Posted on Mar 16th, 2017 by Erez Tadmor


Walk this way road

Automation systems bring a great deal of value. Having the ability to produce better, faster, and more reliable results can go a long way in improving business agility and simplifying day-to-day tasks. This is true with any type of automation system, but especially when leveraging the power of automation to secure and manage information technology. In addition to productivity gains and better agility, security automation can help tighten an organization's security posture and ensure continuous compliance with internal policies and industry regulations.

So why then have security organizations been reluctant to adopt automation?  The main reason is the perception that automating IT processes, especially cybersecurity processes, cedes control, creating risk for the business. That may be why most organizations still follow a manual process when making network security changes, whether it's network access enablement, decommissioning access of an idle server, or when planning the cleanup of firewall rules to gain firewall optimization.

In reality, automation can actually improve control. Change scenarios get significantly more complex and out-of-control when managing them manually across heterogeneous environments that can include multi-vendor, multi-technology platforms, physical networks, and hybrid cloud. Combine network complexity with the fast pace of change and the potential for human error and misconfiguration, and you're in the fast lane to chaos. For complete control and auditability, don't just look for automation, but rather for policy-based automation that has built-in security and process controls.

While most stakeholders understand the value of automation, determining how it will fit into their organization is the first step towards fully benefitting from this emerging technology. Just like every journey, the path towards full automation should start with small steps.

Here are three recommended steps to start off your journey towards automation, including pitfalls to avoid and how Tufn's method of policy-based automation will get you to your destination faster and more securely.

  1. Start with the obvious
    The Manual Way
    Shadowed, unused, and expired rules are unwanted rules within your security devices. Even so, when was the last time you ran a firewall optimization process in your organization to eliminate the risk and complexity that comes from these bad practices?Identifying these rules, getting the necessary business approvals, and maintaining an ongoing process to eliminate these rules are a major roadblock due to the overhead involved in the process.

    The Tufin Way

    Tufin helps you to quickly identify obsolete and risky rules using our unique Policy Browser. From there, you're on the fast track to decommission these rules using the designated workflow created to address your organization's cleanup process. In addition, you'll have the entire process documented and ready for audit in the future.

  2. Attend to what's needed
    The Manual Way

    Based on our experience, ~30% of an organization's access requirements are already available at the time of the request. Using the manual method, you may not realize that until after you've wasted days of researching your network topology and firewalls.

    The Tufin Way

    Setting up a validation tool at the beginning of your change workflow will help you address these access requirement scenarios in seconds – that way, you can optimize service SLAs and stay focused on the task at hand.

  3. Understand the impact fast
    The Manual Way

    So, you received an email about a server that needs to be decommissioned. Where do you start? How do you measure the impact of the project and identify the potential downfalls of such operations? You'll most likely start by browsing around, trying to understand the ins and outs of this particular server. In short, you'll need to spend lots of time reverse engineering your server's connections.

    The Tufin Way

    Tufin's SecureChange will show you all the details about where your server is used – and it's just a click away. You can easily replace or move the server to another application in order to mitigate the impact of decommissioning the server. This process ensures that all defined connectivity is maintained after the server is decommissioned and removed from firewall rules.

Each organization has its own maturity level regarding automation. Embracing policy-based automation and using it wisely and effectively can yield an immediate and substantial positive impact on your organization.

Whether you're taking the first steps towards automation or you're on the track towards a fully automated environment, Tufin is ready to help you achieve your automation goals.

Interested in seeing how Tufin can help your organization kick-off its automation journey?  Watch the webinar, “Walk this way- First steps towards firewall automation”.