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Everything you ever wanted to know about security policy management, and much more.

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Firewall migration tips & best practices


It goes without saying that security is the cornerstone of any organization today. This includes ensuring access to corporate data is secured, connectivity to the data center from both internal and external users is secured, and that critical security updates are installed. Now comes the big question: what if you have to migrate your security policy to a new platform?

With cloud computing and distributed data centers across the world nothing in technology is ever constant anymore. So how do you control and manage a firewall migration? What if you use multiple vendors’ solutions with both virtual and physical appliances? A firewall migration can be as simple as moving from one model to another, or a lot more complicated.

As an experienced cloud architect, I’ve been a part of a number of firewall migration projects. Here are three tips to help make your firewall migration project a little bit easier.

  • Create powerful firewall and security visibility map. All aspects of your firewall must be documented and well planned before doing a migration, and you must plan for both current as well as future needs. Start by gathering information: create a visual, dynamic map of your firewall architecture and traffic, which should include all technical connectivity data.
  • Understand, document and prepare policy migration. Once you have your visual firewall map it’s time to look under the hood. One firewall might be easy, but is it ever really just one security appliance? The dynamic nature of the modern data center means that multiple security vendors can live under one roof. So how do you create a policy migration plan around heterogeneous platforms? You need to identify and document all the security policies and services and network algorithms for each firewall end-point.
  • Analyze business impact and create a migration path. How do your applications interact with various security policies? Do you have specific business units relying on specific firewall traffic? How are various data centers being segmented by your security policies? Migrating a firewall will have a business-wide impact. You must ensure that this impact is absolutely minimal. You need to understand how your entire business model interacts with firewall and security technologies and if any piece of the business is forgotten technological headaches may be the least of your worries.

Migrating a firewall doesn’t have to be hard, but it must be well planned. With so much information traversing the modern data center, it’s imperative to have complete visibility across the security architecture. Ultimately, with the right tools to help you plan, map and actually implement a firewall change process, and lots of cups of coffee, you can greatly reduce security migration complexity.

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