Jan 26 2024

Review: Barracuda CloudGen Firewall VF50 Helps Federal Agencies Protect Many Assets

This virtual security appliance secures as many as 50 assets, no matter where they’re located.

As the federal government works to improve its customer experience, it’s discovering the challenges that come with complex, always-on environments. Agencies are building complicated hybrid environments that include on-premises and cloud assets, legacy equipment, public-facing websites and more.

Those assets and that complexity allow the government to serve more citizens more efficiently, but they also expose agencies to additional risk and create a larger attack surface for cybercriminals. The assets need protection, but installing security appliances for each one or at every location creates management challenges that all but defeat the purpose.

Barracuda has a better way to protect everything at the same time, regardless of where it’s located or what kind of IT asset it is. The next-generation CloudGen Firewall is a virtual appliance that can be installed almost anywhere, on-premises or in the cloud.

The VF50 model, which I evaluated, is also easily configured to protect up to 50 IP addresses, so it can work with multiple sites and assets at the same time.

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The Barracuda CloudGen Firewall Is Easy to Deploy

Installing the VF50 is straightforward for anyone who has experience with firewalls. It works with most cloud providers or can be installed on a workstation or server with at least 2 gigabytes of RAM and 60GB of free hard-drive space.

You can use up to two CPU cores to drive the VF50, which provides a good amount of throughput and support for simultaneous operations. (Users who need more can upgrade to the VF100 or above.)

DISCOVER: IT modernization can help federal agencies improve their security.

The VF50 provides all of the protection users have come to expect from a quality firewall, plus quite a few advanced security features that form a defense-in-depth strategy to ensure that nearly every threat thrown against it gets caught.

The first level of protection consists of intrusion prevention and rule-based blocking, application control, dynamic routing, signature-based protection blocking and web filtering.

More advanced protections include static code inspection, SSL interception, behavior analysis and detailed reporting with analytics. Clearly, the VF50 is much more than just a firewall.

Barracuda CloudGen Firewall


The Barracuda CloudGen Firewall Helps Better Protect Your Files

But wait, there’s more: At the high end of its onboard protections is a sandbox where the VF50 places suspicious files or code, detonating any attachments that were not fully identified by the previous layers of security.

Any threat detected there is not only stopped but also studied by the VF50 so that similar threats can be blocked without going through the sandboxing process again. That saves resources and prevents shotgun-type attacks from overloading the firewall or bogging down operations.

The VF50 was able to stop all of the polymorphic threats tossed at it from my in-house malware zoo, as well as several that were crafted on the fly with stealth and other obfuscation techniques.

The VF50 was even able to stop zero-day attacks using its defense-in-depth capabilities. Only one threat that I crafted made it all the way to the sandbox, and none got past the firewall completely.

All of this makes the Barracuda CloudGen Firewall VF50 a great choice for agencies that have expanded to new locations or into the cloud, or that maintain a hodgepodge of IT assets to keep the mission moving forward.


PRODUCT TYPE: Next-generation virtual firewall
FIREWALL DEFENSES: Application control, intrusion prevention, web filtering, anti-malware/anti-spam, advanced sandboxing, site-to-site VPN
COMPATIBLE CLOUD PLATFORMS: VMwareCitrix XenServerOracle VirtualBoxMicrosoft AzureAmazon Web ServicesGoogle Cloud Platform

The VF50 Combines Security with Control

The greatest asset of the Barracuda CloudGen Firewall VF50 is its ability to protect as many as 50 IP addresses against advanced threats. Even more impressive: The user interface allows administrators to control all of those defenses from a single location.

As networks expand both on-premises and into the cloud, the VF50 becomes an increasingly good choice for protection because of its ability to defend so many assets in so many locations. There is no need to purchase a new CloudGen firewall each time a new asset is added behind the firewall, unless you exceed 50 IPs.

Despite the complexity of the VF50’s defenses, the user interface makes it easy to manage, and most processes are fully automatic after the initial setup. Simply point the VF50 to the location or asset you want to protect, then sit back and let it do its thing.

The VF50 will configure all of the application programming interfaces that control access to cloud features and will link those assets to the protection engine. The user just needs to add any additional firewall rules; for instance, specifying websites that are allowed or restricted, or adding protection policies that go beyond simply keeping threats away

This ease of use allows a single administrator to set up complete firewall protection for a branch’s or remote office’s computing assets, even if there are no qualified IT personnel onsite — and it can be done through the cloud, without ever having to visit that location physically.

CONSIDER: What are the three considerations an agency must make to secure remote access?

Threat Intelligence Network Adds Layers of Protection

Another advantage to using the VF50 is that Barracuda maintains a deep threat intelligence network that is constantly discovering new attack techniques and patterns and adding that data to its appliances.

This is also an automatic process, so when the VF50 updates, it protects every covered asset from the latest network, email, website and web browser threats, all without the help of an administrator.

Powerful protection coupled with a surprisingly easy-to-use interface provides VF50 administrators the power, control and automation they need to keep ahead of the most dangerous threats gunning for their highly distributed modern networks. It can provide powerful protection with surprisingly little effort.


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