Opinion: Automating firewall policy management: enhancing security and efficiency in spite of the talent shortage

Opinion: Automating firewall policy management: enhancing security and efficiency in spite of the talent shortage

By Grace Han, CEO of SSNC
Mar. 7, 2023 8:00PM GMT+9

In today’s digital age, security threats are constantly evolving, making it increasingly difficult for organizations to keep their networks and data secure. One of the key components of network security is the firewall, which acts as a barrier between an organization’s internal network and the outside world. Firewall policies determine what traffic is allowed to pass through the firewall and what is blocked, making them a critical component of network security.

However, managing firewall policies manually can be a daunting task. It’s time-consuming and error-prone, which can lead to misconfigured policies that can leave an organization’s network vulnerable to cyberattacks. However, as the demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals has increased, there has been a global cybersecurity manpower shortage, making it increasingly difficult for organizations to find and recruit the talent they need. According to a report by (ISC)², the global cybersecurity workforce shortage is expected to reach 1.8 million by 2022.

This shortage of skilled cybersecurity professionals has made it important for organizations to find ways to automate processes like firewall policy management. Solutions, including Firewall Policy Management System (FPMS), can help to reduce the burden on cybersecurity professionals, allowing them to focus on more strategic tasks, such as threat analysis and incident response. By automating processes, organizations can reduce the workload for their cybersecurity teams and make their existing workforce more efficient.

FPMS automates the process of managing firewall policies, making it easier for organizations to ensure that their network security is up-to-date and secure. While managing firewall policies manually is time-consuming and error-prone, which eventually leads to misconfigured policies and holes in the organization’s network, FPMS enables organizations to streamline the management of firewall policies, reducing the workload for IT and security teams and eliminating the risk of human error.

Diagnosing the current firewall policy is also a crucial step when it comes to improving network security. This involves analyzing the current policies and identifying any potential vulnerabilities, inconsistencies, or errors that may exist. In addition, regularly reviewing and updating firewall policies is vital for maintaining network security. This involves ensuring that policies are up-to-date and aligned with the latest security best practices, as well as addressing any new or emerging threats. With FPMS, administrators can easily review firewall policies and rules, identifying any duplicates, unused policies, or expired procedures.

A flowchart of FPMS. Source: SSNC

The need for FPMS has become more important in recent years, as the number of cyber threats has increased. Furthermore, modern firewalls are becoming more complex, requiring more policies and rules to be managed. FPMS helps organizations to use multiple firewalls from different vendors. Each firewall requires numerous policies to be set, which can be difficult for humans to manage without errors. FPMS allows policies to be integrated and analyzed for each specific firewall, making the task much more manageable. This eliminates human error and ensures that all firewalls are configured correctly and securely.

Currently, NH NongHyup, one of Korea’s leading financial institutions, is using FPMS to efficiently manage over 600 firewalls. By reducing their firewall management staff from 12 to 3, they were able to allocate the remaining staff to other tasks, such as responding to cyber threats. Additionally, they were able to save 88% of their firewall policy verification time and reduce their workload by 57%, maximizing the efficiency of their firewall operations.

Other major financial institutions in Korea, such as Shinhan Bank and KB Insurance, are also using FPMS to automate their operations, improving the convenience and efficiency of their staff while enhancing their overall security posture. Through these efforts, these institutions are increasing their productivity and strengthening their security posture.

FPMS is a key solution for managing firewall policies in today’s security landscape. As cyber threats continue to increase, organizations need to be more vigilant than ever when it comes to network security. Automating processes like firewall policy management can help them stay ahead of the attackers.

nonehan@ssnc.co.krFollow the author

About the author

Grace Han is a cybersecurity software CEO with over 25 years of experience in software development. She is also a vice president of the Korea Information Security Industry Association and a member of an association for female IT entrepreneurs. Her company, SSNC, has achieved remarkable success in providing information leakage prevention security solutions to various organizations in just five years. She has received recognition for her contributions to the development of the information and communication technology industry, including a presidential commendation on Science and Technology Day and a Minister of Science and ICT award on Information Protection Day. As a female CEO with recognized expertise in the field, she holds a master’s degree in financial information from Korea University.