Thursday, June 18, 2020
From Fuel Headquarters
The coronavirus crisis has put new strain on network security professionals. As companies across the country continue to shift to a remote work model, firewalls have become overloaded with traffic. At times, encryption rules need to be relaxed just so firewalls can keep up with demand — but relaxing the rules leaves an inspection gap.
Inspection gaps are not ideal under any circumstances but can be especially dangerous when there are regulations and compliance standards to meet. Based on tips shared in the Fuel webinar, “Stop Your Firewall From Burning: How to Inspect 100% of Encrypted Traffic,” here are several ways to improve your ability to protect firewalls and inspect all encrypted traffic.
Look to the cloud for inspiration. The problems facing many firewalls are those of scale, not performance. Finding a solution with horizontal scaling could dramatically increase inspection capacity, helping firewalls keep up with demand without sacrificing encryption safety. Following a cloud-based model could be that solution. Cloud operations succeed by distributing work across multiple CPUs, and many make use of automatic scaling to add or remove capacity as needed. Virtualization may provide all the benefits of a cloud-based system for firewall protection and encryption inspections.
Make use of new and existing tools. There is no need to throw your toolkit away and start fresh. Using your existing tools in conjunction with new solutions can be the best, most cost-effective combination. For example, an effective virtualization solution will incorporate Palo Alto Networks’ Panorama, but you may also need to buy servers in order to optimize protection. Finding the right balance between tools you already have and tools you need to acquire will set you up for success.
Find a system that allows easy analysis and maintenance. Upgrading your inspection capacity won’t end up saving time and manpower if it becomes a hassle to maintain the new system. It is, therefore, crucial to find a solution that gives you a full view of the information you need to know. The system should be intuitive, and it should be easy to make adjustments as needed to keep your firewall at optimal performance.
Start slow and expand as needed. Even if you know you need to scale up your inspection capacity, it is prudent to start slow, analyze the pros and cons of your chosen system and expand as needed. Certain virtualization tools and packages allow you to start small, even just designating one device for inspection via virtual wire mode, before deciding whether or not to expand your capacity. This cautious approach allows you to advance on your own schedule, becoming comfortable with new systems before gradually expanding.
Consider the impact to your bottom line. Transitioning to a virtualization model has been linked to business benefits in the past. With a cloud-inspired virtualization system, there is no need to own or manage hardware. Taking those costs — and headaches — away can help you focus more on firewall protection. Meanwhile, depending on what service you buy, you can find yourself with all the tools you need on a subscription pricing model. One three-year cost of ownership study found that virtualization systems cost more than 40% less than traditional models, and the upfront investment is three times lower than with traditional models. These financial benefits will help your business while also allowing you to advance at your own pace.
To learn more about firewall protection, watch the Fuel webinar, “Stop Your Firewall From Burning: How to Inspect 100% of Encrypted Traffic,” related to this blog post.
Webinars are available to Fuel members. Not a member yet? It’s free to join. Get started today.
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