A firewall is the frontline of defense for your organization’s IT infrastructure. In the case of a network firewall, it safeguards your organization from the inherent threats of the Internet. But first, you need to ensure that your firewall is accurately configured and assessed so that it protects your systems, applications, and data when the time calls for it.
After all, your firewall can be programmed to allow what comes in and goes out of your system. It helps to filter certain types of dangerous threats from entering your network.
Some of the major types of firewalls are packet filtering firewall, circuit-level gateway, stateful inspection firewall, and application-level gateway. Advanced firewalls like Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) and Unified Threat Management (UTM) provide traditional prevention measures while coming equipped with advanced features like Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) and Intrusion Detection System (IDS).
Importance of firewall security assessment
Having a firewall in place alone isn’t enough, since as time progresses, your system would be prone to new types of attacks that your firewall wouldn’t be able to detect. A firewall security assessment allows you to test your firewall’s efficiency, and more importantly, find weaknesses in the security system.
An annual review of firewall security is the minimum that is expected from an organization.
There are regulatory factors that need to be taken into consideration when discussing the importance of security assessment. Legislations such as SOX, PCI-DSS, and HIPAA are there to ensure that every organization has an up-to-date firewall installed and an annual assessment is done. It’s a mandatory step since it ensures that your firewall’s defense is updated to fight evolving threats.
Features of effective firewall security assessment
Thoroughly reviews the network architecture, its functionalities, and all the essential critical components in it
Monitors the processes and mechanism of security models that deny access by default
Reviews the access points by checking the implementation of open ports and services to it
Checks vulnerabilities inside the external/internal network protection structure
Identifies and protects all network segments by reviewing firewall configuration files
Verifies the implementation of access controls, necessary use policies and banners
Assesses the network and checks for the ingress and egress points
Looks for vulnerabilities, configuration, and administration flaws
Ensures the firewall complies with the necessary standards and policies
Review controls for default accounts, passwords, and network management community string
Comprehensively checks all switches and routers
Identifies and implements the best practices available and lack of hardening techniques
Carries out manual-based reviewing by using a customized testing methodology
We hope that you have brought to light the importance of conducting a firewall security assessment regularly. Apart from the above-mentioned essential tasks, an effective security assessment would also include:
Offering recommendations for critical software updates and additional security measures
Improving security by giving advice on improving configuration and equipment settings
Delivering insights on neutralizing identified vulnerability and reducing exposure
In our digital age, the threat of cyberattacks is on an unprecedented rise. They come in so many different forms that it can be extremely difficult to stay on top of unidentified threats and vulnerabilities. Especially with the new normal that businesses are getting accustomed to during these pandemic-induced times, the importance of firewall security assessment has exponentially grown too.