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FireMon CEO Details New Framework as Enterprises Seek Path to Secure Cloud
Jan 15, 2019
Interoperability and scale continue to be key value propositions emphatically echoed by security executives as they seek to gain insight into the breadth of their…
Steal This List of New Year’s Resolutions
Jan 04, 2019
Happy 2019! The holidays are pretty much over and it’s back to the daily grind. At some point in your life, most of you have…
12 Days of Cybersecurity Awareness
Dec 20, 2018
At FireMon we eat, sleep, and breathe Cybersecurity. And while I generally write about the day-to-day challenges of the enterprise, I thought it might be…
Keep the Lights on Your NERC CIP Compliance with FireMon
Dec 12, 2018
As a big American football fan, I have always been amazed at the amount of preparation the teams and the National Football League (NFL) go…

Firewall Management and Security News

The Do's and Don'ts of Firewall Audit Tools

Updated November 6, 2017

Opinions are like noses, so the saying goes. Everyone has one. Network Security Policy Management (NSPM) is an area where the voices are loud, but not always relevant to the needs of today’s enterprises. 

When thinking about NSPM, there are some things to keep in mind. What follows is an attempt to help organizations frame the conversation and questions for better security, stronger compliance and general improvement in how we manage security in our changing world.


To start, most analysts have done a nice job covering the key points of evaluating the products without discussing any specific features. These recommendations focus generally on technology buying criteria rather than any particular feature. For example, one suggestion is to test the products in a bake-off before buying. Another suggestion is to make sure your NSPM solution has the right reporting features. These are not specific recommendations for which product to buy, but suggestions on what to consider when getting to a short-list. 

In an effort to collapse recommendations into their common themes, I’ve developed a list of Do’s and Don’ts when assessing potential solutions for Network Security Policy Management.


Exhaustive API-Based Device Support and Coverage

FireMon provides support for the leading security device (e.g. firewall) vendors including Check Point, Cisco, Juniper, Fortinet and Palo Alto Networks, among others. Additionally, FireMon has the most comprehensive network device support for routers and switches (Layer-3 devices), such as Cisco and Juniper. Load balancers are continuing to become critical parts of any infrastructure and are often focal points for security threats. Additional support for load balancers (e.g. F5 and others) provides in-depth support for change management and configuration analysis.

We have this unique belief that open-API is the best way to accommodate changing infrastructure and security demands. FireMon has provided an open-API for any devices with native support for a wide-range of protocols – SSH, Syslog, Telnet, TFTP, FTP, UDP, TCP, etc. This helps our customers who will not always know what their future security investments will be. Having an open-API extends FireMon’s NSPM to many different systems (Proxies, SIEM, cloud, microsegmentation enforcement).

Not everyone in the NSPM space can do this. READ: Plug-ins are not an open-API. 

For vendors that have a long list of supported products, be sure to ask exactly what that support entails. In most cases, it is nothing more than a timed poll to the device to extract a few point-in-time configuration details. Many organizations do not have a real-time requirement for reporting or security assessments. Those who do, will prefer FireMon’s real-time capabilities…all brought about by having an exhaustive open-API.

Test the Products Before You Buy

This is of course a great idea and one that we strongly encourage. As with any technology purchase, when you evaluate solutions, you will see that FireMon brings significant differences to the network security policy management challenge. 

Now, often you do not have a lab environment that will fully replicate what your production needs. However, there are a few simple steps to help you identify what can be done with a given technology.

  1. Deployment model: Does the technology provide Virtual, Cloud, On-prem options?
  2. Data ingest: Does the solution offer streaming data or just periodic polling from devices?
  3. Reporting: Does the solution offer customizable reporting, or do you need a large professional services engagement?
  4. Scale: Does the NSPM solution have a distributed architecture?

The final piece here is extremely important. Most NSPM vendors provide a solution that has its application server and data ingest within the same appliance (virtual or on-prem). This creates a bottleneck: reports take too long, polling isn’t synced, lower confidence in the data you are trying to analyze.

Furthermore, most solutions do not have the flexibility to customize reporting. This means that in order to get at all that data, you need a large professional services group to spend weeks with you to report on 2-3 extra fields.

Testing is so important, because that is how we discover if a solutions demos well or if it can actually meet your requirements.

NOTE: Testing is not the same as a proof-of-concept (POC). It’s your investment, make sure you have tested everything against your requirements. Avoid the POC trap where a vendor can confine the testing to areas they excel. Instead, get demonstrated evidence of the four points above. 

