The firewall is an integral component of information security, but it can be difficult for companies to ensure their firewall is set up properly and provides adequate protection against network threats. A firewall is a software program that controls the incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security rules.
Admins can set firewall policies to allow or deny certain types of traffic, such as websites and applications. While firewall policies will vary depending on business needs, there are six firewall tips that should be considered by all companies:
1. Create firewall rules for both inbound and outbound traffic
2. Configure firewall rulebase groups by application or other logical organization
3. Use a firewall to enforce security compliance
4. Focus firewall policies on access, not blocking
5. Employ anti-evasion techniques in firewall architecture
6. Perform regular firewall auditing
Create Firewall Rules For Both Inbound And Outbound Traffic
Firewalls are designed to control the flow of packets between networks, which means that network admins must ensure firewall policies are established to allow acceptable forms of both incoming and outgoing traffic. While most firewall rules will limit access from outside the firewall, it is important to also create firewall rules that allow users to access the firewall. This will ensure that, even if firewall rules are comprised from within, there are firewall rules in place for outside access to the firewall.
Configure Firewall Rulebase Groups By Application Or Other Logical Organization
Network admins should establish firewall policy groups based on the applications and protocols used to communicate across them. Setting up firewall policies by application provides greater control and visibility, allowing admins to establish firewall rule groups for web traffic, email traffic and other common applications.
Use A Firewall To Enforce Security Compliance
Firewalls can be used not only as a barrier against network threats but also as an enforcement tool to reduce the risk of data loss. Firewalls can be configured to prevent employees from accessing websites that violate a firewall policy, such as gambling and pornography.
Focus Firewall Policies On Access, Not Blocking
Although firewalls are designed to control network traffic, it is important for firewall rules to allow as much traffic as possible. Firewall policies should be focused on allowing only the types of traffic required by specific firewall rules, and blocking everything else. This “least privilege” firewall enforcement will help prevent users from attempting to circumvent firewall rules in order to access restricted resources.
Employ Anti-Evasion Techniques In Firewall Architecture
Network admins should also create firewall architectures that can prevent evasive networking attacks, such as IP spoofing and session hijacking. These firewall architectures include stateful firewall inspection, dynamic firewall rule generation and advanced firewall rule management.
Perform Regular Firewall Auditing
Network admins should also perform ongoing firewall audits to ensure their firewalls are providing the protection required by business needs. Firewall audits can be performed using network vulnerability scans and penetration tests to identify security weaknesses and firewall rule misconfigurations.
These firewall tips should help organizations protect their networks and prevent network threats from disrupting business operations. For more firewall tips on firewall architecture, monitoring and audit.