Firewalls are a first line of defence in network security and an integral part of a business’s overall cyber security strategy. However, for firewalls to remain effective, they require regular maintenance, monitoring, and management. That’s where Managed Firewall services comes into play.
What is a Managed Firewall
A firewall is not a set it and forget it type of product. It requires upkeep and maintenance to make sure it is protecting your business.
A “Managed Firewall” is the service around the firewall that ensures:
- There are clear, well-maintained firewall rules that are modified when required
- Policies, patches, and updates are managed and applied at the optimal time
- Proactive monitoring is in place with regular feedback, reports, and analysis into network traffic patterns and potential threats
Firewalls, especially advanced models like feature-rich Next Generation Firewalls, are complicated pieces of business technology. They require a very specific skill set to install, maintain, and administer. Firewalls have multiple updates and files for threat protection. A managed firewall service is a proactive approach to having these updates applied, including manual firmware updates and monitoring to remain current.
With a managed firewall, on the reactive side, organizations get much faster intrusion protection which requires a specialist to monitor and potentially respond to activity from the firewall. Whereas with an unmanaged firewall, businesses wouldn’t necessarily have the same level of monitoring, reporting, or a resource available to address concerns as they happen.
Image source: https://cybersecon.com/firewall-management/
Benefits of a Managed Firewall
A managed firewall service gives companies real-time assurance that firewalls are healthy, blocking threats, and protecting the environment from network security threats.
If IT isn’t your main business, it can be hard to make time to regularly update and maintain your firewalls, especially if you don’t have resources with firewall expertise.
Managed firewalls can stop threats in their tracks and notify someone with the right skills and availability to respond immediately. Well-managed firewalls can sometimes block new zero-day vulnerabilities at the perimeter before patches even become available for the emerging threats.
As organizations become more distributed, managed technology becomes paramount to the company’s overall success. SonicWall President and CEO Bill Conner speaks to the need for such services: “With companies forever changing how they operate with remote employees and offices, it’s more important than ever to ensure the maximum performance of applications, traffic and workflows. These additions will allow IT departments to focus on other issues at hand, reduce budget constraints and finally address the shortage of critical cybersecurity skills.”
Does Your Business Need a Managed Firewall?
Here are some of the prime reasons that businesses tend to opt for managed firewall services.
Multiple Firewalls: Managed firewalls are beneficial for organizations and enterprises with several firewalls that require regular management, maintenance and monitoring. Particularly for organizations with a lack of firewall expertise or who have trouble retaining these types of skill sets. A managed firewall service also makes it easier to install and configure new firewalls for additional locations quickly and efficiently as you already have firewall resources dedicated to your account.
Lack of Skills: As firewalls get more complex and require niche skills to remain current, it requires someone with knowledge of your specific type of firewall to be able to keep it up to date. Managed firewalls come with comprehensive tools and processes put in place around managing firewall infrastructure. It can be expensive to keep specialized IT on staff, especially if you only need them for certain instances. The managed service ensures you are only paying for what you are using and allows your other IT resources to focus on more business strategic elements of your IT environment.
Leverage New Capabilities: Firewall capabilities are always evolving, with more features to enable and configure. A managed firewall means these features are considered and activated should a business need arise. Companies looking to get more out of their current firewalls can leverage a managed firewall service to do so.
No Firewall Auditing or Reporting in Place: If companies aren’t regularly auditing and checking their firewall rules and configuration, a managed firewall service would likely be a good option. Firewall specialists audit firewalls regularly, get them up to speed, and maintain standards on an ongoing basis. With regular monitoring in place, businesses get real-time assurance that their environment is protected from a variety of threats and a managed firewall service provides a detailed report on the types of threats the business faces in a typical window.
Meeting Compliance: Many industries have strict compliance mandates for managing data, infrastructure, and security. With managed firewalls, businesses can ensure they are compliant by aligning their firewall rules, filtering, and patch process with their specific compliance requirements.
Managed Firewall Services and Managed Security Services
There are significant benefits from enlisting a managed firewall service including enhanced network protections, meeting compliance, more robust monitoring and reporting, and rapid response times to any activity on the firewall that requires immediate action.
Businesses continue to leverage Managed Security Services to fill gaps in their skills, attain better security coverage, and reduce costs. According to ResearchAndMarkets.com, “Rising security breaches and sophisticated cyber-attacks across enterprises are driving the overall growth of the Managed Security Services (MSS) market. The global MSS market size is expected to grow from USD 31,659 million in 2020 to USD 46,425 million by 2025.”
If your business is interested in investigating whether a managed firewall is right for your organization, we offer a free firewall audit. An experienced infrastructure specialist can walk through what types of firewalls you have currently and examine current processes to see if they are protecting your company from cyber threats. Click here to book a time
We also have a quick online security assessment you can fill out to gauge your organization’s risk level based on five key areas.