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Last updated June 30th, 2024 by Avigdor Book

Firewalls are essential building blocks of your network security architecture, but to be as effective as possible, you and your network security team need to be able to manage firewall rules as dynamically as possible.

Firewalls filter incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security rules. These firewall rules can be changed through a defined firewall request process, but these change requests can potentially be complex.  

Tufin’s suite of solutions, including firewall change automation and firewall auditing, delivers a more efficient and secure firewall change management process. Tufin integrates with on-premises, next-generation and cloud-based firewalls, ensuring your entire hybrid network remains secure. Before we explore those solutions and how they can benefit your organization, let’s look at the firewall request process.

How Firewall Change Requests Are Typically Performed

There are several steps organizations and their network security teams take and manage when implementing firewall change requests. Every organization is going to have its own unique change request process. However, here is a high-level overview of the main steps in the process: 

  1. Determine the purpose of a firewall change request: The first step is to identify why you are making a firewall request. These changes are often made for a variety of reasons, including whether to allow access to a new service or application; give access to specific IP addresses or networks; block particular kinds of traffic or malicious activities; or to update existing rules for audit purposes. 

You will need to gather information, including IP addresses or ranges, about where the traffic is originating and going to, protocols and ports that need to be allowed or blocked, and descriptions of services, applications, or reasons for the change.  

  1. Examine the impact of the firewall request: You must then determine the potential impact the changes may have on the network, including the services hosted. It’s particularly important to think about service impacts or interruptions, the specific requirements of the services affected by the change, and how relevant stakeholders will see their operations affected.  
    As part of this process, you will likely want to test and validate the change request in a testing environment to determine the rule change’s impact. This can help minimize any disruptions that might occur. 

  1. Submit the firewall request: The next step is to actually submit the request. Each organization will have its own processes for doing so, but it typically involves filling in a templatized change request form, providing accurate information about the request and its impact, providing any needed supporting documentation, and then submitting the request through the appropriate ticketing or management system. It’s important to remain in close communication with network security teams after the request has been submitted to keep track of the status of your change request. 

  1. Implement the approved firewall request: The network security team will need to approve the firewall change request. Once they have done so, the change will need to be implemented, which can typically be done by a single employee. You’ll need to partner with the relevant network administrators responsible for implementing the firewall changes. It’s crucial to ensure that backup configurations are in place before making any changes. Again, this will be unique to every organization, but you will need to follow the established change management procedures to minimize any disruptions as the rule change is put in place. 

How Tufin Can Help You Streamline Firewall Change

This process can be cumbersome, especially depending on the complexity of the firewall rule change and the impact it will have on your network or production environment. 

Implementing firewall changes can have significant impacts on your network security, which is why the firewall request process is so sensitive. Each change request needs to be thoroughly evaluated before a new rule is added or an existing one is modified.

If not correctly managed, these changes can introduce unrestricted rules, shadowed rules, or vulnerabilities, severely limiting your firewall effectiveness and increasing the probability of security breaches as well as weakening your overall security posture.

Tufin can help make this process easier and minimize configuration errors through network access change automation. Tufin provides unlimited, fully customizable, access change workflows that will automate the process from change request to implementation. As part of this approach, Tufin’s SecureChange+ offers unparalleled IT service management API integration functionality and seamlessly integrates with a wide array of ITSM platforms, allowing you to automate workflows and streamline processes.

This ensures a fast, accurate, secure and documented access change process, to prevent and expose otherwise hidden security risks in your organization. Tufin enables you to take a proactive approach to risk assessment, helping to ensure that your security policies remain compliant. And a robust firewall change management process ensures that changes to rulebases are tracked, approved, and implemented effectively.

Tufin lets you automatically remove or modify firewall rules in real time to protect against new threats, re-route network traffic, block risky services, clean up unused policies, manage change requests and more. Rule automation can also be performed at the server and application level to minimize your network’s attack surface.

And Tufin’s vulnerability-based change automation tools check for vulnerabilities at the source, flag at-risk rules and policy violations, and ensure every change request is in line with your unified cybersecurity policies.

With Tufin, you can deploy and manage your firewalls with confidence, anywhere, anytime.

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