Embracing Automation for Flexible NGFW Upkeep

Posted by Fuel HQ on Apr 2, 2020 9:30:00 AM

Thursday, April 2, 2020

From Fuel Headquarters


It is no secret that next-generation firewalls (NGFWs) can transform system operations. NGFWs provide their operators with enhanced capabilities, taking firewall maintenance and security to the next level.

But at the same time, NGFW upkeep can be overwhelming. Traditionally, firewalls have been static and IP-based. In that approach, popular software and services like Office 365, Amazon Web Services and Azure can update or change every few minutes. That puts pressure on firewall operators, who must be attuned to the changes and ready to jump in for manual updates so that the firewall is always compliant with safety and security standards. 

But that expectation is unrealistic in today’s workplace. Few workers can park themselves in front of a computer all day and constantly make manual changes. Such a strategy can be overwhelming and inefficient and can put firewall security at risk. 

But automation can help all that. A transition to dynamic objects and automation takes the burden off of firewall operators, retaining all the benefits of NGFWs while shedding the intense pressure to keep up with near-constant manual updates.

Automation, in addition to relieving operators of the burden of manual updates, gives operators control over the NGFW, boosting visibility in the process. With automation, operators can step back and survey the NGFW, using an array of tools to help with everything from troubleshooting to access management. 

The four main benefits of using automation to assist with NGFW upkeep are as follows:

  1.     Automation enhances visibility and control. With automation, firewall operators can quickly and easily reference current and historic firewall policies, giving them greater visibility into how policies have evolved over time. In addition, automated systems can help with access management and clearly show who made specific changes to the firewall.

  2.     Automation ensures continuous compliance. Whether the NGFW must be in compliance with internal organization standards or external standards, it can be a daunting task to continually ensure compliance. With automation, NGFW operators are empowered to make sure that any change or request is compliant with security policies and expectations.

  3.     Automation helps tighten security. The greater visibility provided by automation helps shed light on security policies. Cybersecurity is constantly evolving, and NGFW operators who embrace automation can monitor their security policies and determine whether an update is needed to stay up-to-date with cyber advances. 

  4.     Automation assists with audit readiness. In a manual system, the burden may fall to employees to dig through logs and find all relevant information ahead of an audit. Automation eases that task considerably, allowing operators to pull the relevant information from the system and easing headaches during the pre-audit process. 

While automation contributes to greater flexibility in NGFW upkeep, there are dangers in leaning into it too hard. NGFW operators should keep in mind that some degree of human monitoring is always essential to maximizing security and ensuring that everything continues to run smoothly. But with the right balance, automation can enhance NGFW upkeep by adding flexibility and relieving pressure.

To learn more about next-generation firewall automation, watch the Fuel webinar, “Leading Automation for Next-Generation Firewall Policies,” related to this blog post.

Webinars are available to Fuel members. Not a member yet? Learn how to join today.

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Topics: NGFW, Automation, firewall upkeep

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