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Hillstone Networks: Innovators of the Smart Firewall

Legend has it that when the Greeks began their siege on Troy, the volley of successful attacks that the Archaean army had during the initial invasion all fell short when they were faced with the challenge of breaching through the mighty Trojan walls. The events that ensued led to the obliteration of the Trojan empire and went down in the history books as one of the most well orchestrated ruses of all time. Fast forward to the 21st century, remnants of this Great War have long been eroded by the effect of time, but similar predicaments constantly arise, not in the world of brick and stone but in that of a virtual composition. Today, the art of invasion has taken a different path with aggressors constantly trying to penetrate through firewalls that protect sensitive data around which businesses revolve. Business networks and computer networks in general are marred with the existence of several miscreants who thrive on exploiting netizens and causing chaos in the cyber world. The programmes these hackers use which have rightfully been dubbed as ‘Trojan Horse’, have been a cause for great concern among both individuals and organizations as well.

The IT landscape today is in a constant state of flux with more and more services migrating to the cloud every day. With such a large number of migrations, the volume of data generated today is monumental and so is the number of breaches that occur every day. As the fluidity of the services and infrastructure is enhanced by migration into the cloud, achieving effective security becomes more challenging than ever, rendering the traditional security systems obsolete. This is the very reason U.S. based network security company, Hillstone Networks, was founded to combat this challenge which is becoming a rising concern amongst IT companies. Conceived in 2006 by industry veterans from NetScreen, CISCO and Juniper, Hillstone Networks has always functioned under the principle of offering world class security solutions that are cost effective. “The founders’ objective was to establish a respected and world-class security company that, with its innovation and vision, secures customers’ businesses around the world,” noted Francis Teo, Southeast Asia Regional Director, Hillstone Networks.

Since its inception, the technical expertise of its founders in the field of network security enables Hillstone to offer a broad range of security solutions for enterprises and data centres worldwide. The company’s services revolve around a 360 degree protection model provides continuous defence against threats to physical, virtual and cloud infrastructures.

The Birth of the Intelligent Firewall
Firewall programmes have been in existence since the late 80s to protect computers and networks against malware and potential cyber attacks. Today, the game has changed considerably and rogue programmes are able to infiltrate even the most secure of systems. Hillstone’s answer to this is the T series Intelligent Next Generation Firewall (iNGFW). These firewalls can be deployed at the enterprise perimeter or inside the network, constantly monitoring for anomalous network behaviour and security breaches. While these firewalls appear to have the same functions as other regular firewall on the surface, they actually boast more sophisticated features. Hillstone’s latest iteration of iNGFW4.0, is designed to detect potential threats and analyse
their information and prevent future attacks. iNGFW 4.0 provides richer forensic evidence to detect and analyse such threats, and also supports enterprises with advanced threat detection engines with high detection rates, automatic mitigation and a cloud analytics platform that provides two way feedback. To constantly purvey continuous threat defence, iNGFW makes use of three key technologies which are implemented sequentially. First, statistical clustering is used to detect security breaches in near real time and prioritize hosts with the greatest security risks and provides contextual information about the host. Next, behaviour analytics is used to detect anomalous network behaviour and provide visibility into every stage of the attack to derive multiple opportunities to stop the attack. The last stage involves forensic analysis to determine the root cause of an attack. This final step empowers the administrators by providing them with a bigger picture of the attack, and enables them to employ preventive measures to avoid incursions in the future.

Security for Virtualization is another aspect that Hillstone addresses through its services. Despite the various advancements in virtualization, security is one Achilles heel that organizations still struggle with, largely due to the dynamic virtual environments wherein virtual machines are constantly added, changed or moved.

Hillstone’s latest iteration of iNGFW4.0, is designed to detect potential threats and analyse their information and prevent future attacks

Hillstone’s CloudHive solution leverages micro-segmentation to help ensure security in the cloud by addressing gaps in visibility and control of traffic at the virtual machine level to provide clear visibility of live east-west traffic with L2-L7 services. On the other hand, Hillstone’s CloudEdge was devised specifically to address this deficit of security measures and provide a complete virtual firewall solution that is available in a software form factor. “Hillstone CloudEdge provides advanced security services across Layer 2-7, in addition to core firewall features. It can be deployed via Cloud Management Platforms (CMPs) as a “Firewall as a Service” for a multi-tenant solution in the virtual environment” elaborates Teo. Coupled with the AWS cloud service, CloudEdge’s virtual firewall can be deployed as a Virtual Private Cloud gateway which is capable of providing comprehensive security protection to an organization.

The Future of Network Security
The amount of time and resources Hillstone has invested in the technology currently at its disposal has surely derived great value to both its clients and the company itself. In the years to come, Hillstone seeks to further expand its technological prowess while sticking to its tradition of innovation and focus. The company seeks to enhance the threat detection capabilities of its iNGFW technology to derive systems that will be capable of more advanced threat defence. “Hillstone will keep enhancing the intelligent features to provide customers an even better solution for unknown threats in either the enterprise network or the Cloud,” adds Teo. The company also intends to extend its foothold in the APAC, LTAM and MEA markets where the company has already established itself. Markets such as North America and Europe will also be in Hillstone’s crosshairs as it moves towards becoming a leading global security company.