see more


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! 



Intent-Based Network Security - How to Turn Intent into Enforcement
May 03, 2018
In our last blog, we talked about what exactly intent-based network security (IBNS) is – and the first step to getting started, i.e. mapping. Here, we're…
How to take the first step toward intent-based network security
Apr 26, 2018
Intent-based network security helps with several areas of top concern for enterprise security leaders - software-defined networking, new application deployment, moving applications across platforms and…
Gaining Control of Cloud Security through Orchestration
Mar 28, 2018
What do you think of when you hear the word “orchestration?” Within the security field, oftentimes “orchestration” becomes synonymous with “automation.” That’s not entirely accurate, but…
Cloud Security and On-Premise Security are NOT that Different
Mar 27, 2018
In our last blog on cloud controls, we discussed how important it was to have visibility into your cloud. This is the most logical place…

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.



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
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.
Apr 12, 2018 How to Stop Writing Firewall Rules and Start Controlling Network Security Based on Your Actual Intent
Join FireMon and Ultimate Windows Security for this free webinar, where we will examine intent-based security and how to apply it to firewall policy and management.
Mar 21, 2018 How to Scale Network Security for the Modern Age
Traditional security models are all about the current state – but in the current state of cyber-security, by the time new rules are written, they’re obsolete. Resources have changed, topologies have shifted, traffic has evolved, and applications grew new arms and legs.


Resource Library

Audit Compliance


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.
Controlling Cloud Security
Instant visibility, continuous security for the enterprise cloud
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 Elastisearch: 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’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
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.