We’re at the stage where modern enterprises now directly rely on their data center to run their businesses. And security – protecting what’s actually living in the data center – is one of the most critical issues for businesses today. So how do you control security? How do you create a process to manage change within security policies?
Security management solutions have significantly evolved over the past few years. Here are three recommendations for how to utilize these solutions to create an effective security change and process control strategy within a constantly changing business environment.
- Utilize automation and agnostic security. It doesn’t matter what type of firewall you use – Juniper, Check Point, Palo Alto Networks – what matters is how it’s all managed. You must be able to automate and control the entire security policy change workflow – from submission and design to risk analysis, implementation, validation and audit. The key is doing all of this through one logical security policy change automation engine. Today’s modern cloud and data center infrastructure is truly built around numerous heterogeneous systems. To that extent – some of these systems may live in various parts of your business and can come from completely different vendors. Whether it’s a virtual or physical firewall – utilizing a management platform which can be agnostic to your firewall architecture is critical to managing your overall security platform.
- Integrate security policy monitoring and analysis. How do you manage or even monitor what you can’t see? What if you have truly distributed system spanning a number of data centers? Your firewalls have policies. These policies control applications, user access, and how data flows between critical systems. Through it all – the only way to create change management is to have direct visibility into the entire firewall policy architecture. It’s also critical to be able to analyze the policies for consistency, process control, and how this is impacting your overall infrastructure. When you integrate cross-platform policy controls, you’ll quickly find that migrating firewalls – and even entire security models – becomes a lot easier.
- Incorporate audits, testing, and compliance controls. This one is big. Large enterprise organizations are now finding it a lot more challenging to create audit trails around their data, cloud, and even security infrastructure. This also complicates testing when there are just so many pieces to manage. In creating solid security and process controls – it’s critical that administrators deploy tools which can logically abstract the physical nature of security and create powerful trails for auditing and compliance. This can mean testing for PCI/DSS or even HIPAA violations. Beyond compliance, one powerful management interface which aggregates various firewall and security policies allows for much easier testing. Now, administrators can granularly analyze various locations, physical as well as virtual devices, and truly understand how their cloud and data center model is working. The key point to understand here is the fact that the security architecture of the modern enterprise is becoming more and more complex. Through it all – audit and testing tools are specifically designed to make the management of these security pieces simpler and a lot more effective.
Your organization’s security architecture is unique and helps protect the critical data which keeps your business running. The best way to control security changes is to have granular visibility into your distributed security architecture. This means knowing which policies are active on which firewall, creating audit trails as granular as business application usage, and proactively analyzing every change for risk or compliance violations. When you create process control – you begin to efficiently manage security change. Remember, change is inevitable. As your business evolves, your change control methodology must adapt as well.
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