Proactively addressing security by implementing firewalls keeps your enterprise competitive and safe. Firewalls often function as the first line of defense in protecting network systems from threats. They provide control over entry points, monitor attempts to gain system access, block unwanted traffic, and prevent external threats from landing in your environment.
One these accounts, you cannot afford to put up with firewall threats and vulnerabilities. While your organization may monitor and test on a regular basis, blind spots can still persist. Security gaps can go unnoticed. Avoidable threats to the effectiveness of your firewalls include those outlined below.
Common firewall threats
- Password strength. Given the character requirements for passwords, modern passwords can prove tricky to remember. For the sake of convenience, some staff may set straightforward passwords or leave default factory settings. In the event that this occurs within your system, you’re more vulnerable to account compromise than you would be otherwise. This is of particular import in relation to SQL servers, as disruption to a single server could jeopardize the functionality of all devices connected to it.
- Outdated firewall software. Vendors commonly issue software and firmware updates to patch newly discovered firewall vulnerabilities. Your team is likely very busy, and it’s easy to fall behind when it comes to keeping firewalls up-to-date. But, poor patching habits can unduly expose your organization to firewall threats.
- Activation of controls. Among common firewall issues is the failure to activate controls. For example, organizations typically have anti-spoofing tools on managed defense systems, which can keep malware, spam and other duplicitous traffic off of systems. In the event that your organization fails to turn anti-spoofing controls on, an attack might slip through. While it sounds overly simplistic, checking to ensure that all controls are activated as intended can help you make the most of your security tools.
- Lack of documentation. Maintaining written logs, application documentation and rule decryptions can help your business avoid security gaps in the event that some of your security staff suddenly resign or remains unavailable for any given length of time. Staffing changes can force organizations to recreate protocols from the ground up, which wastes time. Proper documentation prevents repetition of work, providing staff with more time to focus on higher-level priorities.
- Insider threats. While perhaps not the most probable of threats, insiders do pose a threat to your firewalls. Insiders are entrusted with passwords and access to internal systems. A strong network segmentation configuration strategy can help mitigate the threats presented by employees.
- Basic inspection protocols. When it comes to traditional network firewalls, attackers have identified means of spoofing the firewalls that check the origin and destination of data packets. This has prompted the development of “next generation” firewalls, which also test packets using a process known as Layer 7 or deep packet inspection. In the event that your organization has not yet implemented next generation firewalls, consider doing so very soon.
Although your organization may retain top-tier experts who can pursue in-depth monitoring, rule development, testing and solutions implementation, your system will never be immune to vulnerabilities. Nonetheless, reducing vulnerabilities can help safeguard your brand and your data.
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