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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! 



May 19, 2017 A Practical History of the Firewall - Part 1: Early Days
As a practitioner in the relatively early days of the mass adoption of the Internet (mid to late 90s), I saw the rapid adoption and evolution of firewall technology. I had a limited view, and certainly have an imperfect memory, of this history. As such, over the next few posts, I welcome your comments to help me fill in the missing pieces of this story.
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May 02, 2017 Breaking down the 2017 Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report
Verizon’s infamous Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) came out last week. It’s a testament to the diverse data Verizon now has that this year’s report is separated out by industry. In other words, more industries are seeing attacks and it allows the data to be divided and still hold merit. A few findings stood out to me as worthy of a deeper look...
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Jan 11, 2017Security Intelligence Must Mature: Moving Toward a Knowledge-Driven Method for Incident Response

When you have a conversation with security leaders and take notice of what’s generally high on their list of concerns, incident response tends to be near the top. Though, it’s not necessarily the tactical response of today, but instead the continued emphasis to evolve incident response as a discipline. There are countless articles and thought-leadership pieces circling the Internet, but what’s missing is the acknowledgment that we still make decisions based on limited information. I must make the distinction that it’s not because of a lack of data; rather there are no simple ways to make sense of the mountains of security data that exist as a byproduct of the innate need to “collect data.”

For more than 10 years now, there has been a playbook that most organizations have followed as divinely inspired text. The playbook had three principle directives:

1) gather every piece of data you can

2) store that data in a security-specific database

3) give an analyst a username and password

So, we began to monitor everything, received alerts from all over the network, and tried to piece together a coherent tapestry for action.

Nested within each of the recommendations is the assumption that gathering and storing data would be sufficient. I would ask you to consider that this assumption is flawed. If incident response is to evolve as a discipline, we need to shift to a new paradigm. A paradigm that emphasizes knowledge over data.

To be sure, no one is at fault here; many followed the playbook, and it was the right thing to do. Following the playbook’s directives was certainly better than doing nothing. However, incident responders still remain some of the least equipped members of security organizations. Why is that?

For starters, we believed that investments in SIEM and other technologies (directives 1 and 2) would deliver the right data, quickly. We assumed that the primary need was more data in order for responders to make decisions, so we continued to toss more data into the soup. This is flawed.

There’s a need for knowledge-driven decision making. But in order for that to happen, we must analyze the data we have – not just pile more data into the tank. With that in mind, let’s digress for a moment and talk a bit about data, information, and knowledge.


This seems obvious, we need data to know what’s happening. Although data is a good place to begin, it is insufficient for decisions. Data is a single observation which can contain any number of combinatorial fragments. Data is disconnected, not distilled, and is hopelessly fickle about what it tells us. It is like having a single word drawn from a 26-volume encyclopedia – far from definitive.


Information is a compilation of data. Information gets us closer to the goal, but still leaves much to be desired. Information can be misleading and can accentuate a bias we didn’t even know was there. This natural inclination (the confirmation bias) can keep us from seeing the truth of the matter. This giant pile of data we call “information” does not yield the direction we need to make decisions. It is like having pages pulled from the encyclopedia at random and assuming they each tie together in a coherent frame. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen. It is more like playing Mad-Libs than getting an education.


Finally, we come to knowledge. This elusive pot-of-gold is what we’re striving to get. Knowledge provides purpose and direction. Furthermore, knowledge is strongest when it disconfirms, rather than confirms; knowledge provides a way to rule out false-positives. Now, we have the encyclopedia along with the instructor guiding our understanding.

If organizations wish to develop incident response as a thorough discipline, they must become methodologically knowledge-driven.

The playbook’s third recommendation creates the false assurance that all we need is smart people with access to the ocean of data we’ve assembled. This is where we choke out the opportunity to mature incident response. Ask any incident responder or response team: “Do you have access to data?” Then, “what are you lacking?” The answer: a meaningful way to make sense of all that data.

They have been inundated with alerts, alarms, sirens, and notifications. They do not need any more of them. For knowledge to take the lead, we need intelligent ways to interrogate our data, ask of it questions, stitch together the picture, and take action are required.