Determine Reporting Requirements

This seems obvious, the solution must deliver the reports you need. FireMon offers a full suite of out-of-the-box reports including policy optimization, security analysis, compliance reports (internal and regulatory such as PCI DSS), change reports and many more. Within minutes of installing FireMon, you can generate analysis reports against all your network security devices.

But don't be limited by what a vendor provides you. When it comes to reporting, you need a solution that addresses your specific needs. 

Organizations are like snowflakes – each one is unique, but are comprised of similar components. It’s the arrangement of your network and compliance needs that makes you, you

With this in mind, FireMon was architected to be extensible. Customize any existing report. Create brand new reports. Share ideas with other customers. Download and run custom reports that other customers created. 

Recently, we were exhibiting at a firewall manufacturer conference. One of our customers approached us asking about a report to search a particular policy for all rules with a specific name. In less than 20-minutes, we customized an existing report that searched rules by comment to offer a search-by-name. This customer had a very specific reason to need to do this, and the extensible and open nature of FireMon’s analysis allowed us to provide this report in minutes.

Don't get locked into what the vendor thinks you want...get what you want.

Automated Workflow

The idea behind workflow in the NSPM was a natural extension from the change management needs of the enterprise. FireMon answers this market need, automating the process from rule design to implementation. 

Firewalls are unique from hosts, and the inputs to a firewall change are unique as well. This is why organizations look for an NSPM with firewall-centric workflow. But don't just stop with workflow; make sure it adds real value to your process.

If the only thing a workflow tool does is add specific fields, you should question if it is worth it. Instead, the workflow should automate the challenges in the change process. For example, it is necessary to make sure the right change is made to any network device. So, any workflow automation tool should have rule recommendation that is integrated right into the workflow process. FireMon will recommend what change (if any) should be made to the firewall policy. Too often, unnecessary or ineffective changes are made. Rule recommendation prevents mistakes by identifying if a change is necessary, what change should be made and just as critical, where in the policy the change should be made. Aside from minimizing mistakes, you can drastically reduce the time and effort to make the change. This is what automated workflow really means: automatically improve efficiency and effectiveness.

Review and Refine Policies and Procedures

This is a key point. Why spend money on technology? Because it make a measurable improvement to security posture and reduce security risk. Don't assume flashy technology will change human nature. Choose a product that be flexible in how it is implemented into your organization.

In most cases, start small. Using the 80-20 rule, focus on the big problems with easy solutions. For example, using FireMon's rule usage analysis, you can identify unused rules that can be removed from a policy. If you are facing a compliance audit that requires justifying your rule set, just think how much simpler that task will be if you first delete 35% of your policy that is unused. Implement effective change management right out of the box. If you have problems with administrators making bad changes, start with effective monitoring and be alerted about those changes. With no change to the existing process, you can begin to nudge behavior in the right direction.

Then, begin to refine your policies to meet your desired goals. Now that you have FireMon in place, it is possible to monitor and enforce more comprehensive policies. Improve your change process with more effective, real-time assessments of all changes. Implement workflow to more proactively manage change. This is what management, and FireMon, is all about. Don't just fix it once, fix it for good.


Don't Overlook Scalability

Enterprise networks can be large, complex, distributed environments. You don't funnel all your network traffic through one choke point, so don't buy a management product that tries to do it either. Scalable management solutions should solve the following problems:

  • Single view of the entire environment
  • Distributed monitoring to handle a growing load
  • Geographically distributed monitoring to avoid network overhead

Only FireMon can achieve these capabilities – seriously, I’m not making this up. FireMon scales because of an architecture that is comprised of a central reporting and data server and distributed data collection modules to meet the needs of any enterprise network. This architecture means that you keep a single view of the network without requiring all data flow back to a central choke point. It also means you can scale to thousands of devices in one installation. Again, FireMon is the only NSPM solution capable of this today.

Don't Buy More Than You Need

This is a great point. FireMon has always been priced by device with a very affordable entry point for any customer. Whether you are managing two firewalls or 2,000, FireMon provides licensing to meet your need. The driving force behind FireMon has always been to solve real problems. We are here to solve real management problems and see our customers succeed. This may seem obvious, but there are many solution providers who created something because someone had a nifty idea, not because it was necessary. FireMon created the category of Network Security Policy Management. We continue to lead, because we are maniacal about customer success.

