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A while back, I worked with one of our clients who was put in a tough spot by their external auditors. The auditor flagged every firewall rule that accepted traffic and used the “Any” object in the service column as non-compliant. Our client, in turn, asked us, “How can we quickly redefine these rules with more appropriate access? And how can we do it without interrupting business operations?” The answer we gave them was FireMon’s Traffic Flow Analysis.
Finding Big Rules
We’ve all had those handful of rules that we hate. They’ve been in the firewall for years and nobody remembers who put them there or why. But they all have something in common: they aren’t secure. They allow too much access, auditors hate to see them and no one can justify the access because the uses are too broad. Class A networks in the source or destination, “Any” objects in the service column, and the use of deeply nested group objects are all examples off broad access.
So, why were the rules added in the first place? There are a lot of reasons, but I think the most common one is that the real requirement for access was not well defined, so broad access was given to ensure functionality. It’s certainly not uncommon for security to be the last to know about architecture projects or new systems being deployed on the network, so engineering on a short timeline without all of the information has almost become status quo. Given the high probability of those scenarios continuing to occur, how can we improve the rule set without interrupting normal operations?
Removing Big Rules
FireMon’s Traffic Flow Analysis can help you pare down those big rules into a handful of manageable rules that more correctly represent the access that is required. Once you do that, the business justification for the access will be clear, the business owner can be assigned, and the rules can be managed throughout the rest of their life cycle.
Traffic Flow works by closely watching the access that is in use behind a single firewall rule. Then, using a complex algorithm to determine the common access paths, it recommends how you can define new access. The analysis can be as simple as showing the services used by that rule or complex rule definitions that include the source, destination and service.
Traffic Flow is available for firewall rules as well as ACLs on Cisco routers. It also has some additional uses, such as quickly helping you see what is falling through to the drop rule or creating a policy from scratch by monitoring an accept-all rule.
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.