SMEs and large corporations alike rely on firewalls to control network traffic and access. But no firewall is perfect. In fact, a firewall is only as good as the practices and policies supporting it. Hillstone Networks firmly believes in maximizing firewall protection by implementing and following best practices.
We discuss four such practices below. All of them are easy enough to implement, and they don’t require a ton of time and resources. On the other hand, implementing them guarantees your organization is maximizing the protection your firewall solution offers.
The easiest strategy for maximizing firewall protection is often the one companies neglect: keeping updates current. Threats are constantly evolving. To respond to them, hardware manufacturers and software developers roll out regular firmware updates. Every new firmware release makes a firewall more secure.
Applying software updates should be a given. Organizations should not wait until a threat becomes a problem to check for new releases. Simply put, the most effective way to guarantee that threats don’t make it past your firewall is to ensure you’re always running the latest firmware. Being behind by even one version could leave your network vulnerable.
From time to time, firewall providers release security patches designed to address vulnerabilities in between major firmware releases. Just like firmware should be always updated, so should security patches. Whenever your provider issues a security patch or hotfix, it should be applied immediately. No exceptions.
It is important to note that many security patches and hotfixes are released due to imminent threat; a threat has been detected or a vulnerability exposed. One way or the other, it is important to move quickly.
A firewall is only as secure as its ability to keep out unauthorized parties. Simple usernames and passwords are no longer adequate. Instead, administrative access should be controlled by some sort of advanced authentication policy.
Multi-factor authentication is a good choice. It can prevent brute force hacking attempts by closing off any opportunity to log on to the system nefariously. Another good option is the one-time password.
Still another option is to define different roles for firewall administration. Role-based access control limits how far different administrators can get into the system. Privileges can be assigned to each role while administrators are assigned roles based on the tasks that they are most likely to perform.
Most firewalls offer a plethora of services ranging from SSH to ping and DNS. Every enabled service represents a possible way in. So if services aren’t necessary, don’t enable them. Only enable those services that are absolutely necessary for proper function.
Hillstone Networks strongly urges organizations to disable remote administration whenever possible. Even remote administration by way of HTTPS and SSH can be unnecessarily risky. If remote administration is necessary, access should be limited to only a few choice people who can be trusted to take care of business.
Your organization’s firewall is its best line of defense against a number of different threats. It goes without saying that every network should be protected by one. Still, not following basic firewall best practices means you are not getting maximum protection from your solution. That makes little sense.
Employ basic firewall best practices and your organization will enjoy better protection as a result. If you would like to know more about firewall solutions from Hillstone Networks, feel free to contact us. We offer a wide variety of network security solutions that can help your organization protect itself against modern threats.