Why You Need a Managed Firewall Service

June 2023
Sagenet Blog Managed Firewall

Firewalls are essential components of network security, but the 2019 Capital One breach illustrates how poor management can create enormous risks. In one of the biggest data breaches in history, a hacker exploited a misconfigured firewall to access personal information of more than 100 million customers and credit card applicants.

Unfortunately, such exploits have become all too common as firewalls have become increasingly complex. Gartner analysts say 99 percent of all firewall breaches are caused by misconfigurations rather than by any inherent flaws in the technology.

Managed firewall services substantially reduce the risk. In such services, third-party providers with specific expertise in configuration and policy development provide around-the-clock monitoring to ensure that firewalls are properly configured, updated, patched and audited.

The Configuration Conundrum

Firewall rules management is an essential element of the services. User-defined rules dictate how firewalls filter traffic, but those rules must be updated every time new users, devices, applications or remote sites are added to the network. Staying abreast of such frequent changes has become a time-consuming and error-prone process, however. With organizations commonly using 100 or more firewalls, configurations are in almost perpetual need of updates.

Continual updates can result in bloated and inefficient rule bases over time, with large numbers of policies that are expired, obsolete or duplicated. Surveys show that most organizations have more than 1,000 rules for each firewall, and some large companies have hundreds of thousands of rules. More than a third of respondents to one survey said their firewall rule bases were a mess and susceptible to hackers.

In addition to complicating firewall management, firewall rules sprawl creates compliance issues. For example, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard requires organizations to review firewall rules at least once every six months. However, one study found that most audit their firewalls only about once a year, and up to 20 percent never audit.

Managed firewall services allow companies to offload rules development and configuration management. The service provider can work with you to determine your unique requirements, guide you through the process of crafting appropriate policies and rules, and then configure and implement your firewall solution. Updates and patches are applied remotely, keeping the devices up-to-date and leaving internal staff free to focus on other priorities.

Increased Automation and More

Leading providers usually have invested in technologies for automating such tasks, dramatically reducing the risk of human error. In addition, the provider handles all administrative tasks such as adding or deleting user accounts, modifying firewall rules, and updating configurations. Providers also remotely install patches, bug fixes and software updates as needed.

Other key benefits of a managed firewall include:

Improved visibility. Your service provider will review and analyze logs and events and provide regular reports about firewall performance, active users and traffic patterns. Any potentially threatening trends will generate immediate alerts.

Increased automation. Always-on configuration monitoring detects any configuration changes and automatically recalibrates security policies to eliminate errors. Automated audits and reviews can identify and remove outdated or redundant firewall rules.

Faster problem resolution. With 24×7 monitoring and support, any issues with the firewall can be detected and resolved quickly. This ensures minimal downtime, which is critical for businesses that rely heavily on their network.

Scalability. As organizations expand, their network security needs will also increase. With a managed service, it is easy to configure and deploy additional firewalls to meet changing needs.

Firewalls are critical elements of network security, but the management burden is overwhelming IT staffs and leading to dangerous misconfigurations. With our managed firewall service, SageNet can support your firewall requirements as part of a comprehensive network management strategy. Contact us to discuss how our services can benefit your organization.

Jason Schwakopf

Jason Schwakopf

Senior Sales Engineer

Recent events have caused a paradigm shift for many companies, accelerating their desire to better leverage IoT. Supply chain, healthcare, advanced living care, retail and other service industries are going to be looking at ways to be “touchless” as much as possible. Enterprise systems will need a new level of flexibility, accessibility and above all, security.

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