Firewall best practices

Why follow firewall best practices?

Security admins and cybercriminals are stuck in an unending game of cat and mouse. On one hand, hackers and cybercriminals work around the clock to identify cracks in the network. On the other hand, security admins constantly try to shield the network from hackers by adding multiple security devices to the network.

Unfortunately, this doesn't always deter hackers from penetrating the network. Certain attributes of a firewall need to be constantly monitored and optimized. If these are mismanaged, your network will be vulnerable to attacks. To help you detect and fix the vulnerabilities in your firewall, you should implement firewall best practices.

What are some firewall security best practices?

1. Firewall rules best practices

Rules and policies are vital to firewall performance. An organization typically has thousands of firewall rules, and not all of them are independent from one another. In fact, most firewall rules have a direct impact on another set of rules. As a result, even the simplest error can trigger a massive security loophole that either allows malicious traffic to sneak in or blocks legitimate traffic, disrupting normal business.

The process of adding, deleting, or modifying firewall rules should be well planned out so that the performance of the existing rule set isn't negatively impacted. Not only that, the existing rule set needs to be constantly optimized for speed and performance.

2. Firewall configuration best practices

In any organization, frequent firewall configuration changes are vital to network security; it's important to streamline the configuration changes and remove configuration loopholes. It is also extremely important to record all configuration changes in real time (Firewall Change Management Best Practices) and trigger notifications when ever a change is made. Standard regulatory mandates like PCI DSS, ISO, NIST, SANS, and NERC help security admins assess network security from a firewall configuration perspective.

3. Firewall monitoring best practices

The key to efficient policy management is monitoring all security devices in the network for availability, usage, and threat exposure—both internal and external. Besides monitoring network security devices, it's also important to monitor the interfaces and objects under the firewall—named collections that represent specific networks, services, applications, user groups, connections, etc.—to ensure that the whole network security ecosystem is monitored from end to end.

To receive the complete list of firewall management best practices, fill out and submit the form found in the top right hand corner of this page, and we'll send you a free e-book. In this e-book, you'll also find information about how you can implement these best practices using Firewall Analyzer, ManageEngine's web-based tool for change management, configuration analysis, security audits of firewall devices, bandwidth monitoring, and security reporting.

Download a free, 30-day trial of Firewall Analyzer to ensure your network remains safe and secure.

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