Avoid cyber exposure: Reduce risk with firewall rules best practices

Learn how to increase firewall security and improve overall security posture by optimizing firewall rulesets and automating workflows for change management.

Prioritize ease of firewall management and configuration

Firewalls are critical security controls. To reduce cybersecurity complexity, Skybox Security provides a single pain of glass for firewall management. With our network model, you can understand your firewall traffic patterns to validate the state of your security.

6 steps to firewall hygiene with optimized rulesets

Fifty-five percent of IT security decision-makers surveyed by Akamai and Ponemon Institute1 expressed concerns about the agility of their organizations’ security posture, citing that firewall rule changes took longer than three weeks to implement. A root cause is firewall rule bloat and complexity.
Removing unnecessary and outdated rules and objects reduces firewall policy complexity, increases manageability, and reduces misconfigurations, service disruptions, and rollbacks.

A simpler ruleset facilitates easier documentation of business justification and ownership for each rule. A clear, intelligible ruleset combined with effective rule life-cycle management processes enable organizations to comply with internal policies and external regulatory frameworks continuously.

The steps that should be taken for successful rule clean-up and optimization are:
  1. Identify shadowed, redundant, expired, or disabled rules
  2. Identify duplicate or orphaned objects
  3. Identify unused rules/objects
  4. Identify partially used rules/objects, evaluate flows
  5. Create tickets for rule/object deletion/modification
  6. Automate provisioning of rule/object changes on firewalls
Read our solution brief to get the in-depth lowdown on the six steps to firewall hygiene with optimized rulesets:

Six steps to firewall hygiene with optimized rulesets

Analyze firewall rule sets and automate change management workflows to advance cyber hygiene priorities and reduce risk

Your best firewall optimization options

Skybox Firewall Assurance and Skybox Change Manager enable your security team to take on and easily solve firewall management issues. Firewalls are continuously optimized, rule recertification is automated, and compliance is ensured. The result reduces your cyber exposure risk exponentially by delivering a concise, manageable, optimized ruleset and automated change management workflows for provisioning firewall rule and object changes.

Rule optimization and smart automation are firewall rules best practices, especially in industries such as financial services, where periodic rule recertification is mandatory. The ability to de-risk proposed changes against unintentional vulnerability exposure is a Skybox differentiator and a critical capability for organizations interested in maintaining a fortified security posture against popular threats such as zero-day DDoS attacks. Skybox rule optimization capabilities extend to cloud firewall solutions and can be used to de-risk firewall deployments.

Key features in Skybox Firewall Assurance include firewall vulnerability detection and risk mitigation, rule-based optimization, firewall rule usage optimization, firewall access, rule configuration, and compliance. Skybox Change Manager fully automates change management workflows to improve communication and efficiency across security teams, validates proposed firewall changes by checking for access and rule policy violations as well as new vulnerabilities, and uses formalized tickets and closed-loop workflows to ensure changes match the original intent.

Together, these Skybox solutions enable you to:

  • Protect your attack surface by eliminating risky firewall access rules
  • Enhance business agility through firewall rule automation and provisioning
  • Optimize firewall rule planning and strengthen your network security policy
  • Free up personnel time through automated firewall rule analysis
  • Accelerate firewall audit readiness and stay continuously compliant
  • Reduce exposure to new vulnerabilities by leveraging Skybox threat intelligence
  • Enforce continuous policy compliance with clear and intelligible rule sets

The benefits of the combined Skybox solutions’ capabilities reduce the overall complexity of your cyber risk management plan as well as your cyber exposure.

Watch this demo video to see how Skybox Firewall Assurance and Change Manager products improve cyber hygiene and risk management with centralized, optimized firewall management.

(1) Rethink Firewalls: Security and Agility for the Modern Enterprise, Ponemon Institute and Akamai, 2020