Free Newsletter
Register for our Free Newsletters
Access Control
Deutsche Zone (German Zone)
Education, Training and Professional Services
Government Programmes
Guarding, Equipment and Enforcement
Industrial Computing Security
IT Security
Physical Security
View All
Other Carouselweb publications
Carousel Web
Defense File
New Materials
Pro Health Zone
Pro Manufacturing Zone
Pro Security Zone
Web Lec
ProSecurityZone Sponsor
ProSecurityZone Sponsor
ProSecurityZone Sponsor
ProSecurityZone Sponsor
ProSecurityZone Sponsor
ProSecurityZone Sponsor

Generating ROI from your firewalls

Tufin Technologies : 18 November, 2009  (Special Report)
With increasing demands on firewall technology and companies seeking further investment, Tufin Technologies provides some advice for generating an ROI framework for justifying the investment
Newsletter featured story - sign up for our free weekly editorial newsletter here

Firewalls have come a long way in the last 20 years driven, in part, by the rising take-up of IP communications, itself driven by the IT phenomenon that is the Internet.

When the first firewalls were introduced in the late 1980s, few people foresaw that rule sets would become so large and complex, often containing hundreds of rules.

On top of this, the multi-vectored nature of the latest hacker attacks means that most organisations now need more than one firewall to protect perimeters, as well as sensitive internal network segments.

Multiplying the exponential growth of the number of rules across numerous firewalls makes managing rule sets an extremely difficult - if not impossible - task for medium to large organizations. And this is where a security Return on Investment (ROI) framework analysis becomes a necessity.

A security ROI framework analysis assists company managers and executives to improve their overall security efforts more efficiently and cost-effectively.

In simple terms, the analysis quantifies projected ROI for security investments by investigating the potential financial impact of security situations across the enterprise's business segments.

A good analysis achieves this by quantifying the potential impact of security risk exposure on cash flow.

The result is a framework that illustrates to enterprises the value of a high-level comparison of security programs versus other enterprise initiatives, while at the same time providing an insight into the projected final impact of a given project.

A good analysis also focuses on the optimal areas for organisations to allocate their security expenditure - based on cost, effectiveness and impact/potential impact on the business.

Creating a security ROI framework that provides an economical and effective security solution requires a number of steps and assessments, all of which are designed to help ensure accuracy and effectiveness.

The first stage in the process is to understand current threats and vulnerabilities to your organisation by undertaking a formal assessment, including analysing past attacks based on industry estimates and statistics.

The second stage - known as Security Incident Characterisation - defines the cost impact of security incidents on the organisation, which can be categorised as network or business impacts.

The third stage is to assess the cost impacts on your organisation:

* Recovery costs - which can be significant.

* Productivity loss costs - this is generally estimated at one per cent overall for each incident over a lengthy period.

* Revenue lost - again, this can be significant.

* Customer churn - this can amount to between two and 10 per cent of customers, depending on negative media reports.

Once you have established a security ROI framework - and if you have completed the process effectively - you will, hopefully, begin to see the scale of the potential problem as, if your organisation's IT security defences are not up to scratch, you could go out of business.

But let's not be too pessimistic. Good management is all about managing change and adversity and, according to Ariel Avitan, an analyst with Frost & Sullivan, the main issues with firewall technology are that most firewall vendors only manage their own products.

'This means that you need a good overlay and firewall management system that handles multiple firewalls, as well as interfaces with third-party applications,' he said.

'Following this route will free you from the stranglehold, if that is the right word, that firewall vendors frequently exert on their clients. This isn't deliberate, of course, it's just a development of the technical complexities that firewalls now engender,' he added.

According to Mr Avitan, businesses should also be mindful of the compliance needs of their organisation, especially with regard to the PCI-DSS ( rules that now affect the majority of online businesses and are being phased in on all businesses that accept payments by card from their customers.

The problem says Mr Avitan, is that it is always difficult to keep a handle on the regulatory issues and compliance requirements, no matter what industry you are in.

This, he explained, is what makes firewall ROIs something of a no-brainer in large enterprises. The cost of not implementing a multiple firewall strategy - with allied overlays and controls - he says, is just too great for most major companies to ignore.

'One advantage of going down the firewall ROI process,' he said, 'is that you can usually also clean up your management control processes, as firewall ROI analysis helps to focus the corporate mind on such matters.'

This is where security lifecycle management technology enters the management frame, as this technology is designed to address the continuous configuration requirements for firewalls and related security infrastructure.

Security is, says Mr Avitan, something of a moving target, as to keep up with business, configuration changes must be made regularly.

And, he argues, in order to minimise risk and control costs, it is necessary to manage change over time.

In this context, he says, it is highly desirable to automate the process of implementing a change request to a firewall, since the process is usually a combination of many tasks that are in most cases manual, unclear and time consuming.

One vendor, which has enjoyed considerable success with its firewall operations management solution, is Tufin Technologies, which launched its SecureTrack offering back in 2004.

Since then the company has received a positive reaction from the market as many early adopters saw a nearly immediate ROI.

SecureTrack has the ability to drill down on a large number of firewalls from all of the leading vendors and perform a deep inspection on the rule base.

The key feature of this is that the Tufin offering understands the relationship between the rules and the correlation with both internal and external policies.

In use, SecureTrack gives administrators the ability to detect, monitor, audit and assess any configuration change to the firewall policy.

This ability, says Mr Avitan, is a key advantage for any IT department that wants to understand and control its firewall environment.

'By automating the organisational change management process, a good firewall management solution can form the centre-piece of an effective firewall ROI analysis,' he said.

'It can also save countless man hours, as well as shortening the response times considerably,' he added.
Bookmark and Share
Home I Editor's Blog I News by Zone I News by Date I News by Category I Special Reports I Directory I Events I Advertise I Submit Your News I About Us I Guides
   © 2012
Netgains Logo