Firewall Monitoring Best Practices
Managed firewall Services : Strong firewalls are a basic requirement for corporate cyber security. To get the most out of their firewalls, organizations must follow firewall management best practices, such as: For example, deploy multiple firewalls to provide a comprehensive defense that slows internal attacks.
Firewall monitoring is an important tool for optimizing existing firewall deployments in organizations of all sizes. However, many companies neglect to track their firewall metrics and performance status until it's too late.
Here are some best practices for firewall monitoring that you can use in your organization to improve firewall management:
Best practices for firewall monitoring # 1: Use firewall monitoring tools
Before you can start monitoring the effectiveness of your firewalls, you need some kind of firewall monitoring tool. These tools can be used to track data, such as: For example, to set current rules, warnings, and event logs (event logs are generally built into the firewall, but a monitoring tool can help users analyze this information efficiently).
Without a firewall monitoring tool, it is more difficult to make informed decisions about firewall management and rule settings. In particular, it is important to keep an eye on the current rule configurations to identify outdated firewall rules that need to be removed (or at least changed).
For this reason, using monitoring tools is one of the most basic, but most important, best practices for firewall security. Some organizations even outsource their firewall monitoring to a managed security service provider to act as a firewall monitoring service.
Best Practices for Firewall Monitoring # 2: Track any changes to the firewall rules
This is a good practice for firewall rules and a best practice for monitoring the firewall. As Network World noted, "Firewalls do not have an integrated change management process." Because there is no integrated solution to track rule changes, many IT administrators who are responsible for managing firewalls do not document these changes, especially if they are to make changes quickly in response to new developments.
However, there is a risk that changes to the new rules may conflict with a business process or another firewall rule. This can lead to downtime because the IT team has to go through all the current rules for different business processes to determine what and why was wrong.
By tracking the changes made and summarizing them in a change history document, you can more easily identify and correct the culprit for interrupting the workflow.
Best Practices for Firewall Monitoring # 3: Follow Inflated Rules
A company's work processes and tools can change over time. The firewall rule settings must change with them. If an old service, business process, or resource is stopped, the firewall configuration may still contain rules for it. This increases the likelihood of rule conflicts and, according to Network World, “hackers like the fact that firewall machines never remove rules. In fact, this is the number of engagements that occur. ""
Using a firewall monitoring tool to review old and outdated rules (and then remove those rules) is key to optimizing firewall management. This may require the IT team to coordinate with the business unit to determine when a particular business process, service, or resource will fail so that they can remove the related rules as needed.
Best practice # 4 for firewall monitoring: Check the firewall event log regularly
According to esecurityplanet.com, a recommended firewall practice is to monitor event logs "to detect changes or anomalies that could indicate changes in your firewall settings." Checking the event log in this way can be used to:
Helps to identify which rules are triggered most often.
Look for "false positives" for traffic that interacts with security rules. However, this should not be the case.
Identify security rules that are not triggered at all. and
Provide useful information for changing firew settings / rules