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Firewall Management Complexities Pushing Security Pros to Cut Corners

A new survey shows firewall management is problematic enough for many organizations to cause many network security pros to cut corners and cheat on audits.

A new survey shows firewall management is problematic enough for many organizations to cause many network security pros to cut corners and cheat on audits.

The survey, prepared by firewall management vendor Tufin Technologies, fielded responses from 100 network security professionals directly involved in firewall management and auditing. According to the results, 22 percent of participants knew of someone who had cheated on an audit. That figure was up from 10 percent in an April 2010 survey. The chief reason for the cheating – the manual processes associated with managing firewalls and the time constraints those processes create.

Twenty-eight percent said it takes them between several hours and several days on average to design a firewall rule change. In addition, and 85 percent reported up to half of the firewall rule changes they make require modification later on because they were designed incorrectly.

Some 66 percent of participants felt their change management processes either could place the organization at risk of a breach or already do, with the main reasons being a lack of formal processes (56 percent) and the of a manual process with too many steps or people in the process (29 percent).

Besides time constraints, other reasons for cheating included making the network security team look bad (30 percent) and feelings that the parameters of the audit were irrelevant to the business (30 percent).

“This year’s survey reveals that, more than budget constraints or any other factor, time is the security manager’s most precious resource,” said Shaul Efraim, vice president of marketing and business development at Tufin, in a statement. “We were surprised to learn that half the sample is still doing basic tasks manually such as tightening up permissive rules, looking for shadowed rules or recertifying rules. There is no benefit to having experienced administrators spend their days searching for needles in haystacks.”

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