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Get to know us better! Gain valuable insights into how we think by visiting our blog, or take a look at the industry events we're frequenting on our events page. You can also geek out with us by attending one of our security management webinars, or dive head first into the products and solutions we provide in our Resource Library. There's lots to keep you busy! 

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Blog



FireMon 8.22: Enhanced Security and Expanded Automation & Compatibility
Jul 19, 2018
With the release of v8.22 the goal is to increase your team's efficiency while improving FireMon’s usability, enhancing operational security and stability, expanding automation, and…
State of Network Security: Intent-Based Network Security
Jul 17, 2018
The rise of microservices will continue to exponentially increase the number of virtual endpoints that need to be secured. But once the intent behind a…
Intent-Based Network Security Automation and Orchestration
May 14, 2018
In this post, we're going to cover automation and orchestration. We actually just started analyzing the results from our State of the Firewall 2018 research;…








One Firewall Platform is Best Practice. Really?!?



You may have seen the Gartner report, One Brand of Firewall Is a Best Practice for Most Enterprises, where the virtue of a single vendor was extolled. Special attention is given to the greater security risk and complexity from having multiple firewall platforms. This statement, though obvious, has a tone of idealism and fails to appreciate the reality of real-world enterprise environments.

To Gartner’s credit, the research affirms security and network teams are not acting irrationally when deploying multiple firewall platforms. However, what their research does not fully value is how organizations are doing everything possible to stay ahead of business demands, evolving security threats and the hyper-drive of DevOps.

Real-life network security teams are overwhelmed with changes, access requests, audits, compliance mandates and a mutating infrastructure puzzle. These heroes of network security do not have the luxury of ruminating about perfect worlds. 

I want to address some key challenges in the analysis and make the case that “should” is a corrosive notion and interferes with progress in Network Security Policy Management.  “Should” implies an air of judgment and does not offer tangible solutions for how the world is and thus, cannot meet the needs of a 21st century enterprise. This is the only world we’ve got, so we better make network security more practicable for any situation.

Let’s turn our attention to the key challenges mentioned in the Gartner research and how world-class Network Security Policy Management (NSPM) can address these challenges – without forklifting in-or-out a single firewall.

Key Challenges

  1. Having two (or more) different firewall platforms greatly increases the chances of configuration and management problems, and will increase training, deployment and problem-solving costs.
  2. The increasingly complex demilitarized zone (DMZ) and the rise of the hybrid cloud are raising the complexity in firewall rule bases.
  3. Two or more firewall vendor relationships can yield potentially lesser discounts and higher contract administration overhead.
  4. The additional procurement cost and management expense that are required for multiple firewalls decreases available budget for other network security technologies.

If all of this seems obvious to you, you are likely to be a realist firmly rooted in the present. You are probably taking time away from your regular hair-pulling to read this. You are likely to be overworked, seemingly out of options, and ready to throw in the towel…maybe, considering going back to dental school.

But if you continue reading, let me urge you to consider how Network Security Policy Management is well-suited to solve these riddles of a contemporary network.

First, let us look at the statement that multiple firewalls “greatly increases the chances of configuration and management problems.” Of course it does! Any time you add any variable to another you increase the probability of failure. These are links in the chain and any single point that fails can leave an enterprise in a tough spot.

Idealism would say: “Move to a single vendor for your firewalls.”

Realism says: “Manage all those heterogeneous firewalls from a single console.”

It’s the result that we’re going for here. The result we want is a streamlined way of managing the litany of rules and policies that keep our networks secure. If the result we want is fewer configuration missteps and network problems, then organizations can solve this with better network security policy management. NSPM allows staff to centrally manage the policies and rules that govern the traffic in our networks, irrespective of the firewall vendor. 

Idealism would suggest moving all firewalls to a single vendor platform, but unfortunately this is impractical for most organizations. Too many networks have morphed so much during the last 20 years that they are now unrecognizable to the original designers. 

Realism takes note of this situation and pursues solutions to the problem of complexity, rather than the problem of multiple vendors. We are aiming for reduced risk and complexity, not simply removing heterogeneous firewalls. If you are looking to bring down complexity, you need a smarter way to manage the existing environment without changing any of your thoughtfully invested infrastructure.

On to the next…

Related to the first charge, the second key challenge claims that new complexities to the DMZ and cloud environments will force organizations to standardize on a single vendor for policy controls. Please, demonstrate your evidence for this claim.

Organizations the world over are meeting and exceeding the demands of rapidly changing environments, DMZ mutations and cloud adoption all from the comfort of their single console.  The suggestion that the best way forward is to standardize on a single firewall does not take into account break-neck speed of business. These changes to the network do not politely sit tight while security teams solicit, vet, select and implement a new firewall architecture. The world does this routinely annoying thing…it keeps moving. 

Idealism would say: “Move to a single vendor for your DMZ evolution and cloud adoption.”

Realism says: “Choose what you wish, manage the policies regardless.”

NSPM allows organizations to take on new workload types, data warehousing and asset protection that was the stuff of science fiction only a few years ago. With an NSPM, organizations can quickly adopt whatever workloads distribution or data storage (think: AWS S3) without having to change a single firewall. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. We call these people “FireMon customers”. 

Third time is the charm, right?

