypassing security measures using simple techniques that can be applied to HTTP traffic. More than 80% of the NGFW products tested missed evasions, and three moved from Recommended to Caution ratings. Many of these vendors have worked with NSS Labs to update their products so that they are able to detect these evasions in the future.

Key findings from the test:

  • Overall Security Effectiveness ranged from 25.8% to 99.9%, with seven of the 11 tested products achieving a rating greater than 78.5%.
  • TCO per Protected Mbps ranged from US$5 to US$105, with most tested products costing less than US$22 per protected Mbps.
  • The average Security Effectiveness rating was 67.3%; seven of the tested products received an above-average Security Effectiveness rating, and four of the tested products received a below-average Security Effectiveness rating.
  • The average TCO per Protected Mbps was US$25.2; eight of the tested products were rated as having above-average value, and three of the tested products were rated as having below-average value.
  • With more than 80% of the products tested failing to detect one or more evasions, the impact of missed evasions weighed heavily on the overall scoring for security effectiveness.

“The NGFW market is one of the largest and most mature security markets,” said Jason Brvenik, Chief Technology Officer at NSS Labs. “Threats are constantly evolving and in this year’s test, only two tested products were resistant to all tested evasions. Although the product scores were impacted, several vendors quickly patched their products after the test to improve security—a testament to their ability to respond to the evolving threat landscape. The findings of this year’s NGFW Group Test underscore the importance of employing layered defenses to keep pace with changes in the threat landscape.”

The following products were tested:

  • Barracuda NextGen Firewall F600.E20 firmware version 7.0.2
  • Check Point Software Technologies 15600 Next Generation Threat Prevention (NGTP) Appliance R77.20
  • Cisco Firepower 4110 v6.1.0.1
  • Forcepoint NGFW 3301 Appliance v6.1.2
  • Fortinet FortiGate 600D FortiOS v5.4.4 GA Build 1117
  • Fortinet FortiGate 3200D FortiOS v5.4.4 GA Build 1117
  • Juniper Networks SRX 4200 v15.1X49-D75.5
  • Palo Alto Networks PA-5250 PAN-OS 8.0.0
  • SonicWall NSA 6600 SonicOS 6.2
  • Sophos XG-750 Firewall v16.01
  • WatchGuard Firebox M4600 v11.10.7

NSS Labs is committed to providing empirical data and objective group test results that enable security organizations to make educated decisions about purchasing and optimizing security infrastructure products and services. As with all NSS Labs group tests, there is no fee for participation, and the test methodology will be in the public domain to provide transparency and to help enterprises understand the factors behind test results. Click here for more information about our group test policies.

Click here for more information on this test, and the test methodology used, or to purchase the individual Test Reports. Click here to download the Security Value MapTM, which provides a graphic comparison of Security Effectiveness and TCO across the tested products.