Information security is vital to. Organizations trust their IT teams to enable innovation and business transformation but need them to safeguard digital assets in the process.
This leads some leaders to feel that theirare standing in the way of innovation and business agility. Instead of rolling new a new enterprise application and provisioning it for full from the start, demand weeks or months of time to secure those systems before they’re ready.
But this doesn’t mean thatis a bottleneck to business agility. The need for speedier doesn’t automatically translate to increased risk.
Complex enterprise infrastructure and
A medium-sizded enterprise may have hundreds of servers, systems, and security solutions likein place. These may be spread across several different cloud providers, with additional inputs from vendors and other third-party partners.
Moderninvolve non-stop change
Whenteams deploy or modify an application, it’s in response to an identified business need. When those get delayed, there is a real business impact.
Strongneed thousands of custom rules
Effectively managing an enormous volume of custom security rules andpolicies requires access to scalable security resources under a centralized, well-managed . Organizations must ensure their are equipped to enforce successfully.
Inter-department communication needs improvement
Application deliver managers, network architects, security professionals, and compliance managers must all contribute to the delivery of new application projects. Achieving clear channels of communication between these different groups is no easy task.
In most enterprise environments, these teams speak different technical languages. They draw their data from internally siloed sources, and rarely share comprehensive documentation with one another. In many cases, one or more of these groups are only brought in after everyone else has had their say, which significantly limits the amount of influence they can have.
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Without a clearin place, most enterprises end up managing security changes on an ad hoc basis. This puts them at a disadvantage, especially when security resources are stretched thin on and initiatives.
Instead of adopting a reactive approach that delays application releases and reduces productivity, organizations can leverage theapproach to to address early in the application development . This leaves additional resources available for responding to , managing , and proactively preventing .
The first stage of therevolves around mapping how your apps connect to each other and to your network setup. The more details can include in this map, the better prepared your IT team will be for handling the challenges of policy management.
Performing this discovery process manually can cost enterprise-levela great deal of time and accuracy. There may be thousands of devices on the network, with a complex web of between them. Any errors that enter the framework at this stage will be amplified through the later stages – it’s important to get things right at this stage.
Automated tools help IT staff improve the speed and accuracy of the discovery and visualization stage. This helps everyone – technical and nontechnical staff included – to understand what apps need to connect and work together properly. Automated tools help translate these needs into language that the rest of the organization can understand, reducing the risk of misconfiguration down the line.
Once you have a good understanding of how your apps connect with each other and your network setup, you can plan changes more effectively. You want to make sure these changes will allow the organization’s apps to connect with one another and work together without increasing.
It’s important to adopt a-oriented perspective at this stage. You don’t want to accidentally introduce weak spots that hackers can exploit, or establish policies that are too complex for your organization’s employees to follow.
This process usually involves translating applicationrequests into network operations terms. Your IT team will have to check if the proposed changes are necessary, and predict what the results of implementing those changes might be. This is especially important for cloud-based apps that may change quickly and unpredictably.
At the same time,must evaluate the risks and determine whether the changes are compliant with . Automating these tasks as part of a regular cycle ensures the data is always relevant and saves valuable time.
The process of complex, time-consuming, and prone to error. It often stretches the capabilities of that already have a wide range of operational security issues to address at any given time. In between managing and compliance, they must now also manually update thousands of security rules over a fleet of complex network assets.new security rules is
This process gets a little bit easier when guided by a comprehensiveframework. But most organizations don’t unlock the true value of the until they adopt .
Automatedplatforms enable organizations to design rule changes intelligently, migrate rules automatically, and push new policies to through a zero-touch interface. They can even validate whether the intended changes updated correctly.
This final step is especially important. Without it,must manually verify whether their new policies successfully address the the way they’re supposed to. This doesn’t always happen, leaving with a false sense of security.
Mostaccumulate thousands of rules as update them against new threats. Many of these rules become outdated and obsolete over time, but remain in place nonetheless.
Configuration changes and maintenance should include processes for identifying and eliminating rules that are redundant, misconfigured, or obsolete. The cleaner and better-documented the organization’s rulesets are, the easier subsequent configuration changes will be.
Ruleprovide a simple solution to this problem. Organizations that create and maintain comprehensive for their current rulesets can easily modify, update, and change those rules without having to painstakingly review and update individual devices manually.
Every business application will eventually reach the end of its. However, many organizations keep decommissioned in place for one of two reasons:
As these obsoletepile up, they force the organization to spend more time and resources updating their rulesets. This adds bloat to security processes, and increases the risk of misconfigurations that can lead to .
A standardized,-centric approach to makes space for the structured decommissioning of obsolete applications and the rules that apply to them. This improves and ensures the organization’s is optimally suited for later changes.
At the same time, it provides comprehensive visibility that reduces oversight risks and givesfewer unknowns to fear when decommissioning obsolete applications.
