7 Reasons It’s Hard to Get the Protection You Need from a Firewall
The first step in protecting your data is keeping unauthorized users out of your systems. While identity and access management tools keep users out of your applications, firewalls add a layer of defense that keeps unauthorized users out of your network. Making effective use of firewalls requires handling these challenges:
1. Changes in networks and applications
There’s constant change in networks. New systems and applications are added frequently while old devices and apps are retired. Keeping your protection up to date requires having a strong change control process in place that ensures the firewall team is aware of all changes. All firewall changes need to be tested to make sure that they work properly and don’t accidentally remove any protection needed by another application. Rulesets easily grow chaotic, introducing unnecessary risks.
2. Changes in threats
Existing firewall rules may stop offering the protection you need when new malware introduces new threats or when your network changes. There needs to be a periodic, systematic review of your firewall to ensure it’s still providing the security you expect.
3. Protecting applications and data in the cloud
Putting your applications and data in the hands of a cloud provider doesn’t mean securing those applications and data is no longer your responsibility. You still own that, and you need to figure out how to stretch your firewall to protect resources that are far beyond your internal network’s perimeter.
4. Proving compliance with regulations
Regulations change frequently, and compliance processes struggle to make the necessary changes and to prove that existing configurations are in compliance with regulatory policies. Rulesets that haven’t been well managed are difficult to understand and make it difficult to demonstrate they implement the required restrictions.
5. Multiple firewalls and multiple firewall vendors
When you use multiple firewall vendors’ products, it becomes even more difficult to ensure what level of overall system protection is being achieved. Adding internal firewalls can increase protection but also increases the difficulty of tracking exactly how protection is being delivered and making sure that rules match network and application needs.
6. Misconfigured firewalls
Along with problems with the business-defined rules enforced by the firewalls, the firewalls themselves can be misconfigured. Leaving default settings leaves firewalls susceptible to attacks that check for known vulnerabilities.
7. Lack of staff to maintain and monitor firewalls
Overloaded IT teams that don’t pay close attention to their firewalls create risks by delays in implementing rules or by delays in responding to alerts. It’s not enough to budget for the purchase of a firewall; you need to budget for the personnel and the time needed to use the firewall effectively.
Have you tackled these seven firewall challenges? The security experts at Prescient Solutions help Chicago-area businesses, organizations, and government agencies address all their information security needs, including firewalls and other security tools. Contact us to assess your risks and make sure your firewall rules are providing the protection you need.