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Managed Firewalls Provide an Added Level of Cybersecurity Protection

Given the essential role firewalls play in network security, most companies would benefit from offloading the management to a qualified managed services provider.

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Firewalls are one of the most important elements of network security, filtering incoming and outgoing traffic based on a set of user-defined rules to allow the free flow of legitimate communications while preventing unauthorized access. However, the increasing complexity of secure and robust firewall management is a source of exposure for many companies.

To combat increasingly sophisticated threats, today’s firewalls include far more security features than their precursors. With that comes the need for careful configuration, continual monitoring, and ongoing updates. In industrial operations with 50 or more firewalls, the management requirements can quickly become overwhelming.

Part of the problem is that firewall interfaces tend to be complex and not very intuitive, which increases the likelihood of mistakes that can have very serious consequences. Gartner analysts say up to 99% of all firewall breaches are caused by misconfiguration issues rather than any flaws with the technology itself. 

Access to the Right Expertise

Given the essential role firewalls play in network security, most companies should probably consider offloading the management burden to a qualified managed services provider. But keep in mind that not all managed service providers are created equal. Only a provider with specific expertise in firewall configuration and policy development can provide the kind of dedicated monitoring and management required to help ensure that your firewalls are always properly patched and updated. 

With a managed firewall service, a dedicated team of specialists handles all the operation and maintenance. In large companies, a managed firewall may be the responsibility of in-house IT staff.  For mid-size to smaller businesses, a managed firewall is often outsourced to a third party. In most cases, managed firewalls do not require a firewall expert technician on the IT team. Most of the technical issues such as crashes, failures, and errors are being handled remotely by the service provider. 

The first step in implementing a managed firewall begins with a security assessment that determines the needs of a business. Once the assessment identifies the security needs, the firewall is built and installed using state of the art technology. Offsite analysts monitor and manage all areas of the firewall, including software updates and troubleshooting.

Managed Firewall Benefits

A managed firewall service offers many benefits to give you the best possible cybersecurity scenario. Financial advantages include reduced downtime and more productive employees. Using an outside service also provides around-the-clock support from highly skilled professionals who have knowledge and experience that would be difficult and expensive to maintain in-house. Other things to consider include:

Increased Network Reliability & Uptime

Without downtimes and unexpected security breaches, employees have more time to be productive.  Not only do firewalls block access to unwanted webpages, they also block access to undesirable web applications such as file sharing, video streaming, etc. 

Knowledge and Expertise

Properly maintaining and upgrading firewalls requires a lot of specialized knowledge. Unfortunately, building the necessary team of experts can be expensive. But that doesn’t mean you cannot have access to the team you need to keep your firewalls running effectively. A firewall management service will give you access to a wide breadth of expertise, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This is all without the expense of putting together your own team or hiring someone with a basic level of knowledge across the board.

Disaster Recovery

Are you prepared with everything you need to recover from disasters? The longer it takes to get everything back up and running, the more your company will suffer. Why not let professionals take care of everything? Firewall management can diagnose problems and provide all you need to recover from the disaster in the fastest time possible.

Compliance/ Regulation / Product Certificate

A managed firewall service provider will listen to your specifications and requirements in order to determine which policies to secure. Furthermore, whenever newer versions of the software and tools are available, a managed firewall service provider will take care of it. They will backup your current software and install all the relevant updates to improve the safety of your firewall. If you are trying to do this on your own, it’s likely you will not be notified as quickly about the updates or even know which updates are worth doing.

Minimize Risk of Business Impacting Security Breaches

A managed firewall service can help prevent breaches in many ways. Technology additions and updates are independently evaluated, and firewall settings adjusted as needed in a way that minimizes the impact on your business’s security posture as well as its state of compliance. Additionally, with a managed firewall service, the rules are regularly reviewed and actively updated according to the latest cybersecurity threats. Finally, dedicated, ongoing monitoring and management maximizes system processes and uptime, while actively defending websites, applications, databases, servers, and other endpoints.

Firewall management is an integral part of Rockwell Automation’s OT Managed Services suite.  Rockwell Automation Firewall Management services provide proactive remote technical support of OT firewall devices to provide a robust and highly available firewall infrastructure. 24x7 remote monitoring and administration, comprehensively including hardware warranty and firmware updates help to maintain a secure and available infrastructure.

Dekel Ophir
Dekel Ophir
Head of Network Security Dept. for Avnet Data Security, a Rockwell Automation Company

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