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Firewall Security Guide

What are firewall configuration management and its importance? 

Firewall configuration management and its importance

A firewall plays an essential role in network security and must be configured correctly to protect organizations from data leakage and cyberattacks. The firewall can be kept secure by configuring policies and rules. Firewall policy configuration is based on network type, such as public or private, and can be configured with security rules that block or allow access to thwart potential hacker and malware attacks.

But when you try to install a firewall yourself, it’s never easy. You could run into many problems, like not being able to find the right firewall, setting up firewall policies that are too restrictive, using non-standard authentication methods, leaving ports open, using risky management services, and not having enough firewall monitoring. When this happens, the best way to get a firewall set up in your business is to use firewall installation services. Let’s talk about how to install a firewall in your business and what the benefits are of having someone else do it.

What is Firewall Configuration?

Firewalls are an integral component of any business’s security strategy. A firewall is designed to prevent the spread of viruses and unauthorized access to your network. 

There is a firewall between your computer and the internet. It determines which services on your computer are accessible to external network users. Monitoring network traffic and blocking suspected harmful traffic helps protect against cyber assaults, data exfiltration, and other risks.

A set of predetermined rules or policies is one of the primary ways firewalls determine whether a connection should be permitted or denied. Firewall installation and configuration refers to the process of configuring the rules and other security settings of a firewall. 

You must keep the following points in mind while firewall installation listed below:

  • Firewall Placement (Correct place to deploy in the network)
  • Configuring Network Parameters for Optimal Performance
  • Security Policies and Access Controls for better Security
  • Logging and Reporting for Compliance Requirements
  • Firewall Configuration Management
  • Pilot Configuration Test

Importance of Professional Firewall Installation

The rapid development of hybrid clouds, coupled with their increasingly widespread use, is outpacing the capabilities of network security to keep up. An increasing number of companies are attempting to protect themselves by utilizing network firewalls, which raises the possibility of configuration errors and policy holes. 

The configuration of these rules determines whether a firewall efficiently prevents malicious network connections or mistakenly inhibits legitimate business communications. In addition, if a firewall is not properly configured and protected, cyber threat actors may exploit vulnerabilities and security flaws to access the firewall and the protected network.

According to Gartner, until 2023, 99 percent of firewall breaches will be the result of firewall misconfigurations rather than technical flaws. Incorrect configuration of a firewall may allow unauthorized access to secure internal networks and resources. Organizations must ensure that the basic firewall configuration meets the needs of their networks and regulatory compliances.

Here is how to configure a firewall securely

Implementing secure networks and domain-specific packet inspection requires proper configuration. 

Here’s how to set up a firewall securely:

Securing The Firewall

The vital step to securely configuring the firewall is to secure your firewall from all possible vulnerabilities. Follow the guidelines below to ensure a secure firewall:

  • Always keep the firewall up to date with the latest firmware or software update
  • Never put firewalls into productions without testing the configurations in lab scenarios
  • Delete, disable and rename default accounts
  • Change default passwords
  • Use unique and secure passwords
  • Never use shared user accounts
  • Enable SNMP monitoring for monitoring the health and status of the firewall
  • Restrict outgoing and incoming network traffic for specific applications or protocols
  • Always turn off firewall administrative access from the Internet

Firewall design and architecture:

Identify and classify the computers based on access requirements and criticality. You can divide your network into distinct zones such as LAN for internal computers, DMZ for critical servers, and Guest for guest user access. Restricting Interzone traffic will help you to improve your security posture. After creating your network zone structure and assigning the corresponding IP address, you can create policies for Interzone traffic to control what is allowed and what is denied.

Configure Access Control:

After defining network zones and assigning them to interfaces, you must choose which traffic is permitted to enter and exit these zones. Policies are firewall rules that enable traffic and permit or restrict access to various zones. It is necessary to create policies for the source IP, destination IP, the user or group ID, port numbers, or service name. Each policy should conclude with a “deny all” rule to enable organizations to block unwanted traffic. Each interface and sub-interface must have an inbound and outbound policy to ensure that only authorized traffic can enter each zone.

Other Firewall Services and Logging Configuration:

You should configure the services (DHCP, DNS, etc.) you intend to use while disabling all other services. To comply with and meet Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) requirements, firewalls must be configured to report to a logging service. Ensure that essential information is provided to comply with PCI DSS standards 10.2 through 10.3.

Firewall configuration testing:

Now is the time to evaluate your firewall configuration. It will determine whether or not the firewall is preventing the traffic that the policies are designed to prevent. To test the configuration, techniques such as configuration assessment, vulnerability scanning, and penetration testing (pen testing) should be utilized. The information obtained from a penetration test aids the IT and network management teams in identifying security vulnerabilities and making strategic decisions to address them. A pen test report can assist a company in determining its cybersecurity investments and in establishing and developing secure online applications.

Firewall Configuration Management:

You need proper firewall configuration management not only to maintain your firewall but also to monitor and evaluate firewall security standards and recommend upgrades or adjustments as necessary. It involves monitoring logs, conducting vulnerability scans, and regularly evaluating policies. In addition to maintaining logs and other data, audits must be conducted frequently. To ensure the continued security of the network, it is also essential to document processes and rigorously manage settings. Regularly check for software or firmware updates and review logs for traffic anomalies and missed detections.

The above-stated process is quite complex and laborious. Any vulnerabilities left uncovered in the above firewall configuration procedure can lead to critical system issues, and you may end up inviting cybercriminals to steal your sensitive data.

Benefits Of Firewall Installation Services

As stated above, firewall installation services can save your cost, and risk in maintaining and configuring a firewall in your organizational network. The firewall installation provides you with some benefits that are listed below:

Increased Productivity

When there are no downtimes or unanticipated security breaches, employees have more time for productivity. Firewalls prevent access not only to inappropriate URLs but also to undesirable web applications and activities such as file sharing, media streaming, peer-to-peer networking, etc. Employees have no choice but to focus on their work and be productive once these distractions are eliminated.

Essential maintenance and updates

No firewall vendor notifies the firewall administrators that your firewall is not updated with the latest updates or patches. It is the duty of the Firewall administrator or the IT team to make sure that the firewall software is up to date. This is a big headache for normal IT teams as they do not have the expertise or right skills to check and verify the firmware upgrades in the test environment. After the verification, the call should be taken for firmware upgrade and how to decide which firmware to upgrade to in case of multiple new software releases.

Disaster Recovery

Are you prepared and equipped with everything your company needs to recover from disasters (such as power outages, equipment failure, data breaches, etc.)? The longer it takes to restore normal operations, the more damage your business will sustain. Why not delegate everything to the experts? Professional firewall management is able to identify issues and recover from catastrophes as quickly as possible.

What Do Sharkstriker Firewall Management Services Include?

Proper firewall configurations are crucial to a firewall’s effectiveness. With SharkStriker’s expertise in all types of firewall deployments, you are assured of quick and secure firewall configuration and installation, with an emphasis on installation best practices.

Sharkstriker Firewall Management Services include some vital services listed below:

  • Understand the infrastructure of your network.
  • Analyze the security requirements of your system.
  • Identify firewall deliverables.
  • Firewall installation, policy setting, and rule configuration.

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