Welcome!

Cloud Security Authors: Liz McMillan, Scott Millis, Elizabeth White, Kevin Jackson, Doron Kolton

Related Topics: Cloud Security, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Open Source Cloud, @CloudExpo

Cloud Security: Article

Why Your NGFW Needs Granular and Contextual Access Control

understand how these evolving feature sets can help contain costs while reducing management complexity

Global information technology networks that are rich in services are typically complex and require hard-to-manage security solutions. The latest versions of next-generation firewalls now offer multiple security layers that can complicate management, particularly as more and more features are added. This complexity can also serve to reduce the effectiveness of controls by obscuring noteworthy events or failing to recognize trends detected by multiple security systems integrated into the overall system. The answer is a common, unified management approach with granular and contextual access control.

Instead of employing multiple and distinct dashboards offering minimal if any integration to manage network security, administrators should be able to access a single dashboard to gain a consistent, unified view across all firewall protected segments. The data must be granular and contextual, empowering IT and network security administrators to execute and control all NGFW operations from a single perspective. And to assure logging of all actions taken and events observed, without regard to operator location.

Consistency is key. This level of administrative awareness and control should be available regardless of modality (physical or virtual) or configuration. Here are five critical control features to look for when evaluating a next generation firewall.

1. Integrated VPN
Secure virtual private network (VPN) connections provide for inter-office and mobile user connectivity to corporate resources. First-tier NGFWs typically provide high-performance remote access with integrated management supporting the use of multiple ISPs to ensure access in the event of link failure. Such solutions typically offer VPN client software to take full advantage of various deployment options. Look for the capability to cluster the firewall configuration to assure availability and session survivability in the event of a firewall appliance update or failure. Flexibility in licensing is also necessary to address burst utilization or pandemic usage requirements. Additionally, support for deep inspection is highly recommended as a necessary precursor to support DLP requirements.

2. Email and Web Security
Email advertising and social media services can flood a network with traffic of little to no business value. And this traffic stream can be a wide conduit for malware. One response is to deploy your NGFWs with additional services such as deep-inspection, web filtering, anti-virus, and anti-spam services. Combining these services under one NFGW umbrella ensures that they are available (especially if the firewall solution is clustered for high availability) and implemented at all relevant chokepoints within an organization. Superior traffic control based on users and groups, as well as contextual awareness of attacks and their use by would-be attackers across the entirety of an organization, improves an organization's resistance to a breach. Furthermore, solutions that support contextual awareness may be able to share details on detected attacks across all firewalls under the same management control, and take broad actions. For example, the actions of an attacker against one firewall may be used to blacklist that attacker across all firewalls of the organization. This amplifying effect is particular pronounced if the NFGW management solution is multi-tenant capable and used to protect multiple divisions or firms.

3. Precise Security Policies
Control over traffic based on a variety of options will enable Network security administrators need great flexibility in granting privileges to employees to perform their jobs. In addition to typical firewall IP Address and port filtering, NGFW solutions also typically support the control of traffic by service (protocol), application, user identity, group affiliation, URL categorization, site reputation, time of day, method(s) of authentication, and context. Precise security policies can provide QoS directives so access control is governed by dynamic business requirements or the availability of underlying communications resources. For example, transaction traffic may be given preferential treatment over social media access by employees, and lower priority traffic is automatically shed if a circuit failure reduces available bandwidth.

4. Integrated Authentication Services
Independent authentication mechanisms often lack integration with the firewall. However, the integration of authentication services with NGFW policies can allow administrators to constrain, track, and log access to services. Such access controls often use a variety of authentication methods including token and virtual token systems. Virtual token applications for mobile phones and tablets reduce costs over traditional key fob tokens. In addition, integration to the NGFW unifies the management of how an individual or members of a group are authenticated.

5. Traffic Management and QoS
Firewalls that feature traffic management and quality of service (QoS) can provide detailed control on what traffic is permitted and at what priority, while assuring end-to-end capacity to meet session requirements. QoS selections such as bandwidth floors and ceilings help to differentiate traffic streams, assuring the streams are treated fairly and not inadvertently precluded in their entirety, or allowed to consume bandwidth to the detriment of other business activities. For isochronous (time sensitive) traffic such as VoIP or video conferencing, the proper handling of long-haul priority directives is necessary to ensure that in-band traffic with specific bandwidth and jitter requirements is accommodated on an as-needed basis.

In addition, traffic management can help triage traffic if sufficient networking bandwidth is unavailable to meet all approved needs. For example, transactions take priority over backups or social media access.

The NGFW can improve the utilization effectiveness of the network and its security posture. It is also a network chokepoint of access from WAN connectivity to remote facilities, mobile employees, and the Internet. Pay attention to all options available with NGFW products and understand how these evolving feature sets can help contain costs while reducing management complexity.

More Stories By Darren Suprina

Darren Suprina is an IT systems designer and security professional with more than 30 years of experience. This has included intellectual property creation, research, development, software and infrastructure design and validation, systems auditing, work as a professional witness, and author.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
Internet-of-Things discussions can end up either going down the consumer gadget rabbit hole or focused on the sort of data logging that industrial manufacturers have been doing forever. However, in fact, companies today are already using IoT data both to optimize their operational technology and to improve the experience of customer interactions in novel ways. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Gordon Haff, Red Hat Technology Evangelist, will share examples from a wide range of industries – includin...
We're entering the post-smartphone era, where wearable gadgets from watches and fitness bands to glasses and health aids will power the next technological revolution. With mass adoption of wearable devices comes a new data ecosystem that must be protected. Wearables open new pathways that facilitate the tracking, sharing and storing of consumers’ personal health, location and daily activity data. Consumers have some idea of the data these devices capture, but most don’t realize how revealing and...
Unless your company can spend a lot of money on new technology, re-engineering your environment and hiring a comprehensive cybersecurity team, you will most likely move to the cloud or seek external service partnerships. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Darren Guccione, CEO of Keeper Security, revealed what you need to know when it comes to encryption in the cloud.
"We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, director/senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
According to Forrester Research, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey by 2020. To avoid demise, organizations must rapidly create new sources of value in their end-to-end customer experiences. True digital predators also must break down information and process silos and extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources needed to win, serve, and retain customers.
"Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
@GonzalezCarmen has been ranked the Number One Influencer and @ThingsExpo has been named the Number One Brand in the “M2M 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands” by Onalytica. Onalytica analyzed tweets over the last 6 months mentioning the keywords M2M OR “Machine to Machine.” They then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
"IoT is going to be a huge industry with a lot of value for end users, for industries, for consumers, for manufacturers. How can we use cloud to effectively manage IoT applications," stated Ian Khan, Innovation & Marketing Manager at Solgeniakhela, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
We are always online. We access our data, our finances, work, and various services on the Internet. But we live in a congested world of information in which the roads were built two decades ago. The quest for better, faster Internet routing has been around for a decade, but nobody solved this problem. We’ve seen band-aid approaches like CDNs that attack a niche's slice of static content part of the Internet, but that’s it. It does not address the dynamic services-based Internet of today. It does...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...