Azure firewall vs NSG which is better for Network Security

Azure firewall vs NSG : Microsoft’s cloud platform, offers multiple tools for network security, including Azure Firewall and Network Security Groups (NSGs). In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the differences between Azure Firewall and NSGs, provide a comparison table, delve into their use cases, and offer answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs), along with external resources to help you make informed decisions about securing your Azure infrastructure.

Understanding Azure Firewall and NSGs

Azure Firewall: Azure Firewall is Azure firewall vs NSG a managed, cloud-based network security service that provides stateful firewall capabilities to protect Azure Virtual Network resources. It allows administrators to create and enforce rules for traffic filtering and network address translation (NAT), ensuring secure connectivity between Azure resources and the internet.

Network Security Groups (NSGs): NSGs are a basic form of network security in Azure that act as virtual firewalls for controlling inbound and outbound traffic to Azure resources. They allow administrators to define security rules that filter traffic based on source and destination IP addresses, port numbers, and protocols, providing granular control over network traffic flow.

Comparison Table: Azure Firewall vs NSGs

Feature Azure Firewall Network Security Groups (NSGs)
Type of Service Managed service Basic security feature
Firewall Capabilities Stateful firewall with advanced security features Basic filtering capabilities
Application Layer Filtering Yes No
Centralized Management Yes Yes
Scalability Highly scalable Limited scalability
Integration with Services Supports integration with Azure services Limited integration with Azure services
Cost Pay-as-you-go pricing model No additional cost (included with Azure subscription)

Use Cases of  Azure Firewall vs NSG

Azure Firewall:

  1. Internet Access Control: Control and monitor outbound traffic to the internet, allowing only authorized access to specific websites and services.
  2. Application Layer Filtering: Securely enable access to applications and services by inspecting and filtering traffic at the application layer.
  3. Centralized Management: Simplify network security management by centrally defining and enforcing security policies across multiple Azure Virtual Networks.
  4. Secure Hub-and-Spoke Architecture: Protect traffic between Azure Virtual Networks and on-premises networks in a hub-and-spoke architecture using Azure Firewall.

Network Security Groups (NSGs):

  1. Network Segmentation: Implement network segmentation by defining security rules to control traffic flow between different subnets and network segments.
  2. Virtual Machine Security: Secure virtual machines by restricting inbound and outbound traffic based on specific IP addresses, port numbers, and protocols.
  3. Traffic Filtering: Filter traffic at the network layer based on source and destination IP addresses, port numbers, and protocols to enforce network security policies.
  4. Traffic Monitoring: Monitor network traffic flow and identify potential security threats or anomalies using NSG flow logs.

External Links

  1. Azure Firewall Documentation
  2. Network Security Groups Documentation

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: When should I use Azure Firewall instead of Network Security Groups?

Azure Firewall is recommended for scenarios requiring advanced security features such as application layer filtering and centralized management, while NSGs are suitable for basic traffic filtering and network segmentation.

Q2: Can I use Azure Firewall and Network Security Groups together?

Yes, Azure Firewall and NSGs can be used together to provide layered security for Azure resources, with NSGs handling network-level filtering and Azure Firewall providing additional application layer filtering and advanced security features.

Q3: Does Azure Firewall protect traffic between Azure Virtual Networks?

Yes, Azure Firewall can protect traffic between Azure Virtual Networks using hub-and-spoke architecture, allowing you to enforce security policies and inspect traffic between network segments.

Q4: Is Azure Firewall more expensive than Network Security Groups?

Azure Firewall follows a pay-as-you-go pricing model based on usage, while Network Security Groups are included with Azure subscriptions at no additional cost. The cost-effectiveness depends on the specific security requirements and usage patterns of your environment.


Azure Firewall and Network Security Groups are essential components of Azure’s network security arsenal, offering different capabilities and use cases for securing Azure resources. By understanding their differences, features, and use cases outlined in this guide, organizations can make informed decisions about selecting the right security solution to protect their Azure infrastructure. Whether it’s advanced application layer filtering with Azure Firewall or basic traffic filtering with NSGs, Azure provides the tools needed to ensure robust network security in the cloud.