A Firewall for the Modern Internet

22 October 2020

Your business has many valuable assets which if lost, stolen or damaged could cripple your business. One asset that often goes unnoticed is your company network and databases which are accessed daily through various devices and house many of your most valuable assets.

Your network security is what determines the safety of your databases, and your first line of defence in any network security is the firewall. Leading security company Sophos recently commissioned a survey to assess network security and the challenges faced when trying to balance performance, privacy and protection. 

Expect to find a threat on your network 

The first takeaway from the survey is that organizations should expect to be hit by a  cyberthreat. Over two-thirds (68%) of respondents fell victim to a cyberattack in the last year.  

This propensity to fall victim to a threat is not the result of a lack of protection: 91% of affected organizations were running up-to-date cybersecurity protection at the time of the attack. However, good intentions and good practices are clearly not enough: there are still holes in organizations’ defences that enable threats to get through.  

The survey also highlighted the wide range of tactics and techniques used by cybercriminals to disseminate their attacks. Data from IT teams that were aware of how the threat entered  their organization reveals that: 

  • 33% entered via email 
  • 30% entered via a malicious or compromised website 
  • 23% via software they were using 
  • 14% via a USB stick/external device 

In 20% of cases, however, the IT team was unaware of the threat’s entry point. This lack of visibility highlights a significant challenge for IT teams when it comes to securing their organization: if you don’t know how the threat got in it’s difficult to prevent future attacks. 

The longer the threat remains in the network, the greater the risk to the organization. The survey revealed that, on average, it took organizations 13 hours to detect threats in their network. Clearly in this time hackers have the opportunity to deliver myriad payloads.  

At the same time, 17% of IT managers don’t know how long the threat was in their environment before they found it, further demonstrating the visibility issues IT teams face when it comes to network security.

Firewall enhancement wish list 

Better threat visibility topped the global list of improvements the survey respondents want from their firewall, with 36% including it in their top three desired enhancements. The fact that visibility outranked (just!) better protection to the top spot illustrates just how significant an issue lack of insight is for IT teams. 

Given the prevalence of network threats, it’s not surprising that better perimeter security was also high on the respondents’ wish list, with 34% including it in their top three desired enhancements.  

However, security wasn’t the only area where respondents wanted to see improvements in their firewall. Three in ten listed the better performance as one of the most important improvements they need from their firewalls.  

Overall, a clear picture emerged: it’s no longer a question of better performance or better protection. Rather, today’s IT teams require both performance and protection.

The Achilles heel of network security 

The survey revealed that organizations are not decrypting their network traffic. There are a number of reasons for this:  concerns about firewall performance; a lack of proper policy controls; poor user experience; and complexity. 

The reality is that most organizations need to carefully balance performance, privacy, and security.  However, they lack the tools needed to do so effectively and efficiently. As a result, they are choosing to allow encrypted traffic to pass unchecked, putting themselves at risk from hidden network threats. 

This inability to balance performance, privacy, and protection is the Achilles heel, the hidden weakness, of many next-gen firewalls and unidentified threat management solutions. 

At the same time, a significant minority of survey respondents were unaware of the need to decrypt network traffic. 

Introducing Sophos XG Firewall: Designed for the  modern encrypted internet  

The Xstream Architecture in XG Firewall offers a ground-up solution to eliminating the network traffic blind spot without impacting performance. It delivers: 

  • High performance – a lightweight streaming engine with high connection capacity 
  • Unmatched visibility – into your encrypted traffic flows and any errors 
  • Top security – supporting TLS 1.3 and all modern cypher suites with robust certificate validation 
  • Inspection of all traffic – being application and port agnostic 
  • A great user experience – with extensive interoperability to avoid breaking the internet  
  • Powerful policy tools – offering the perfect balance of performance, privacy, and protection 



Current trends indicate that hackers will continue to aggressively exploit any weaknesses and will constantly be developing new tactics for cyberattacks. Your company needs a partner who will remain at the forefront of technology to keep up with the very latest in cybersecurity trends. Maintaining the status quo will not be enough to keep you secure and advanced strategies focused on identifying, hunting and neutralizing threats.  


At the Tech Company, we partner with the very best industry experts to ensure that our solutions are crafted around the best. Experience has shown it to be true that the Sophos XG Firewall will deliver on its promise to balance your performance, protection and privacy needs.