Don't Use Underpowered Resources

Often this goes without saying, but let’s not understate the need here. Think about it, every morsel of traffic in a given network (on-prem, cloud, virtual) all bump into policy. That creates a flood of security events. Make sure the resources you have are tailored to your specific environment. Again, back to the snowflake…

This is also why testing for different deployment models is so vital. When testing, make sure the deployment is as near to reality as possible, allowing you to calibrate and get to the right resource need. Far too many NSPM deployments fail because people bought into the statement, “Don’t worry about it. Our solution ‘just works’. You’ll be fine.” Sadly, it usually comes from the mouths of those without a distributed architecture, exacerbating the resource troubles. 

Other Considerations


As analysts everywhere will indicate, compliance is often a key driver for purchasing an NSPM. When evaluating solutions for compliance, don't just look for a product with compliance reports, look for a solution that will actually improve your compliance. 

A good example of this is documentation. Nearly all compliance regulations require justifying the access that is permitted through the firewalls. Whether you are considering regulatory standards (e.g. PCI DSS, NERC) or internal governance, documenting why a firewall is configured necessary for attestation. Implementing change management is good, but only part of the answer. Look for an NSPM that can streamline the process of maintaining a documented configuration. It is required, so make it as simple as possible. With FireMon, when the audit comes around, it can be as simple as generating the report.

Community Support

You are not alone in your desire or necessity to improve network security policies. You don't have to be alone when it comes to implementation either. With a strong community of support, you can get answers to your questions from your industry peers. Find out how others are solving the same problems. And just as importantly, get solutions to those problems. FireMon has the largest network of peers, each of which is ready to share their knowledge and expertise with one another. Security is a fraternity, FireMon is a common campfire professional gather around.

Josh Mayfield serves as FireMon's Director of Product Marketing.



Jan 17, 2019 Dark Reading: Consistency is Key with Cloud Security

When it comes to cloud security, consistency is everything – your cloud controls should mimic your on-premise implementations, so you have complete consistency of security policy enforcement across environments.

Cloud security breaches have not been the result of brilliant criminal masterminds. Rather, they have been the result of self-inflicted errors that are often caused by faulty migration and deployment practices – particularly when the right security personnel are excluded from the process.

Nov 06, 2018 AWS Network Security Deep Dive
Running workloads in the cloud makes provisioning and setup easier—just spin up a VM. But you might be surprised by how many firewalls you’ll end up with in the cloud if you follow best practices. Cloud providers are clear on this point. Amazon says, “Security and Compliance is a shared responsibility between AWS and the customer… The customer assumes responsibility and management of the guest operating system (including updates and security patches), other associated application software as well as the configuration of the AWS provided security group firewall.” In short, cloud security is in your court.
Oct 25, 2018 SC Mag: Continuous Security for the Hybrid Enterprise
The cloud is a notable business advantage, but it does bring numerous security concerns including: a lack of visibility across cloud or between on-premises and cloud environments, monitoring security controls and changes within cloud and multi-cloud environments, and maintaining compliance by monitoring cloud traffic for suspicious and non-compliant behavior. It becomes increasingly complex in hybrid environments because now you're managing security for on-premise, cloud, virtual, container environments, and more.
Oct 11, 2018 Improve Visibility to Reduce Vulnerabilities and Protect Patient Data
Healthcare IT organizations, already burdened with budget constraints and the scarcity of technically proficient staff, must also contend with significant blind spots within their own networks. These blind spots occur everywhere, from endpoints into the cloud, and every blind spot increases the opportunity for attacks such as ransomware to be successful. Lumeta has been deployed at some of the largest enterprises and government agencies based on our ability to eliminate 100% of your IP network and connected device visibility gaps, improve your overall security posture, and reduce the risk of patient data theft.


Resource Library

Audit Compliance


Policy Change

Solution Briefs

Policy Change

White Papers

Visibility Monitoring Management

Analyst Reports

Policy Change

Case Studies

FireMon + Check Point
FireMon and Check Point combine to bring configuration assurance, continuous compliance and reduced risk.
FireMon + Amazon Web Services
FireMon extends orchestration, vulnerability management, and compliance (both internal policy compliance and regulatory compliance) across on-premises, AWS, and hybrid cloud environments.
Global Policy Controller
Overview of FireMon’s Global Policy Controller solution.
Security Manager
Overview of FireMon’s Flagship Firewall Management Solution
Policy Planner
Overview of FireMon’s Change Automation Solution
Policy Optimizer
Overview of FireMon’s Rule Recertification Automation Solution
Risk Analyzer
Overview of FireMon’s Attack Simulation and Risk Measurement Solution
Immediate Insight
Overview of FireMon’s Immediate Insight Solution
FireMon + Palo Alto Networks
FireMon gives Palo Alto Networks users a fusion of vulnerability management, continuous compliance and orchestration capabilities that speed migration to the latest firewall technologies.
FireMon Appliances

Whether you’re monitoring 100 devices or 15,000, on one continent or around the world, we offer a FM appliance with the power and storage capacity to deliver FireMon’s high-performance, highly scalable firewall management and risk analysis solutions.

