Verizon is one of the world’s largest global communications companies and an international technology innovator. Verizon provides products and services related to networks, cloud, machine to machine and mobile technologies; data, hosting and storage; and managed security, as well as other wired and wireless offerings to business and government clients around the world. The company’s Global IP Network connects people and businesses in 2,700 cities and 150 countries.
Verizon’s professional services consultants find that their clients too often focus on compliance to the detriment of security and operational issues. “From an auditing perspective, if the firewall is up and running some clients think they are more or less okay,” says Stefano Ciminelli, EMEA Practice Manager, Business Resiliency & Optimization at Verizon Business. Ciminelli warns that clients also need to be certain that “the firewall policies do not contain mistakes—those that could bring down their business. It’s not just a problem of protecting the IT systems, it’s really a matter of protecting the business,” he notes.
Firewall management can also create tension between the network security group and business managers. “You always have the network security people focused on IT and the business people who like to focus on change management. Often these two groups don’t really communicate or understand each other easily,” Ciminelli adds.
Moreover, many companies have several people devoted to managing firewalls and “firefighting,” “because they simply do not have the right tools,” says Ciminelli.
Ciminelli and his team at Verizon wanted to provide their clients with a way to address IT and security issues and, at the same time, automate change management workflows in order to support business continuity.“You want to be operationally efficient; you want to be secure; and especially, you want to help your business do their business. But, when it comes to network firewall management and analysis, you actually have few tools available that help you meet all those goals,” says Ciminelli.
From the security manager’s perspective, AlgoSec’s Security Management Solution was the top choice. “The reporting is very trustworthy, it helps reduce the operational workload for network security administrators, and ultimately it improves performance and security,” Ciminelli states. “You can find a lot of vendors for security products in the market. But I don’t want to just sell products. I am entrusted to recommend quality services, so I rely on an extremely trustworthy partner like AlgoSec.”
Ciminelli reports that when his customers invest in AlgoSec, “they are very happy because they can proactively manage their firewalls.” More importantly, though, “they are not forced to change a rule, close their eyes, cross their fingers and hope that everything is going to be okay.” Customers can trust AlgoSec’s reports to show how a rule change will affect access and their overall security before a change is made, and that there will be no surprises after the fact.
The ability to share information between IT and business managers has also provided some unexpected benefits for Ciminelli. “When it comes to asking for additional budget, for instance, IT can now prove value and that makes life easier for everybody,” he notes.
Customer service ranks high in Ciminelli’s priorities—and AlgoSec consistently delivers. “Whenever I have a problem I always get very efficient and proactive technical support from the AlgoSec team. This is one of the primary reasons I continue to advise my customers to purchase AlgoSec,” he says.
Ciminelli urges his clients and other companies to think broadly about the real purpose of firewall policy management. “What you want is not just a well configured firewall, you want good long-term security management.” The goal is to have a firewall that provides excellent protection as the company grows, needs change, and applications are deployed, changed or decommissioned.
Ciminelli’s final recommendation? “Using AlgoSec products and relying on good professional services to help you, that is really the smart choice.”