A firewall may have all the security bells and whistles in the world to keep bad guys out, but it’s only as good as the people who run it. To take full advantage of a firewall, it has to be well-managed to ensure that it performs what it’s designed to do: protect your company from threats.
What exactly is a managed firewall?
It might take a lot of time, energy, and money to keep an eye on your network. A managed firewall service offers solutions for the administration, operation, monitoring, and maintenance of your firewall infrastructure, which is supplied by a team of security specialists.
Depending on the service, managed firewall may include an assessment of your security threats as well as network traffic monitoring. Once the MSSP (Managed Security Service Provider) has determined what constitutes “normal” traffic, any abnormal traffic patterns can be identified and corrected.
Managed firewall solutions typically include the configuration, maintenance, and modification of firewall rules, as well as network monitoring. Plus, they frequently include detailed analysis, reports, and feedback. Patching and updates are frequently needed as part of the solution.
Firewalls aren’t meant to be used as plug-and-play devices. You can’t simply put it up and leave it on your network perimeter, hoping it would perform its job without any human interference or expertise. Firewall management necessitates a high level of expertise as well as constant monitoring. The purchase and installation of the firewall is only the first step in a lengthy process.
Problems and complexities with common firewalls
The resources needed to manage a firewall are only a small part of the complexities involved. Businesses should be aware of a number of less tangible issues that may arise.
Balancing user-friendliness and security
Firewall regulations become a business impediment if protocols are too restrictive and don’t fulfill users’ access needs for certain apps or data. On the other hand, providing access to more than what is required to complete job duties can expose businesses to security breaches and data exfiltration.
While it’s considered best practice to regularly analyze firewall rules, many businesses often overlook this critical step.
Inability to respond to evolving threats
The complexities of managing a firewall grow in tandem with the threat landscape and a company’s attack surface. Firewall configurations and rules that were adequate just a few weeks or months ago aren’t always effective at blocking cyber threats today.
Several locations, lots of firewalls
One single firewall can handle each of the above-mentioned intricacies, but many organizations require multiple firewalls. Every firewall has its own set of rules and settings. With each new firewall installed, the amount of work can be multiplied.
Complications of industry compliance standards
If your business accepts payments online, your firewall must be PCI DSS compliant. Installing a firewall on your company’s network, on the other hand, won’t make you PCI DSS compliant. Over 20 PCI DSS sub-requirements serve as a framework for how firewalls should be installed, updated, and maintained so as to be compliant.
The Benefits of Hiring a Service Provider to Manage Your Firewall
The benefits of partnering with a managed security service provider (MSSP) for firewall management extend far beyond resolving the issues and complexities mentioned above.
Managed firewall services provide a wealth of benefits.
Advancing digital transformation
IT environments are changing as businesses increase their use of SaaS, public and hybrid cloud, IoT, and mobility. Traditional security controls may lack the agility required to support these transforming IT environments, causing digital transformation to be hampered. Worse, transformation may proceed without adequate security controls in place.
24/7 network monitoring
Leading managed firewall services will track and control your firewalls around the clock from their SOC (security operations center). The MSSP should have a highly secure, fully redundant SOC, complete with backup power and advanced security technologies.
Threats are better mitigated by collecting data, observing network traffic, and performing analysis against known vulnerabilities.
Solutions tailored to specific needs and circumstances
A managed firewall service can meet all of your firewall requirements, be they virtual, on-premise, cloud, or hybrid. Consider an MSSP that can tailor their managed firewall solutions to your network environment and provide all of the benefits listed above, whether it’s a simpler, faster-to-deploy premises-based managed firewall or a complex cloud-based firewall(s) to shield your expanding attack surface.
Next-Gen features and capabilities
Leading managed firewall solutions may enhance their existing security services with next-generation security technologies like intrusion prevention systems (IPS), web filtering, anti-virus protection, and application control.
Access to the most up-to-date threat intelligence sources
IT environments and the tools used to protect them are evolving, but so are malicious actors’ Tools, Tactics, and Procedures (TTPs). To stay ahead of the curve, IT and security departments must be constantly connected to the global threat landscape, which may be too demanding for most teams.
bridging the cybersecurity skills gap
The cybersecurity industry continues to face a significant talent shortage. According to an ISC2 report, the cybersecurity workforce gap in the United States is nearly 500,000 people. Skilled security staff members are in short supply and in high demand. IT and security departments are frequently understaffed and overworked. MSSPs can help fill that void.