Compliance and Security for Utilities
Meet NERC requirements and prevent catastrophic infrastructure events.
Immediate Insight and Palo Alto Networks Application Framework
Moving to the Cloud
Central security control for expanding cloud intrastructures.
Risk Mitigation
Eliminate disruptions while removing security risks.
Reduce Security Costs
Continuous security that doesn't break the bank.
Intent-based Network Security
Continuous security starts with intent.
FireMon and Elasticsearch: Warp speed security
Continuous Security for Industrial Enterprises
Command security for PCN and SCADA networks
Internet of Things
Taming the ever-expanding IoT attack surface.
Zero Trust
Continuous Security for Zero Trust Networks
Migrations Made Easy
Speed up adoption of NGFW with FireMon.
Intelligent Security Management
Delivering next-generation security management that boosts productivity and accelerates the agility of business
Intelligent Policy Automation
Intelligent Policy Automation: Orchestrating Change Management with Speed and Security.
Hybrid Cloud Management
Visibility into and control over Cloud Services, including AWS and OpenStack Platforms
Accelerating Incident Response. Immediate Insight in action - Orchestration, automation and analytics for data assembly and discovery
Immediate Insight in action - Orchestration, automation and analytics for data assembly and discovery
Change Simulation & Risk Scoring
Proactively reduce risk based upon network exposure and host accessibility
Check Point Solution Brief
FireMon solutions and Check Point
Cisco Solution Brief

FireMon’s Intelligent Security Management platform enables users with Cisco Systems switches, routers and firewalls (Pix, ASA, FirePower) to work smarter, applying intelligence to the entire security program

Fortinet Solution Brief
FireMon solutions for Fortinet
Juniper Solution Brief
FireMon solutions for Juniper
NSX Solution Brief
FireMon solutions for NSX
3 Steps to Gain Control of Cloud Security
Better cloud visibility brings better cloud security.
2018 State of the Firewall
The full report walks through budget needs, staffing concerns, five-year firewall strategies, and more about how network security professionals at best-in-class businesses of all sizes see the evolution of firewalls.
A Primer On Intent-Based Network Security
Intent-based network security (IBNS) decouples intent from implementation. In this model, intent becomes the bedrock of policies and controls, and implementation serves as the device-specific enforcement of the declared security goal.
Hybrid Cloud Security: Minding the Gap
Visibility is often a first step toward cloud security
The Four Factors Necessary For Zero Trust

FireMon helps organizations move towards Zero Trust by providing:

  • Visibility into the network
  • Analysis of network traffic flow and possible breach points
  • Security Intent to determine what’s permissible
  • Orchestration to consistently automate what needs to be done
5 Reasons to Implement Security Policy Orchestration and Automation

Reduce your attack surface with a Security Policy Orchestration and Automation solution like FireMon.

Managing Migration Mayhem
Migrations can strike fear into the heart of even the most seasoned security professional. Follow this roadmap for a smooth, successful migration.
Four Ways to Reduce Your Attack Surface

Larger attack surface means more opportunities for cybercriminals to do harm. Learn how FireMon can help you remove exposures before they become exploited.

Why GDPR is Nothing to Fear
A practical (and sometimes philosophical) guide to complying with the General Data Protection Regulation.
Four Key Factors for a Successful Migration

Migrations run the risk of cost overrun, delays and disruption of network service - often due to a lack of personnel and process to efficiently and effectively manage. To ensure a successful migration, consider these four key factors: 1) identifying and removing technical mistakes, 2) removing unused access, 3) refining and organizing what remains and 4) continuous, real-time monitoring.

