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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! 



Microsegmentation: Great idea, but how?
Dec 14, 2017
In the last few years, microsegmentation has become an increasing promise of network security for organizations in search of Zero Trust. As a framework, Zero…
Securing the Supply Chain with Security Policy Management
Dec 11, 2017
With the latest BCI Supply Chain Resiliency Report revealing that some of the top causes of supply chain disruption are cyberattacks and data breaches, and with global supply…
Why FireMon Continues to Dominate NPSM - Part 2: Real-Time Monitoring
Dec 05, 2017
In Part 1, we looked at how any solution that closes the Complexity Gap require Performance At Scale. If an organization is going to wrap…
Gartner’s Recommendations for Security Policy Configuration Assessment Part…
Nov 28, 2017
In Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of this series we saw how to implement Gartner’s first three recommendations for security configuration assessments (SCAs).…

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.



Jan 11, 2018 The Value of Using Security Policy Orchestration and Automation for Improving Change Management and SecOps

Join David Monahan, managing research director at leading IT analyst firm Enterprise Management Associates (EMA), and discover the difference between organizations using an SPOA solution to manage their firewall environments versus those not using one of these solutions.

Dec 06, 2017 6 Ways to Evaluate Firewall Change Requests to Ensure Security and Compliance and Prevent Risk Creep
Firewalls are like Roach Motels – rules check in but they don’t checkout. When you look at a firewall with thousands (or tens of thousands) of rules you have to wonder if they are all still needed. Join Ultimate Windows Security and FireMon to find out how to automate the work flow of firewall change requests, capture and document rule changes, evaluate the impact of rules and compare rules to the characteristics of the actual packets being passed by those rules.
Nov 09, 2017 6 Steps for Firewall Assessment for Compliance and Security
Don’t let the pendulum swings fool you; firewalls are not dead, and the perimeter still matters. But in addition to the perimeter we recognize the need for more internal segmentation to limit lateral movement and protect segregated zones like the red forest. So, we need and probably should have more firewalls than ever.
Oct 31, 2017 Think GDPR Doesn't Impact You? Think Again...
Companies across the globe are scrambling to meet the new compliance directives that are imposed by the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) set to go into effect in 2018. If you’re thinking, “I’m not in the EU, so it doesn’t matter”, think again.


Sep 05, 2017
SAO v. SIEM Security Suites: And the winner is...
Aug 30, 2017
Jimmy Nukebot Explodes on the Scene, Transforming NeutrinoPOS
Info Security
Aug 17, 2017
The Top Security Challenges for 2017
SC Magazine
Aug 14, 2017
Creditseva, KS Enterprises Breaches Highlight Need for Improved Cloud Security
eSecurity Planet
Jul 31, 2017
What is IT governance? A formal way to align IT & business strategy
Jul 28, 2017
How organizations can work toward GDPR compliance
Information Management
Jul 09, 2017
4 Signs Check Point Software's Best Days Are Ahead
Motley Fool
Jun 07, 2017
Qakbot malware from 2009 returns, causes Active Directory lockouts
SC Magazine UK
Jun 06, 2017
Botched security: Celebrities, other patients, affected after plastic surgery files are breached and stolen
SC Magazine
Jun 06, 2017
Election cyberattack proves people are still the biggest flaw
Jun 01, 2017
250K Photos Leaked in Cosmetic Surgery Extortion Attack
Info Security
Jun 01, 2017
OneLogin Breach Reignites Concerns over Password Managers
Dark Reading
Jun 01, 2017
OneLogin Breach Reignites Concerns over Password Managers
Dark Reading
May 29, 2017
How to manage the Complexity Gap
IT Pro Portal
May 26, 2017
Hackers upgrading malware to 64-bit code to evade detection
SC Magazine UK
May 25, 2017
83 percent of security staff waste time fixing other IT problems
May 24, 2017
Unsanctioned Computer Support Costs Companies $88K per Year
Dark Reading
May 23, 2017
WannaCry Successor Is New ‘Doomsday’ SMB Worm That Uses 7 NSA Hacking Tools
Information Security Buzz
May 23, 2017
WannaCry? Not really. A report from the 11th Eskenzi PR IT Analyst and CISO Forum
Computer Weekly
May 18, 2017
Cisco Warns Of Un-Patchable WannaCrypt Vulnerabilities
Information Security Buzz
May 16, 2017
Here comes the cloud...and it's all right
SC Magazine
May 15, 2017
10 ways cyber security will evolve in the face of growing threats
Information Age
May 12, 2017
Managing Complexity Is No. 1 Security Challenge in FireMon’s Annual State of the Firewall Report
Computing Security
May 12, 2017
Sabre Breach
Information Security Buzz
May 12, 2017
FireMon Announces Industry’s First Intelligent Cloud Security Management Solution
IT Security Guru
May 12, 2017
FireMon Releases Third Annual State of the Firewall Report
Dark Reading
May 12, 2017
WikiLeaks drops 'Grasshopper' documents, part four of its CIA Vault 7 files
  See all news from 2017

Resource Library

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White Papers

Visibility Monitoring Management

Analyst Reports

Policy Change

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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
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
Accelerated Incident Response
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
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
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.
Automation Isn't One-Size-Fits-All
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.
Avoid These 'Bottom Ten' Networking Worst Practices
Overcoming the Complexity Gap
When You Can't Patch It, Protect It from the Network
Firewall Sprawl
Aberdeen Group
Quantifying the Value of Intelligent Security Management
Aberdeen Group
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.