For many years, China has controlled the online content, news, and other media that Chinese people are allowed to watch, read, and listen to. To enact the policies necessary, China “erected” what has come to be known as the “Great Firewall of China.” This firewall blocks access to websites outside China, thereby limiting what residents can consume, including some popular sites from the United States, such as Facebook and YouTube, and many other sites that businesspeople use to conduct commerce within China and with Chinese companies.
To get around these restrictions, people have been using virtual private networks (VPNs), which mask a user’s Internet Protocol (IP) address, allowing you to make it appear as if your computer is in a different country. Then, when you are on a website or watching content, you can make it look as if you are in an accepted area. To prevent users from taking advantage of VPNs, China banned their use.
In addition to providing a way to hide your location, VPNs also come with significant security advantages. With a VPN, your connection is more secure because the data you send to and receive from the internet is encrypted. However, because VPNs have been banned in China, users must find an alternative method of securing their data. This is where a firewall comes into play.
With a Chinese Fortinet firewall, you can set up a secure connection that protects your data from malware and thieves. Even though you cannot benefit from the secure tunnel a traditional VPN creates for you, a firewall can give you comparable security, as it forms a shield around the data you exchange while using the internet.
Using Next-Gen Firewall in China
When you use a VPN, all data you receive and send while connected to the internet is encrypted. Your data travels through a tunnel, protected by encryption. If a hacker intercepts your data, all they get is a useless assortment of nonsensical letters, numbers, and characters.
These security features made using a VPN in China a safe way to browse the internet and watch your favorite content. Everything you watched, read, and listened to was hidden from the eyes and ears of outsiders, providing you with privacy. With VPNs banned, however, another security solution is needed: next-generation firewalls (NGFWs).
With an NGFW, you can still enjoy security while you use online services. They protect your network from threats using detailed and fast data packet inspection. They can also observe abnormal behavior that may signal a novel threat from either inside or outside your network. In this way, even without a VPN, you can experience an equal—even superior—level of safety while using the internet in China, all without breaking China’s laws.
Best Next-Gen Firewall: Fortinet FortiGate vs. Check Point NGFW
China’s ban on VPNs enables the Chinese government to monitor the internet activity of its residents. China is very interested in minimizing the potentially negative impact other countries and their cultures may have on the Chinese people. By limiting the internet content residents can access, the government can better control the perspectives that may influence their thinking.
If someone uses a VPN, they can subvert this process and violate the principles China is trying to instill in its people. Therefore, the ban on VPNs is seen as a necessary step to shield the residents of China from corrupt foreign influences.
Fortinet FortiGate NGFW
Fortinet’s FortiGate NGFW comes with a combination of features that make it an ideal choice for use in China. It has an intrusion prevention system (IPS) that detects and addresses threats before they enter your network. It also features web filtering, which allows your organization to limit which websites those on your network are allowed to visit, such as websites that impact productivity, those with known threats, or others. FortiGate also features secure socket layer (SSL) inspection, which intercepts traffic on your network, decrypts it, and then inspects it to make sure no malicious content passes through.
Much of the encryption used, such as SSL and transport layer security (TLS), can also be used by cybercriminals to hide cyberattacks. To address this issue, the FortiGate NGFW uses artificial intelligence (AI) to identify encrypted traffic, including that which falls under the latest version of TLS.
FortiGate has been heralded as an effective solution by independent bodies charged with reviewing NGFWs. It has earned a reputation for providing automated and integrated security to defend against a variety of new threats.
According to an NSS Labs 2019 report, the FortiGate 500E NGFW produced a 98.96% exploit block rate and prevented 100% of live exploits. FortiGate delivered deeper inspections with high SSL and TLS performance while detecting threats within encrypted traffic. NSS Labs also reported that FortiGate had the highest SSL performance and the least amount of data degradation.
Check Point NGFW
Check Point has a reputation for delivering solid solutions within the cybersecurity space. It has been innovative in its approach to enterprise firewalls, delivering some options that have come to be viewed as industry standards. Check Point’s NGFW, Quantum Security Gateway, was built using the Infinity architecture. It has the ability to scale up to 1.5 Tbps of throughput as it protects a network from threats.
Check Point’s NGFW can safeguard an organization’s entire attack surface while still maintaining an adequate level of protection and data delivery. Check Point also has a considerable research team that helps provide the insights it uses in its NGFW. The research identifies and dissects the behavior of the most recent cyber threats.
Check Point’s solutions all make use of ThreatCloud, a cloud-based knowledge base for security intelligence. They also employ SandBlast zero-day protection, which focuses on stopping as-yet unknown malware and targeted attacks.
Check Point’s NGFW also incorporates a unified security solution called R80.40, which increases the efficiency of security across clouds, Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices, and on-premise networks. This gives users enhanced visibility into several attack points, Uniform Resource Locator (URL) filtering—which limits the websites people within your network can visit—and the ability to pinpoint which internal networks you want to control.
Benefits of Using NGFW
With an NGFW, you get several advantages. You can protect individual applications with an intrusion detection system (IDS) and an IPS. With IDS and IPS, you can detect, analyze, and respond to pre-identified threats, those that reveal themselves with abnormal behavior, and out-of-the-ordinary, potentially suspicious user behavior. You also get multi-layered protection that covers Layers 2 to 7 of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model, which segregates the 7 layers of network transmission.
An NGFW does all this at higher speeds than a traditional firewall, which typically produces slower speeds because it has to deal with more devices and security protocols. With an NGFW, you can add devices and protocols without worrying about drastic speed differences.
When using the Fortinet NGFW in China, you get all the benefits of a powerful NGFW, as well as a secure VPN alternative. FortiGate gives you the option to choose which services and protections to use, which makes it easier to fit within your current IT infrastructure. FortiGate is a powerful tool to help an organization conform to Chinese law while maintaining the security of its network, as well as the teammates and staff that use it.