Top 5 Requirements for Your NSPM Solution
Network Security Policy Management (NSPM) continues to be a difficult practice for organizations the world over. In the last 20 years, network security policies (e.g. firewall rules) have grown by more than 3,500%. Yes, you read that number correctly. Why is that?
Achieving Gartner's Recommendations for Secure Policy Configuration Assessment
Gartner research has uncovered a number of security policy challenges for enterprises. Among these challenges are the typical assessments necessary to fortify policy for compliance and improved security posture.
The Top 4 Myths of Policy Compliance & How to Avoid Non-Compliance
Welcome to the world of overflowing regulations and compliance standards, of evolving infrastructure and the ever-present breach. It's a world where 72% of security and compliance personnel say their jobs are more difficult today than just two years ago.
Planning Considerations for Compliance with GDPR
The GDPR deadline is approaching quickly. If you haven’t started your GDPR journey yet, now is the time.
2017 State of the Firewall
Networking continues to evolve, yet the firewall remains critical to securing today’s enterprises. FireMon is proud to present its 3rd Annual State of the Firewall Report
Firewall Cleanup Recommendations
The implications of firewall policy complexity, why it remains a problem today and how to resolve it.
Risk Solved: Automated, Real-Time Risk Analysis & Remediation
Risk analysis with real-time change configuration is key to managing security risks in your IT infrastructure.
Real-Time Data Triage
Our Immediate Insight platform from FireMon can help organizations overcome the limitations and gaps inherent to the current analytic market.
Bridging the SIEM Alert Triage Gap
Immediate Insight enables security teams to improve event triage and incident response, extending the value of your existing full-featured SIEM.
How Intelligent Policy Automation Can Increase the Speed & Security of Change Management Workflows
Intelligent Policy Automation
Intelligent Security Management

Helping Enterprise Security Teams Improve Resource Efficiency & Reduce Overall Risk Exposure

The Top 5 Myths of Data Breaches
Five of the biggest myths that exist about data breaches, and explain how and why they occur.
Firewall Sprawl: Top Four Security Gaps Exposed

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.

2016 State of the Firewall
2nd Annual State of the Firewall Report based on survey of 600 IT security practitioners.
Frost & Sullivan 2018 North American IoT Cybersecurity Technology Best Practices
Lumeta Honored with 2018 Best Practices Award for IoT Cybersecurity Technology Innovation
Using Security Policy And Automation (SPOA) Tools To Reduce The Attack Surface
Attack surfaces have expanded greatly in the past several years, in part because of the amount of new applications coming online via Internet of Things and increasingly connected technology. Organizations have an admittedly tough time keeping up with all the new touchpoints and the rapid expansion of the attack surface. Complete defense is nearly impossible, and many companies struggle with visibility issues, mismatched or misaligned firewall policies, and an inability to comprehensively test the security configurations they do have
The Zero Trust eXtended Ecosystem


Forrester’s Zero Trust Model of information security helps teams develop robust prevention, detection and incident response capabilities to protect their company's vital digital business ecosystem. This report will help security pros understand the technologies best suited to empowering and extending their Zero Trust initiatives and will detail how Forrester sees this model and framework growing and evolving.

Overcoming the Complexity Gap
Firewall Sprawl
Aberdeen Group
Quantifying the Value of Intelligent Security Management
Aberdeen Group
Network Security Analytics Brings Data-Driven Security Into the 21st Century
Automate Zero Trust Policy and Enforcement
The Return on Security of FireMon’s Security Manager
Convey Health Solutions Centralizes Firewall Management and Achieves Continuous Compliance with FireMon
For Convey Health Solutions, the FireMon solution streamlined their compliance efforts. With out-of-the-box and customizable compliance assessments, automated rule documentation and reporting, and workflows for rule review and recertification, FireMon can analyze and report in real-time that systems have been calibrated together to prevent unauthorized access and protect critical assets.
Oil and Energy Company Increases IT Operational Efficiency and Enhanced Rule and Policy Compliance with FireMon
This mid-sized US-based oil and energy company was seeking to improve both the operational efficiency of their IT organization and security operations. They needed to streamline their processes for proposing and implementing changes to their firewall rule base. At the same time, they needed to enhance the speed and efficiency with which they performed rule compliance audits post-change. Their ideal solution would need to effectively meet the needs of both their firewall administrators and security analysts.
Large Healthcare Provider
The customer sought a data analysis tool to correlate application data with network and security data to spot service-impacting anomalies. They did not have an accurate picture of interoperability between applications and the underlying infrastructure.
Major Airline
Following a merger with another airline, this customer was left managing a large number of firewalls and routers from different security vendors using a home-grown application.
National Insurance Provider
This national insurance provider had three problems to tackle regarding their firewall policies. First, the number of rules under management was overwhelming staff and processes. They needed to increase visibility and effectiveness of their firewall change request/workflow ticketing process. And they also need help maintaining compliance PCI DSS requirements.
Managed Service Provider
Each time this Global MSP engaged a new customer, they had to onboard the firewalls – sometimes hundreds per engagement – into their network. Part of the onboarding process required assessing the policies against internal best practices – a manual, line-by-line process that took an average of 16 hours/firewall and was extremely error-prone.