A network security device is only as strong as its rules and policies. Firewalls can have rules for both inbound and outbound information. Inbound rules are meant to stop mischievous content from getting to your computer; whereas, outbound rules protect data from being sent out to an unauthorized remote location.

With hackers working around the clock to breach networks, it’s essential to ensure that your firewall rules are spot on. The problem many organizations face is that rule optimization is not a one time activity; it requires constant review. Moreover, most enterprise networks have thousands of rules, making it rather challenging to perform this analysis manually.

In other words, security admins need to periodically:

  1. Optimize the existing rules.

  2. Reorder rules for maximum speed.

  3. Delete unused rules.

  4. Add new rules.

Adding new rules can be especially tricky, as not all rules are independent from each other. In fact, most new rules will have a distinct impact on existing rules, and the simplest errors can trigger a massive security loophole that can:

  • Allow malicious traffic to sneak in, resulting in a network breach.

  • Block legitimate traffic, disrupting normal business.

  • Interact poorly with the existing rule set, affecting the efficiency of the rule performance.

This is why it’s critical for security admins to thoroughly measure the consequences of adding a new rule in the firewall.

The new Firewall Analyzer feature, Rule Impact Analysis, helps security admins analyze the impact of adding a new rule in the firewall. Firewall Analyzer is an efficient firewall rule planning tool that determines if the proposed new rule will negatively impact the existing rule set. A typical rule impact analysis process will include:

  • Proposed new rule: A new rule is submitted for impact analysis.

  • Anomaly detection: The proposed new rule is checked against the existing rule base for anomalies.

  • Rule order recommendation: An optimal rule order is suggested by analyzing the proposed new rule for complexity and anomalies.

  • Permissive interface identification: Any overly permissive destination interfaces for the proposed new rule are found.

  • Threat detection: Service, application, and interface-level threats are detected and reported on.

  • Blacklisted IP identification: Blacklisted IP addresses that are used in the proposed new rule are singled out.

  • Risk assessment: Risk assessment is provided for relevant service, application, and interface ports.

  • New rule implementation: The new rule is implemented in the firewall.

With these reports, security admins can identify threats, understand risks, remove anomalies, and optimize proposed new rules. Rule impact analysis simplifies the complicated process of adding new rules, so security admins can safely write the rule in the firewall.

 Download a free, 30-day trial of Firewall Analyzer to try out the new Rule Impact Analysis feature yourself.

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