One of the core elements of securing your company’s network is a firewall.
Firewalls control network traffic flow by determining whether to accept or discard a packet that passes through it based on predetermined security rules.
“Traditional firewall software no longer provides meaningful security,” writes Roger A. Grimes for CSO, “but the latest generation now offers both client-side and network protection.”
Grimes points out that traditional firewalls really only protect against unauthorized people or malware.
They don’t prevent against end-user errors, such as clicking on a malicious link. Grimes explains: “when the end-user does this, it creates an ‘allowed’ outbound connection to initiate the then ‘allowed’ resulting inbound connection back to the user’s computer. ‘Client-side’ attacks are nearly 100 percent of all attacks and firewalls aren’t good at stopping those types of connections.”
We are now in the third generation of firewall technology called next-generation firewalls (NGFWs). The name seems dated since they have been around for more than a decade. However, in addition to monitoring incoming and outgoing data, NGFWs fold in new capabilities to firewall protection such as:
Application awareness and control
Intrusion prevention functions
Approximately 80 percent of U.S. enterprises have deployed NGFW products, according to NSS Labs.
Though nearly a decade old, the National Institute of Standards and Technology has provided its list of Guidelines On Firewalls and Firewall Policy that still applies today because of its basic principles.
To create a better firewall, follow these basic steps to reveal gaps in your system.
Better firewall management in some respects means going back to basics by creating a comprehensive policy and sticking to it.