The third key challenge informs us of the negotiation and administrative benefits of moving to a single vendor. What does this have to do with security? The opening statement in this research topic is that multiple firewalls creates complexity and increases risk. “Using firewalls from multiple vendors increases complexity, not security.” 

This idea places administrative management and contracting above the (correct) practice of finding the best-of-breed. Organizations have adopted a method of selecting that which best fits their own needs: Want a good cloud document management system? Try Box or Dropbox.  Want a superior HR platform? Try Workday or Utlipro or Paycom. Want a good ITSM? Try ServiceNow or Cherwell or BMC Remedy? 

Organizations need choices that address their requirements. Network security teams do not select multiple vendors in a masochistic attempt to create havoc in their lives. They choose the appropriate security enforcement for the given context.

Idealism would say: “Forget what meets your requirements, standardize on one.”

Realism says: “Go for best-of-breed, be a policy hero no matter what is selected.”

NSPM is an enabler of businesses to make the right decision for their specific needs. By consolidating policy design, implementation and compliance into a single console, organizations get the versatility to adapt to their security needs without compromising on any requirement.

Okay, surely the last one is applicable…

This key challenge makes the claim that by consolidating to a single vendor, you will have more dollars freed up to pursue other technologies. Now, this may be accurate, but is it a good practice in reality? Besides, isn’t purchasing the single vendor’s firewalls a, you know, technology purchase? The last I checked, each time an enterprise purchases additional firewalls, they are purchasing additional technology. Most organizations cannot free up the budget dollars necessary to consolidate to a single vendor – we are talking about hundreds, if not thousands, of firewalls. 

Idealism would say: “Consolidate. It costs you now, but you’ll thank yourself later.”

Realism says: “Yes, consolidate…the policies. That’s the endgame.”

No matter what security products you are looking to purchase, they are beholden to security policy. Think about it, every kernel of security comes down to policy: this is allowed, that is not.

NSPM appreciates this reality and works with network security teams to harness the policies that need consolidating. Of course, consolidation is necessary, but not the firewalls. It is the policy management that needs a single view.

What is NSPM?

In the diatribe above, I have attempted to call attention to the idealistic suggestions that having a single-vendor for firewalls is not practicable. Organizations cannot swiftly jettison their infrastructure or simply open a bidding war for vendors to compete for a sole-sourced opportunity.

Realism takes all this into account, applies reasonable decisions to the existing world and keeps the goal in mind. The goal is to consolidate our firewall policies into a single view, analyze where they are effective and take appropriate action when policies need to change. This is the stock-and-trade of NSPM.

Network Security Policy Management closes the complexity gap, enhances security and removes the burdensome task of compliance attestation. There are four critical capabilities for any NSPM. Thank you for asking…they are:

  1. Security Policy Controls
  2. Change Management
  3. Risk and Vulnerability Analysis
  4. Application Connectivity Management

FireMon customers get to experience all four. By having a holistic approach with integrations to any security device, we tame the policy management puzzle with automation and orchestration. 

This is the realist’s approach. The realist wants to achieve security agility, reduce security risk, maintain compliance and respond rapidly to threats. The realist sees through the veil and understands that consolidating their policies and rules is achievable with existing firewalls. This allows organizations to keep business continuity, adapt to DevOps speed and keep an eye on any and all network devices (e.g. firewalls) irrespective of make or model.

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

Events

Webinars

Upcoming Webinars

Aug 16, 2018 10:00 am - 11:00 am CDT Migrating to the Cloud? Don’t Forget Your Firewalls
Running workloads in the cloud gets rid of a lot of work and some risk but you might be surprised how many firewalls you’ll end up with in the cloud if you follow best practice.
Register
Jul 31, 2018 Executing Consistent Security Policy Across a Multi-Cloud Environment
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.
View
Jul 26, 2018 The Time for Intent-Based Security is Here
In this session, we will explore strategies for defining security intent and reveal how to take IBNS from a great idea on paper to a great idea in practice.
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May 10, 2018 Final Countdown: 4 Principles You Need Before GDPR Hits

In this webinar, we’ll show you the principles needed for GDPR success:

  1. Risk-based data protection
  2. Measuring security effectiveness
  3. Monitoring data protection
  4. Orchestrating persistent compliance
View
Apr 25, 2018 Monitoring & Performance
In the "real world" most companies are struggling with overwhelming infrastructure complexity, numerous management silos, and a multitude of incompatible management tools. Get the tools to help you identify problems and prevent downtime.
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Resource Library

Audit Compliance

Datasheets

Policy Change

Solution Briefs

Policy Change

White Papers

Visibility Monitoring Management

Analyst Reports

Policy Change

Case Studies

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 Appliances

Your environment is unique. No matter how many devices you have or where they are located, we have an FM appliance and a deployment option to meet your needs.

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.
Elasticsearch
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
Palo Alto Solution Brief
FireMon Solutions for Palo Alto
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
Gain Control of the Cloud

Cloud technology gives enterprises faster application deployment, instant storage, workload versatility and pricing models that decrease initial capital investment. It is no wonder enterprises are making the move to the cloud.

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.
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

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
Bloor
Firewall Sprawl
Aberdeen Group
Quantifying the Value of Intelligent Security Management
Aberdeen Group
Network Security Analytics Brings Data-Driven Security Into the 21st Century
Forrester
Automate Zero Trust Policy and Enforcement
Forrester
The Return on Security of FireMon’s Security Manager
IANS
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.