Challenges with Firewall Rules in your Firewall Policy

Your firewall rules are an important part of your network security policy.

However, with any firewall rule you need to:

    •  Assess the risk of the firewall’s policy

    •  Manage firewall changes

    •  Maintain optimized firewall rulesets

    •  Demonstrate regulatory and policy compliance

As networks become more complex and firewall rulesets grow, it is difficult to identify and quantify the risk that is introduced by misconfigured or overly permissive firewall rules.

Not understand what the firewall is doing at any given time – even when traffic is flowing and applications are working — is a major cause of firewall policy risk.

Your network is in a constant state of flux. Managing changes is a big problem. Not properly managing firewall rules and changes can lead to serious risks, from blocking legitimate traffic to going offline or even getting hacked.

Maintaining your firewall rules is one of the most important firewall management functions, yet many businesses continue to struggle with it. Unwieldy rulesets are not just a technical nuisance—they also create business risks, including open ports and unneeded VPN tunnels, conflicting rules that create backdoor entry points, and an enormous amount of unnecessary complexity. Bloated rulesets significantly complicate the auditing process, which often involves a review of each rule and its related business justification.


Frequently asked questions about firewall rules

What are inbound and outbound rules?

Inbound firewall rules protect the network against incoming traffic, such as disallowed connections, malware, and denial-of-service (DoS) attacks. Outbound firewall rules protect against outgoing traffic, originating inside a network.

What are the elements of a good firewall policy?

A good firewall policy documents your rules across your multiple devices. It is intent-based – that is, it clarifies why each rule exists and what it intends to do. Firewall rules should be documented, tracking the rule’s purpose, what services or applications it affects, affected users and devices, date when the rule was added, the rule’s expiration date, if applicable, and who added the rule. A good firewall policy also has a formal change procedure to manage change requests. It should block traffic by default, allow only specific traffic to identified services. It should set all explicit firewall rules first. There should be explicit drop rules (Cleanup Rules) at the bottom of each security zone. “Accept All” rules should not be included in your firewall policy. Every firewall has a built-in reporting tool with detailed information about your traffic. Frequently reviewing them helps avoid false positives. Of course, you also need to make sure that your firewall devices remain up-to-date. Ensure that they are frequently patched and running the latest firmware updates. In addition, all good firewall policies are regularly reviewed, to make sure that they make are still relevant in an ever-changing network environment. Hard to keep up changing rules and applications on multiple devices? Consider automation. Security policy management tools such as the AlgoSec Security Management Suite can help.

What is an example of a firewall rule?

Firewall rules list:

  • Traffic source
  • Traffic destination
  • Service
  • Whether the traffic is allowed or denied


See how AlgoSec can help manage firewall rules…. Check out these resources

Firewall Management: 5 Challenges Every Company Must Address

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The Big Collection of Firewall Management Tips

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Firewall Rule Recertification

In the past, the only way to recertify a rule was to manually review the comments field of each firewall rule. At a minimum, the comment should include the name of the original rul...

Firewall Rule Recertification – An Application-Centric Approach

As part of your organization’s security policy management best practices, firewall rules must be reviewed and recertified regularly to ensure security, compliance and optimal fir...

The Benefits of Mapping Firewall Rules to Business Applications

An Application-Centric Approach to Firewall Rule Recertification: Challenges and Benefits

As part of your organization’s security policy management best practices, firewall rules need to be reviewed and recertified regularly to ensure security, compliance and optimal ...

Additional Features

AlgoSec’s firewall policy management solution enable you to significantly increase visibility across your network environments: on-premise, SDN, public clouds, hybrid and multi-cloud by managing firewall rules.


Understanding the impact of network flows

Most of the infrastructures are hidden, when crossing into the public cloud domain, such as storage, compute and network. This often causes restrictions when it comes to visibility tools and procedures. But AlgoSec make it a lot easier to manage and implement standard workload performance by understanding your firewall rules and network topology to discover traffic flows.


Managing firewall rules across multi-cloud and hybrid environments

Firewall policy management tools allow you to track and monitor the flow of applications and important services over all areas of the network and provide key insights into network bandwidth usage. This can also work out historical trends for proactively identifying security issues and capacity planning. An effective monitoring of network flows provides you confidence knowing that your network is secure.


Extending the lifespan of hardware

Cluttered firewall rules and misconfigurations affect the firewall performance, forcing organizations to invest in costly hardware upgrades to counteract the degradation in performance. Optimize and clean up cluttered policies with actionable recommendations. Consolidate similar firewall rules, discover and remove unused firewall rules and objects, as well as shadowed, duplicate and expired rules - effectively increase existing hardware lifespan.


Maintaining security cloud compliance posture

It is essential to manage firewall rules that maintain security cloud compliance posture and establish uniform firewall rules across complex clouds and hybrid environments.


Handling multiple cloud-management portals

Managing various cloud security management consoles, each with its own unique language and GUI, can be a great hassle. With AlgoSec, handling multi-cloud platforms has become a lot easier, providing users with complete control over their cloud services using a single, unified console.


Enforcing cloud network security policy consistently

Consistency is the crucial design principle behind cloud security solutions. Imposing the cloud network security policy consistently is the defining assumption for an effective firewall policy management platform.



Find unused firewall rules

Enabling unused firewall rules to be included in a policy goes against the central principle and may pose a risk to the organization. The AlgoSec firewall management solution makes it easy to find and identify unused rules within your firewall policy.


Locate hidden firewall rules

Locating hidden rules represent a remarkable opportunity to clean up or manage a firewall policy because it can improve both the performance of the firewall and the implementation of the firewall administrators accountable for managing the firewall policy.


Policy search

Firewall policy search is based on the source and destination interfaces. The matching security policy will indicate which actions to apply to the network traffic which includes logging and security scanning.


Security analysis

Analyze security by analyzing firewall policies, firewall rules, firewall traffic logs and firewall change configurations. Detailed analysis of the security logs offers critical network vital intelligence about security breaches and attempted attacks like virus, trojans, and denial of service among others.


Risk analysis

A potential breach in security is made for every access request that is granted. The perfect way to prevent unauthorized access is to identify and analyze risk areas that are vulnerable. The integrated risk analysis provides real time information on vulnerabilities and risks to the network associated to your change configurations and security infrastructure.


Access path analysis

Identify and evaluate the implications of each available access path across the whole infrastructure to make sure proper implementation and asset protection. You can trace the path within the network to locate impacted device.


Service risk analysis

A comprehensive service risk analysis is essential to tackle security gaps proactively instead of waiting for a security threat to take place before responding to it.


Traffic flow analysis

With traffic flow analysis, you can monitor traffic within a specific firewall rule. You do not need to allow all traffic to traverse in all directions but instead, you can monitor it through the pragmatic behaviors on the network and enable network firewall administrators to recognize which firewall rules they can create and implement to allow only the necessary access.


Firewall rule review

Ensure that the firewall rule set and configuration are in line with the business and the organization’s firewall compliance requirements.


Change detection reporting

Monitor firewall change configurations in the set of firewall rules including resets to the current firewall settings.


Firewall rule re-certification

Instead of using manual firewall rule recertification, this app-centric approach to firewall recertification brings in a newer, more efficient and automated way of recertifying firewall rules.


Firewall rule review

Ensure that the firewall rule set and configuration are in line with the business and the organization’s firewall compliance requirements.



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