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Seven Steps to Better Firewall Management

An effective firewall is like a strong, well-guarded wall surrounding your digital kingdom. Its filters and monitoring capabilities are like soldiers and watchmen, ready to defend your data. But if a company doesn’t exercise effective firewall management, they may find their kingdom “protected” by sleeping soldiers and filled with hole-ridden walls that let thieves and invaders easily slip through. Here are seven steps you can take for more effective firewall management.

1. Carefully Configure Your Firewalls

When you configure your firewalls, you use network policies designed to secure your specific digital assets and systems. For instance, a well-configured firewall can protect you against distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, malicious content, fake websites, and malware. Each company’s threats and assets are unique, so they require different configuration settings.

2. Establish and Document Your Change Management Policy

Changes to your firewall are inevitable, so you need to have a change management policy. This may include:

  • The kinds of changes that can be approved
  • Who executes changes
  • The stakeholders that need to be made aware
  • Policies regarding how to test your firewalls during the change process

3. Update Your Firewall Frequently

By updating your firewall, you ensure it’s equipped with the newest and most effective defenses. This is crucial because cyber attack vectors, technologies, and tactics change frequently. Updates can keep you a step ahead of evolving threats.

4. Limit the Number of Authorized Users

Even in situations where you feel you can trust each user, the more you have, the more vulnerabilities you introduce. Even users with a vested interest in the security of your network may become a vulnerability because they are often targeted by cyber criminals. Through clever social engineering tactics cyber criminals try to gain access to authorized users to gain the keys to the castle. So, the fewer authorized users you have, the better.

5. Set Up Strict Traffic Restrictions

It’s best to start by restricting all traffic and then gradually allow certain kinds of traffic to pass through. This should include only the traffic you need to effectively conduct business. For instance, only users who need to interact with your employees should be allowed to access certain segments of your network. The stricter your traffic restrictions, the smaller your attack surface.

6. Regularly Audit Rules, Policies, and Logs

By setting up a firewall auditing schedule, you ensure your controls are effective within the context of your current needs. And while auditing your logs, you may be able to catch signs of threats and attack attempts that can help your IT team mount a stronger defense. In addition, depending on your industry, your data management practices may have to conform to changing regulations. An audit ensures you address any necessary adjustments.

7. Segment Your Network

Segmenting your network is one of the most effective ways of preventing threats. For example, you can set up a firewall that limits access to customer payment data so only the finance department can see it. Or you can only enable those in product development to see files in the research and development segment. The protection possibilities are endless.

TPx can help you ensure your firewall is properly configured and deployed as well as ensure your firewall management is on-point with 24/7 monitoring and support. Reach out to a TPx representative today to learn how TPx’s Managed Firewall service can help safeguard your network.

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