In Part 2, I will make recommendations for a new playbook that will center on the methodological ways to create a knowledge-driven incident response discipline, including: triaging alerts, smart indexing, crawling and tagging, removing data that is irrelevant, and how to stop chasing false positives.

If incident response is going to mature, it has to become knowledge-driven.

Josh Mayfield led a webinar on maturing security intelligence. You can catch a replay here: Watch Replay >>

Josh Mayfield leads platform sales for Immediate Insight, FireMon's security analytics solution.



Upcoming Webinars

Jun 06, 2017 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm PDT Top 5 Risks of "Dirty" Firewalls
Firewall rules are notoriously complex and voluminous in nature. Even small organizations have multiple firewalls and significant complexity. But large organizations are overwhelmed.
May 23, 2017 Der Countdown läuft, noch 365 Tage bis zur DSGVO (GDPR): Machen Sie Ihr Netzwerk fit für Compliance
Netzwerksicherheit ist deutlich mehr als Cyberbedrohungen nur zu stoppen. Es geht auch darum für das Unvermeidliche gerüstet zu sein. Nämlich einen Datenschutzvorfall, den die Technik allein nicht hat verhindern können. Die EU Datenschutz-Grundverordnung (kurz DSGVO GDPR) ist, neben anderen mehr, ein solches Compliance-Rahmenwerk mit dem Unternehmen sich auseinandersetzen müssen und das im Mai des kommenden Jahres in Kraft tritt. Dann sind Unternehmen beispielsweise verpflichtet innerhalb von 72 Stunden nach einem Datenschutzvorfall darüber zu informieren.
May 04, 2017 Threat Hunting: Beyond Alerts & IOCs
Organizations are taking a more active role in detecting and responding to advanced attacks – Threat Hunting. In this webinar, you’ll discover the steps you can take to launch your threat hunting capabilities.
Apr 27, 2017 The Life of a Firewall: Seamless, Automated Rule Lifecycle Management

So you’ve purchased a new firewall. Now what?

You’ve got to decide which access is allowed, which isn’t allowed and whether or not rules are compliant with internal and regulatory standards.

Things are running along smoothly and then the dreaded “change.” A user submits a new access request and the fun begins. Is this access necessary? Safe? Compliant? And what happens when it’s time to retire unused rules?

Apr 19, 2017 Closing the Complexity Gap

How Effective Security Management Can Help Teams Cover the Exponentially Increasing Gap between Technology & the Resources Available to Manage It

Security teams today are under tremendous pressure due to the rising frequency and impact of breaches and a business that wants to move faster and faster. The answer to both of these challenges has always been to add more technology and staff resources.

However, each new technology added creates complexity. More rules are created and more data is generated. As networks continue to evolve, this complexity will only grow. And while staff resources may increase, they will never match the exponential growth of technology.

FireMon calls this phenomenon The Complexity Gap and has set out to help security teams close it.

Join us for this webinar with Frost & Sullivan where we’ll explore the causes of “The Gap” and how workforce multipliers such as intelligence and automation help staff manage their security more efficiently and more effectively.



Resource Library

Audit Compliance


Policy Change

Solution Briefs

Policy Change

White Papers

Visibility Monitoring Management

Analyst Reports

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
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
The implications of firewall policy complexity, why it remains a problem today and how to resolve it.
Real-Time Risk Analysis
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.
Intelligent Policy Automation
Automation Isn’t One-Size-Fits-All
Intelligent Security Management

Helping Enterprise Security Teams Improve Resource Efficiency & Reduce Overall Risk Exposure

2016 State of the Firewall
2nd Annual State of the Firewall Report based on survey of 600 IT security practitioners.
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.

Firewall Sprawl: How Complexity Is Adding Cost & Increasing Risk
Quantifying the value of Intelligent Security Management
Security Analytics Brings Data-Driven Security Into the 21st Century
Automate Zero Trust Policy And Enforcement
The Return on Security analysis for FireMon’s Security Manager