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The most common threat to business security is accidental firewall and cloud security group misconfigurations. Manual rule and policy management of complex ground-to-cloud networks introduces countless opportunities for error, and most breaches are attackers taking advantage of this low-hanging fruit. Time-consuming manual changes, fragmented ownership, and policy clutter all contribute to poor policy hygiene. Centralizing and automating your change management across all of your resources is key to preventing misconfigurations that can lead to massive breaches.

Problem 1: Time-consuming Manual Changes

The average enterprise network team is asked to make more than 100 firewall changes per week, and these changes can then take weeks to manually implement. With today’s technology, new environments are created nearly instantaneously. A week-long lag in corresponding policies is not acceptable, and a misconfiguration due to a rushed job can allow attackers in or block legitimate users from mission critical services.

Manual processes prevent network teams from handling the growing complexity of their firewall rule sets, compliance assessment requirements, and next generation devices. Points of exposure are often missed because new leak paths and breach avenues were not detected.

Problem 2: Fragmented Ownership

Historically, an infrastructure team was tasked with application deployment in collaboration with a security team that ensured appropriate security controls were in place based on a corporate-wide policy. Today, however, you have application owners, DevOps, and a wide array of operational programmers deploying code multiple times a week, without security controls. Many of these missing controls are what kept the organization compliant with internal policies, industry regulatory frameworks, and applicable privacy legislation.

Growing complexity without automation is leading to misconfigurations due to human error, while fragmentation without automation is increasing risk to the organization. Just as adding more people can’t keep up with the volume of work, neither can the best technology without efficiency.

Problem 3: Policy Clutter

Having multiple teams regularly updating policies without regard to old policies can lead to duplicate/redundant rules, shadow rules, and unintentional misconfigurations. It can take a long time and a lot of effort to thoroughly clean up your firewall and cloud security policy rule base. The second you’re done cleaning and fine tuning, new requests come along that can easily undo everything you worked so hard to achieve. Worse yet, unauthorized changes can undo everything, and you may never know about it.

Businesses need security-friendly capabilities to prevent misconfigurations and rule errors from creeping into the network and remaining undetected and unremedied for undetermined amounts of time.

Solution: Change Management via Network Security Policy Management (NSPM)

Network Security Policy Management (NSPM) platforms offer centralized change management and are critical to helping you prevent misconfigurations and rule errors from creeping into your network. However, not all NSPMs are created equally. When researching NSPM and change management, ask yourself if your network security policy management solution allows you to quickly and easily:

  1. Create search queries to identify existing rules(or network or service objects) that are affected by a pending policy or configuration change –and export the resulting list to share with team members for remediation.
  2. Convert the search terms into a control for use in ongoing security assessments in any of multiple categories (Allowed Services, Device Properties and Status, Service Risk Analysis and more), allowing you to apply the assessment or control to specific elements or devices within your network, and even write remediation instructions in the event of a failure.
  3. Ensure that any failed controls are automatically flagged in customized reporting –in real time –with device and other relevant details, prioritized by severity.
  4. Visually review compliance across your entire enterprise with a matrix of sources and destinations –data centers, cloud zones,external and internal connections and more –to see at a glance which destinations are accessible from which sources, whether each possible routing meets compliance policies or is even governed by one.

FireMon centralizes your data and automates your policy management. No matter how many firewalls, cloud security groups, and other policy-control devices you have on your network, FireMon knows every detail of every device and intelligently designs rule changes that are optimized for your environment. FireMon’s automated change management dynamically and continuously responds to evolving requirements and environments, even after policies have been deployed.

Defining firewall change management workflows with FireMon enables you to:

  • Effectively design and report policy changes
  • Search ad hoc for problematic changes
  • Receive event-driven alerts
  • Integrate with existing business processes

Manually updating policies is time-consuming and leads to human error. Multiple teams creating policies on the fly can lead to contradicting rules. And the older and larger the organization, the larger the pile of policy clutter. FireMon centralizes your policy data into one dashboard, and allows you to make policy changes quickly, accurately, and easily. Find out more by reading about FireMon’s Change Management solution.

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