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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 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…








A Practical History of the Firewall - Part 3: Performance Takes Center Stage



This post originally appeared on LinkedIn. It is Part 3 of 4 of FireMon Co-Founder and Chief Product Strategist, Jody Brazil’s, series “A Practical History of the Firewall.”

Part 1: Early Days

Part 2: Value of Management

chalk drawing securityBy the early 2000s, proxies had lost, and stateful inspection dominated the market. As internet speeds increased and firewall adoption inside the enterprise increased, performance drove purchasing decisions. Enter Netscreen, the firewall appliance, and the Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC).   

The Rise of the ASIC

Similar to what Cisco built and sold for networking, Netscreen did for security. Netscreen introduced the purpose-built firewall "appliance." By controlling the hardware, OS and software, they were able to significantly out-perform the software-based Check Point firewall. In addition, Netscreen introduced a security-specific ASIC for firewall decision packet processing.  Rather than inspecting traffic in software, the Netscreen firewall had a purpose-built chip enabling faster inspection and subsequently less latency and higher throughput at a lower cost. With performance listed as a top buying criteria for firewalls, the appliance gave Netscreen a significant advantage. 

Netscreen was not the first to sell a firewall appliance. Cisco was selling the PIX in the 90s.  However, Netscreen combined the market prefered stateful inspection firewall and an easy to use GUI in the firewall appliance. Initially, they did not offer central management, but the ease of deployment and management of the individual firewalls overcame that limitation in some smaller environments. And the lower TCO of not having to buy a separate platform or manage the OS and higher performance resulted in success in large enterprises. Eventually, Netscreen also saw the lack of enterprise management as a weakness and delivered a central management platform with similar functionality to Check Point.

The Appliance Becomes the Standard

Netscreen and Cisco were not alone in pushing the firewall appliance.  Nokia, following the acquisition of Ipsilon Networks, began providing an appliance platform for the Check Point software firewall. For many Check Point customers, the Nokia appliances became a standard deployment platform for all Check Point firewall gateways. The primary benefits included:

  • Appliance platform: Security teams could own the hardware, OS and software of an appliance deployment. Alternatively, in many organizations, if it was not an appliance, the security team would have to coordinate with internal IT resources including hardware teams and Operating System teams.
  • Performance: Nokia supported offloading of stateful tables to dedicated hardware lookups for improved performance
  • HA: Nokia shipped with an embedded failover capability, VRRP, enabling HA firewalls without buying a third-party solution.
  • Management: Ease of OS management via the Web UI and ease of OS upgrades and downgrades made Nokia IPSO an easy to maintain platform.

Performance was such a significant driver to this market that other platforms focused on delivering higher performance came to market. Crossbeam was a general-purpose hardware chassis platform that found a powerful niche in the firewall appliance market. Very similar to the benefits stated above, Crossbeam delivered a high-performance, HA hardware platform.  

Eventually, Check Point was convinced that an appliance was a market preference and brought a Check Point branded appliance to market. In time, Check Point acquired the Nokia division that provided the firewall appliances and continued to expand their appliance line and capabilities.

All subsequent, major firewall vendors delivered an appliance, including: Palo Alto Networks, Fortinet, Watchguard and Sonicwall to name a few.

Security Goes Mainstream

Netscreen proved to be a very formidable competitor to Check Point. However, a rising tide lifts all boats; the market was expanding so quickly that all firewall vendors thrived in the mid-2000s. Security had moved from a technical challenge to a business challenge. High-profile attacks and increasing dependence on the Internet for critical business functions, drove security from the obscure to the forefront. The firewall was, and is, one of the most commercially successful security products on the market. As evidence, the most recent State of the Firewall survey from FireMon indicates that approximately 70% of organizations spend between 10% - 50% of their entire security budget on firewalls.

I think it is fair to ask why the firewall became such a core component of security. Most high-profile attacks at this time were malware (viruses and worms) that were ineffectively prevented by firewalls.  Insider threat was better addressed with authentication and authorization solutions. External threats were often exposed by applications intentionally open to the world. So why did the firewall thrive?  

First, the firewall was, and is, one of the few positive security model products in use. A positive security model does not depend on staying ahead of the attacker with the next virus signature or intrusion pattern. The firewall explicit defines what is allowed and denies all other access. While the firewall was never THE answer to security, the firewall very effectively limits the risk to an enterprise to only the access defined.

Second, it was something that security controlled. In fact, the rise and adoption of the firewall appliance furthers this point. The firewall appliance allowed the security engineer to "own" the entire solution without dependence on internal IT for hardware and operating system support. The firewall could be placed on the network without partnership from system owners, end-point administrators to install agents, or application developers to ensure secure code was deployed. The entire system was purchased, managed and maintained by security. Perhaps this is not a valid security reason for the firewall to thrive, but corporate politics are a reality, and in the case of the firewall, helped make it a leading technology in the security ecosystem.

By the mid-2000s the firewall had solidified its position as a core security technology. But, innovation didn't stop. The next generation of firewall technology was right around the corner.

Events

Webinars

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.

View
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.
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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.
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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.
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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

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.
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
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

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
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.