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Why GDPR Is Nothing to Fear
Jan 11, 2018
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has organizations scrambling to improve their existing network infrastructures to meet the new standards. On May 25, 2018, GDPR…
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…

Why FireMon Continues to Dominate Network Security Policy Management (NSPM)

Security professionals have a tough time keeping pace with business demands, security risks, regulatory compliance and daily cyberattacks. This leaves little time to dissect the vendor claims hitting you from every direction. 

So, let’s cut through the guff. FireMon created the Network Security Policy Management (NSPM) category. We started all this because security teams were adopting security technology without the means to effectively manage it. They needed a better, faster way to diagnose configuration problems, meet audit requirements and improve their security posture. Considering this was such a valuable area to automate, several others followed us.

When looking at Network Security Policy Management (NSPM), it is important to observe the capabilities of prospective vendors. These capabilities become the automated core competencies of network security teams, with the platform becoming the single-source-of-truth for configuration assurance. You should choose wisely.

Network security policy has been an essential discipline since the first time we let computers talk to one another in a network. This discipline became table stakes for security teams; just a part of the job.  Security teams are answering the questions of how, when, who, why and under what circumstances these machines are permitted to communicate and trade information. That’s foundational to any network security program.

However, it can be a time suck. Often, we develop labor-intensive tasks to discover how network security devices are directing all that network traffic. Once all the data is assembled, security teams take a look and make adjustments. This time devoted to this manual effort has exploded with new regulations, internal standards and mutating networks.

Furthermore, there’s a shortage of skilled labor to do all this labor-intensive work. Let us call this The Complexity Gap. The gap is the distance between device rules/policies and the labor force needed to manage it all.

Blog main image - 800 wide - complexity gap.png

Network Security Policy Management (NSPM) appears on the stage to automate and orchestrate the manual work. How did FireMon become the leader? It must be more than just being the first solution to market, right?

Let’s take a look at each of the reasons FireMon continues to dominate NSPM.


Performance At Scale

When looking for any solution to close The Complexity Gap, it is important to acknowledge the methods and architecture used to scale with the enterprise. Scale is ultimately a relational model: one-to-many.  Most importantly, scale needs to happen without any degradation in service. That can prove challenging to many NSPM providers. After all, we are talking about petabytes of data flowing from devices that literally cover the globe.

But superior NSPM begins with performance that can scale; working just as well with 1,000 firewalls as with 10. It all comes down to data ingest and normalization, with the ability to ingest billions of events, changes, traffic patterns and compliance violations. This can be a challenge – for some. The one-to-many scalable requirement is for purposing all that data. But how can I purpose any data that is incomplete? You can’t. Having portions of the story doesn’t really get us any closer to making the best decisions for our network security. 


The FireMon Difference

FireMon accomplishes scale from a single console. NSPM laggards require separate instances and consoles. But isn’t the piece-meal approach to network security what we are trying to overcome?

Take one of your data centers…can you picture it? Good. Now, segment each of the firewalls by vendor. I know this may seem strange, but just stay with me. Poll each group of vendor-specific firewalls every 20 minutes, then take the results from Palo Alto and put those in one database, the results from Cisco in different database, Check Point? You got it, another database. What about the sea of Layer-3 devices…sorry, you still need a separate database for each manufacturer.

Still with me? Okay, now simply go to each NSPM console devoted to each device manufacturer. Got a clear picture yet? No? Well, try exporting the results from your separate consoles. You know how to use Excel, right? Put all those results into a single sheet. Trying really hard to ignore that the data from each console has a different timestamp – remember we’re polling, not streaming.  

Now that you have stitched together your report (with an accuracy confidence of around 50%), go repeat this exercise for each of your other data centers. Note: the confidence level will go down with each stitched report.

Now, to be sure, it is not malice or sadism motivating this manual effort. It simply comes from a lack of user empathy. At FireMon, we put on the lens of our customers and developed an architecture that accommodates their fast-paced, ever-changing, demanding lives.

Network security personnel are the heroes of the enterprise. Do you really want our heroes running around from console-to-console, stitching reports together from various sources? Even with this kind of effort, they still wouldn’t be able to have the confidence needed to make the right decision.

FireMon achieves enterprise scale because of our distributed architecture. By shifting the work from the application to a data collector, the user has a web-GUI that distills the picture of all their network devices – processed and normalized by the data collector.

Then, at the data collector level, we use the big data capabilities of Elasticsearch for ingest. Talk about scale…some FireMon customers automate analysis for 1 billion events a day. Superior architecture is what makes this possible.

This foundational architecture is the source of all other good things at FireMon, including Performance At Scale. What’s in it for a FireMon customer? Faster, better answers in all areas of network security.

How does FireMon support live streaming data for real-time monitoring? Architecture.
How does FireMon ingest all that data without polling? Architecture.
How does FireMon support network evolution (cloud, SDN, virtualization)? Architecture.
How does FireMon normalize all that data from various firewall vendors? Architecture.

That’s Performance At Scale. We do this every day. And we do it for thousands of heroes slaying network dragons.

As this series continues, we will explore all the areas that makes FireMon the leader in NSPM.

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



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

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
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.