A firewall is a system or a group of systems that administers an access control policy between multiple networks. Simply put, a firewall is a pair of mechanisms, one of which blocks traffic while the other permits traffic. The most important thing to understand about a firewall is that it implements an access control policy.
Firewall Management is till date an organization’s primary and most important network defence. Generally, firewalls are set up to ensure that no one from the outside can access your network. Complex firewalls, however,let us decide who and when can gain access either from outside or from within the system. Some do not allow any outside entity access but will let us access to the outside world. Firewalls help in protecting your computer or networks from malicious internet traffic. It checks whether the information being passes is safe or not and hence either blocks or allows it to pass. This helps in keeping all your personal information and files such as your name, your family, your bank details, your company data, etc. Firewalls are the only security measure that is in place that protects your network and is the point where access can be restricted.
However, setting up a firewall is only a part of the entire deal. These firewalls must be then managed and done so effectively and regularly to understand if something other than the ordinary pops up so that it can be dealt with immediately before harm is done. It helps in being up-to-date with all the latest hacks, viruses and trojans available on the internet. Nonetheless managing these firewalls is quite a tedious and complex job. The same way there needs to be a service that understands your requirements and can tweak or configure the firewall in such a way that is the most suitable for you.
All firewall management services might not offer the same facilities and might also vary in terms of the quality and competence of their work. This management is generally done by security service providers who monitor your internet traffic so that they can protect your computer or network from anything and everything that might potentially damage it.
Modern firewalls come with two administrative interfaces:
- Command Line Interface (CLI)
- Graphical User Interface (GUI)
A CLI allows a specific set of commands to be used for the configuration of the firewall. Knowledge about the command set is very important to ensure the firewall is configured correctly.
A GUI, however, provides a simpler interface to configure a firewall.
Firewall management may be broadly categorized into two parts:
- Blocking or limiting access to specific features for people in your network to increase the amount of work done
- Blocking the access to malicious websites
Effective management of the firewall can be ensured in many ways. Some of which are as follows:
- Maintaining a centralized firewall management entity.
- Testing the changes made to a firewall before applying it.
- Identify unused rules.
- Identify if rules are cancelling out each other.
- Provide risk analysis reports for internal and external auditing.
- Maintaining access logs.