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Last updated October 6th, 2023 by Avigdor Book

Is your firewall overloaded? Symptoms include high CPU, low throughput, and slow applications. Before you think of upgrading your hardware or looking into other types of firewalls, it’s worth checking if the firewall configuration can be optimized. Firewalls, both hardware firewall and software firewalls, act as the first line of defense in your network security system, shielding your private network from various security threats.

Firewall optimization techniques can be categorized into two groups – general best practices and vendor-specific, model-specific configurations. This column zeroes in on firewall optimization best practices, which are essential in ensuring network performance and maintaining cybersecurity against hackers and malicious activity. 

Optimizing firewalls for better performance and throughput:

  1. Remove bad traffic and clean up the network. Notify server administrators about servers, PCs, or specific applications hitting the firewall directly with outbound denied DNS/NTP/SMTP/HTTP(S) requests and malware-infected data packets. Reconfigure these to avoid sending unauthorized outbound traffic, decreasing the load on the firewall and enhancing your internet speed.

  2. Distribute unwanted traffic filtering across firewalls and routers to balance performance and the effectiveness of the security system. This practice enhances your network performance, making it resilient to issues like denial of service attacks.

  3. Remove unused rules and objects like redundant IP addresses from the rule bases to improve the efficiency of the firewall work.

  4. Streamline firewall rule base, reducing complexity and overlapping to avoid vulnerabilities.

  5. Manage broadcast traffic with minimal logging to improve network traffic flow and bandwidth.

  6. Prioritize frequently used firewall policy rules. Ensure they align with the operating system, like Windows, and handle incoming traffic efficiently.

  7. Evade DNS objects that call for constant DNS lookups on all traffic, especially crucial for small businesses relying on steady internet connections.

  8. Align firewall interfaces with your switch or router interfaces, essential for maintaining a steady network performance.

  9. Segregate firewalls from VPNs to manage VPN traffic and reduce strain on the network firewalls.

  10. Relegate UTM features like antivirus software and intrusion prevention from the firewall to dedicated solutions.

  11. Regularly update to the newest software version to ensure stateful packet inspection and minimize security system vulnerabilities.

If you employ Tufin SecureTrack+, you can automate several of these firewall best practices, optimizing for network security.

Here are a few ways that Tufin can help:

  • Recognize unused firewall policy rules, pinpointing inefficiencies and boosting your cybersecurity.

  • Scrutinize rule shadowing, focusing on data packets and security threats.

  • Optimize rule order, considering factors like service providers and web application firewall configurations.

  • Be cautious of policies with unique actions, such as next-generation firewall features.

  • Employ the Best Practices Rule Order Optimization test, focusing on network firewalls and ensuring the firewall protects sensitive data.

  • Leverage the Automatic Policy Generator to enhance internet connection and firewall work.

  • Oversee firewall software versions, ensuring security system consistency and cybersecurity.

In conclusion, firewall optimization is pivotal, but it comes at a cost – the time and effort invested. Sometimes, it might be more feasible to upgrade the hardware, especially if the demands and bandwidth of your entire network have outgrown your current setup. But either way, a well-optimized firewall is essential.

Wrapping Up

Experience the future of firewall performance optimization – click here for a demo showcasing Tufin’s advanced network change automation capabilities. Uncover the power to enhance your network’s efficiency and security today!


What is firewall performance?

Firewall performance gauges how a firewall, whether a built-in firewall or an external one, processes incoming data. It’s the metric that assesses how efficiently a firewall rule base, a set of rules governing incoming and outgoing traffic, manages network traffic.

For more information, read our blog on Firewall Change Management Best Practices

Why is firewall rule optimization crucial?

Optimizing firewall rules is vital to sidestep issues like high CPU utilization, low throughput, and slow applications, ensuring a private network remains safe from hackers and unwarranted access.

How does a firewall work in safeguarding sensitive data?

Firewalls, both hardware and software types, monitor and control incoming and outgoing network traffic, acting as barriers between a trusted internal network and untrusted external networks. They use a defined set of rules to permit or block data packets based on security policies, ensuring malicious activity is kept at bay and sensitive data remains secure.

How do service providers ensure the firewall protects efficiently?

Service providers employ a variety of methods, including constant updates, monitoring for vulnerabilities, and employing features like intrusion prevention and next-generation firewall functionalities to ensure the firewall stands as the first line of defense against potential threats.

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