Blog & Company News

Nov 21, 2012

Firewall Poses Largest Management Risk

Firewalls were initially created as a premier gateway to help keep a network secure. However, with the rise of cloud-based applications, IT security professionals have had to keep up with new demands and issues to thwart potential data breaches. In a survey released by Tuftin Technologies, provider of Security Policy Management Solutions, 140 network security professional report that enterprise application connectivity-related issues now drive the vast majority of firewall changes. One end user and Tuftin Technologies customer Christoph Littwin, head of telecommunications, SIX Group, said, “While we had to ensure that our security policy was implemented without compromise, applications were, and still are, the lifeblood of our organization. Our firewall team was continuously being challenged by the ever-increasing risk of attacks and they needed advanced tools to detect and mitigate the risks.” However, Tuftin’s findings revealed that few have effective processes in place to account for this shift. In fact, one fifth don’t have any processes in place for managing enterprise application connectivity-related firewall data at all. Due to a lack of effective processes and tools, 64 percent of respondents said they experience application service disruptions due to network configuration changes – up to 10 per year. In addition, 33 percent believe their company’s security has already been breached due to an application-related change. When it comes down to it, though, it seems the problem lies in the fact that enterprises (50 percent) said they have more than 50 mission-critical applications deployed, and about one third have more than 100. Among the application deployed, 41 percent said they put out one new application each week and 31 percent said each month; 71 percent on-board at least one new user to an existing application each week. Another main factor in the problem is that 60 percent of respondents admitted to managing connectivity requirements across three or more network security consoles. While 37 percent said they keep track of application connectivity requirements by inserting comments into the firewall rule base, an unbelievable 16 percent said they don’t keep track at all. With so many applications running across their organization and more than one network security console, it makes sense as to why they would experience potential errors. It’s no surprise then that nearly 90 percent of respondents said that more than 50 percent of their organizations firewall changes are application-related. As a result, application owners, after defining the applications’ connectivity requirements, say they are left with limited visibility. Now the firewall policy is defined by the app lication connectivity policy, creating a bottom-up rather than a top-down approach, according to the release. “This survey supports our belief that application connectivity management is the next frontier of firewall management,” said Ruvi Kitov, chief executive officer and co-founder of Tuftin Technologies.