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Firewalls continue to play an important role in network security; however, firewall infrastructure has grown more and more complex, adding significant costs and increasing risk. According to FireMon’s 2015 State of the Firewall Report, 95% of surveyed security professionals indicated that firewalls remain as critical if not more critical to security than ever. Over 50% of those respondents cited firewall complexity as their most problematic security management concern.
A recent report from the Aberdeen Group Firewall Sprawl: How Complexity Is Adding Cost & Increasing Risk reinforces these findings. Through their research, they found that nearly half of organization’s today have multi-site, multi-vendor environments.
Going a step further, they developed a complexity index to quantify the issue – (N^2 – N) / 2 where N equals the number of sites plus the number of vendors. For each additional site or vendor, complexity exponentially increases. And with it, so do operational costs, inconsistencies and errors, number of threats and vulnerabilities and finally, likelihood of risk.
With that being said, it appears that firewalls are here to stay, and complexity will only continue to grow as new network technologies and threats develop. The key to combating this is to understand the primary contributing factors and how one might address them.
With eight years under my belt at FireMon, I’ve seen a lot of firewall installations that fall prey to some of these challenges:
So what can you as a security professional do about it? Look for solutions or processes that give you the following:
So you’ve purchased a new firewall. Now what?
You’ve got to decide which access is allowed, which isn’t allowed and whether or not rules are compliant with internal and regulatory standards.
Things are running along smoothly and then the dreaded “change.” A user submits a new access request and the fun begins. Is this access necessary? Safe? Compliant? And what happens when it’s time to retire unused rules?
How Effective Security Management Can Help Teams Cover the Exponentially Increasing Gap between Technology & the Resources Available to Manage It
Security teams today are under tremendous pressure due to the rising frequency and impact of breaches and a business that wants to move faster and faster. The answer to both of these challenges has always been to add more technology and staff resources.
However, each new technology added creates complexity. More rules are created and more data is generated. As networks continue to evolve, this complexity will only grow. And while staff resources may increase, they will never match the exponential growth of technology.
FireMon calls this phenomenon The Complexity Gap and has set out to help security teams close it.
Join us for this webinar with Frost & Sullivan where we’ll explore the causes of “The Gap” and how workforce multipliers such as intelligence and automation help staff manage their security more efficiently and more effectively.
Helping Enterprise Security Teams Improve Resource Efficiency & Reduce Overall Risk Exposure
Firewall technology has come a long way since its initial, most rudimentary forms. Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW) are the latest development, and organizations are accelerating adoption to the new technology. But NGFWs aren’t a fix-all solution.