Getting the most out of your network firewalls has never been a simple task for enterprise environments. As organizations increasingly move to the cloud and operations become more dynamic and complex, the requirements, and the stakes, are rising.
Over the years, I’ve seen improper management of firewalls open organizations up to various types of risk as a result of employee error and oversight. This can have varying consequences, from large-scale data breaches, to fines and penalties due to non-compliance. What do Network Security Policy Management (NSPM) vendors do to help, and is this technology enough on its own?
Why do Companies Need Network Security Policy Management (NSPM)?
Inconsistent or inaccurate firewall policies impact the functionality of business applications, cause compliance gaps, and make an organization vulnerable to cyber attacks.
In response to these fears, Network Security Policy Management companies such as AlgoSec, one of the early pioneers of this category, were born. I have had many chances to work with AlgoSec and their team over the last 15 years and it is amazing to see how the product, and actually the market that they have created, is adapting as the IT landscape changes. More recently however, the rise in internal traffic moving East-West inside the data center has created a need for something more. Let’s look at what this means in practice.
Amplifying Firewall Complexity in the Hybrid Cloud, Data Center and Edge
When implemented well, NSPM provides visibility over complex traffic and communication, adds sophisticated automation capabilities for network firewall policies that are spread over multiple devices or locations, and eases compliance with various regulatory requirements for specific industry needs. Tight governance over your perimeter firewall works to keep North-South attacks that move in and out of the data center at bay. But when it comes to a hybrid data center, traditional perimeter firewalls do nothing to address this risk.
In a hybrid cloud data center, visibility and control become more of a struggle than ever. Some of the reasons why, include:
- Different environments to consider, from on-premises to public or private clouds, each with evolving requirements.
- The majority of traffic moving East-West, because of third-party vendors, employee devices, and increased exposure via the public cloud.
- DevOps teams pushing for faster innovation and the deployment of new features via rapid application development.
The more complexity, the more risk, so the hybrid cloud ecosystem needs to be secure from the earliest possible stages.
Dedicated micro-segmentation solutions like Guardicore have risen to this challenge. With a smart segmentation solution, your organization can create access policies inside hybrid enterprise environments that leverage a zero-trust model. Enterprises tend to start with projects that bring quick time to value, such as ring fencing critical applications that hold the most sensitive data or systems.
As a smart, software-based segmentation vendor, we provide new and essential firewall capabilities, dynamic and flexible enough to meet any use case or scale. Of course, the perimeter firewall is still necessary, and needs concurrent and tight governance and control. Therefore, the best segmentation solutions that address hybrid cloud complexity will integrate seamlessly with best-of-breed NSPM solutions.
Simplifying Complexity with a Two-step Integration
According to Gartner, “Despite there being multiple network security vendors with centralized managers, network security teams are struggling to manage these multiple and multi-vendor policies and to have complete visibility across different environments. Maintaining continuous compliance is becoming a bigger challenge.”
A challenge that, here at Guardicore, we’re happy to meet. Guardicore Centra integrates easily with AlgoSec to make it simpler to manage governance and firewall rulesets across a hybrid enterprise environment. Guardicore customers can continue to use their existing perimeter firewalls for North-South traffic alongside Centra’s precise labeling and segmentation policies for managing and controlling all communications that move East-West.
The AlgoSec Policy Exporter integration with Guardicore can be used to export all labels and files from Guardicore Centra, converting them into two easy to manage CSV files, one for endpoint machines and another for rules. The security team now has these policies and labeling rules to forward to any other managed devices within the data center, consolidating existing policies and governance. This integration also provides your enterprise with full visibility of dynamic policies across the data center, even in hybrid environments.
No Firewall Left Behind: Adding Visibility and Control Across a Hybrid Ecosystem
Internal firewall management and control are essential in today’s hybrid cloud data centers, but they don’t negate the need for existing traditional perimeter firewalls. Managing this complex arrangement are NSPM industry leaders such as AlgoSec that can seamlessly visualize, automate and organize policies from multiple firewall vendors across the data center.
By using AlgoSec with Guardicore Centra, our customers have access to the simplest and strongest segmentation choice when managing East-West traffic without adding complexity to firewall management overall.
Want to learn more about segmenting East-West traffic for your hybrid cloud data center?