Many organizations believe that Security stands in the way of the business – particularly when it comes to changing or provisioning connectivity for applications. It can take weeks, or even months to ensure that all the servers, devices, and network segments that support the application can communicate with each other while blocking access to hackers and unauthorized users. It’s a complex and intricate process.
This is because, for every single application update or change, Networking and Security teams need to understand how it will affect the information flows between the various firewalls and servers the application relies on, and then change connectivity rules and security policies to ensure that only legitimate traffic is allowed, without creating security gaps or compliance violations.
As a result, many enterprises manage security changes on an ad-hoc basis: they move quickly to address the immediate needs of high-profile applications or to resolve critical threats, but have little time left over to maintain network maps, document security policies, or analyze the impact of rule changes on applications.
This reactive approach delays application releases, can cause outages and lost productivity, increases the risk of security breaches and puts the brakes on business agility. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Nor is it necessary for businesses to accept greater security risk to satisfy the demand for speed.
Accelerating agility without sacrificing security
The solution is to manage application connectivity and network security policies through a structured lifecycle methodology, which ensures that the right security policy management activities are performed in the right order, through an automated, repeatable process. This dramatically speeds up application connectivity provisioning and improves business agility, without sacrificing security and compliance.
So, what is the network security policy management lifecycle, and how should network and security teams implement a lifecycle approach in their organizations?
The first stage involves creating an accurate, real-time map of application connectivity and the network topology across the entire organization, including on-premise, cloud, and software-defined environments. Without this information, IT staff are essentially working blind, and will inevitably make mistakes and encounter problems down the line.
Security policy management solutions can automate the application connectivity discovery, mapping, and documentation processes across the thousands of devices on networks – a task that is enormously time-consuming and labor-intensive if done manually. In addition, the mapping process can help business and technical groups develop a shared understanding of application connectivity requirements.
Once there is a clear picture of application connectivity and the network infrastructure, you can start to plan changes more effectively – ensure that proposed changes will provide the required connectivity, while minimizing the risks of introducing vulnerabilities, causing application outages, or compliance violations.
Typically, it involves translating application connectivity requests into networking terminology, analyzing the network topology to determine if the changes are really needed, conducting an impact analysis of proposed rule changes (particularly valuable with unpredictable cloud-based applications), performing a risk and compliance assessment, and assessing inputs from vulnerabilities scanners and SIEM solutions. Automating these activities as part of a structured lifecycle keeps data up-to-date, saves time, and ensures that these critical steps are not omitted – helping avoid configuration errors and outages. Functions Of An Automatic Pool Cleaner An automatic pool cleaner is very useful for people who have a bad back and find it hard to manually operate the pool cleaner throughout the pool area. This type of pool cleaner can move along the various areas of a pool automatically. Its main function is to suck up dirt and other debris in the pool. It functions as a vacuum. Automatic pool cleaners may also come in different types and styles. These include automatic pressure-driven cleaners, automatic suction side-drive cleaners, and robotic pool cleaners.
Deploying connectivity and security rules can be a labor-intensive and error-prone process. Security policy management solutions automate the critical tasks involved, including designing rule changes intelligently, automatically migrating rules, and pushing policies to firewalls and other security devices – all with zero-touch if no problems or exceptions are detected. Crucially, the solution can also validate that the intended changes have been implemented correctly. This last step is often neglected, creating the false impression that application connectivity has been provided, or that vulnerabilities have been removed, when in fact there are time bombs ticking in the network.
Most firewalls accumulate thousands of rules which become outdated or obsolete over the years. Bloated rulesets not only add complexity to daily tasks such as change management, troubleshooting and auditing, but they can also impact the performance of firewall appliances, resulting in decreased hardware lifespan and increased TCO.
Cleaning up and optimizing security policies on an ongoing basis can prevent these problems. This includes identifying and eliminating or consolidating redundant and conflicting rules; tightening overly permissive rules; reordering rules; and recertifying expired ones. A clean, well-documented set of security rules helps to prevent business application outages, compliance violations, and security gaps and reduces management time and effort.
Every business application eventually reaches the end of its life: but when they are decommissioned, its security policies are often left in place, either by oversight or from fear that removing policies could negatively affect active business applications. These obsolete or redundant security policies increase the enterprise’s attack surface and add bloat to the firewall ruleset.
The lifecycle approach reduces these risks. It provides a structured and automated process for identifying and safely removing redundant rules as soon as applications are decommissioned while verifying that their removal will not impact active applications or create compliance violations.
We recently published a white paper that explains the five stages of the security policy management lifecycle in detail. It’s a great primer for any organization looking to move away from a reactive, fire-fighting response to security challenges, to an approach that addresses the challenges of balancing security and risk with business agility. Download your copy here.
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