Gartner Guidance: No Farewell to Firewalls




Every so often someone in our fair industry suggests that the long-tenured presence of the firewall is no longer a necessity – typically based on the emergence of some emerging solution, or the notion that this most-mature of network defenses is no longer sufficiently capable.

However, if you listen to the experts – in this case leading industry analysts Gartner – such observations are clearly misguided, at best.
At the firm’s recent industry convocation in Washington – the annual Gartner Security & Risk Management Summit – nearly every session clearly
reinforced that firewalls, and more effective management thereof, are just as critical, if not more so, than ever.

From the summit’s opening keynote – which stressed the need for CSOs and other security officials to tie their efforts directly to overriding business initiatives (a core benefit of FireMon’s recently launched Policy Optimizer module) – to breakouts dedicated specifically to network security, the importance of retaining and improving stout firewall defenses was driven home quite emphatically.

Sure, there was the annual “Farewell to Firewalls” presentation in which Gartner’s forward-looking thought leader Dr. Joseph Feiman espoused the need for new applications-centric mechanisms (specifically embedded runtime application self-protection [RASP] capabilities).

But, as artfully advanced by Gartner network security guru Greg Young during the session and ultimately conceded by Feiman himself, even the continued development and adoption of such emerging technologies will require a continued and significant reliance on firewalls.

In other thought leadership-type presentations, in particular longtime Gartner risk expert Neil MacDonald’s session on “Continuous Advanced Threat Protection”, the pressing need for more proactive and context-aware management of network security infrastructure was further hammered home.

MacDonald’s call for “Adaptive Security Architecture” emphasized the need for strategy to shift away from traditional “detection” and “response” methodologies to focus on more “predictive” and “preventative” tactics. These observations absolutely validate FireMon’s own adherence to network security management grounded squarely in real-time, proactive intelligence.

And if all those points weren’t enough to cement the tremendous need for continued maturation of firewalls and other security device infrastructure, one needed to look no further than network security analyst Adam Hils’ overview of inquiries filed by Gartner’s own clients over the first half of 2014.

The hard numbers bear out the reality that firewalls remain of huge import and concern to organizations of all sizes and industries in today’s environment – with a whopping 51 percent of all network security inquiries, over 1500 interactions in total, relating directly to questions regarding firewalls (and less than 10 percent of those focused on so-called next generation firewalls at that!). The closest contender in terms of volume were calls related to IPS technologies, at only 22 percent).

So, there’s a good deal of evidence that any predictions that firewall solutions are either yesterday’s news or increasingly less strategic are… highly overstated; the Gartner numbers simply don’t lie.

We speak to all these Gartner analysts frequently and they understand precisely how valuable FireMon solutions can be in advancing your organization’s own network security interests. So why take our word for it – give them a call and find out for yourself.

Posted in FireMon Experts | Leave a reply

About Matt Hines

Matt Hines leads product marketing efforts at FireMon. Prior to joining FireMon, Hines held similar roles at TaaSERA, RedSeal Networks and Core Security Technologies, and worked for over a decade as a journalist covering the IT security space for publishers including IDG, Ziff-Davis, CNET and Dow Jones & Co.

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