Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Jason Bloomberg, Pat Romanski, Kong Yang, Mark Leake, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Cloud Security, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Open Source Cloud, @CloudExpo

Cloud Security: Article

Why Your NGFW Needs Granular and Contextual Access Control

understand how these evolving feature sets can help contain costs while reducing management complexity

Global information technology networks that are rich in services are typically complex and require hard-to-manage security solutions. The latest versions of next-generation firewalls now offer multiple security layers that can complicate management, particularly as more and more features are added. This complexity can also serve to reduce the effectiveness of controls by obscuring noteworthy events or failing to recognize trends detected by multiple security systems integrated into the overall system. The answer is a common, unified management approach with granular and contextual access control.

Instead of employing multiple and distinct dashboards offering minimal if any integration to manage network security, administrators should be able to access a single dashboard to gain a consistent, unified view across all firewall protected segments. The data must be granular and contextual, empowering IT and network security administrators to execute and control all NGFW operations from a single perspective. And to assure logging of all actions taken and events observed, without regard to operator location.

Consistency is key. This level of administrative awareness and control should be available regardless of modality (physical or virtual) or configuration. Here are five critical control features to look for when evaluating a next generation firewall.

1. Integrated VPN
Secure virtual private network (VPN) connections provide for inter-office and mobile user connectivity to corporate resources. First-tier NGFWs typically provide high-performance remote access with integrated management supporting the use of multiple ISPs to ensure access in the event of link failure. Such solutions typically offer VPN client software to take full advantage of various deployment options. Look for the capability to cluster the firewall configuration to assure availability and session survivability in the event of a firewall appliance update or failure. Flexibility in licensing is also necessary to address burst utilization or pandemic usage requirements. Additionally, support for deep inspection is highly recommended as a necessary precursor to support DLP requirements.

2. Email and Web Security
Email advertising and social media services can flood a network with traffic of little to no business value. And this traffic stream can be a wide conduit for malware. One response is to deploy your NGFWs with additional services such as deep-inspection, web filtering, anti-virus, and anti-spam services. Combining these services under one NFGW umbrella ensures that they are available (especially if the firewall solution is clustered for high availability) and implemented at all relevant chokepoints within an organization. Superior traffic control based on users and groups, as well as contextual awareness of attacks and their use by would-be attackers across the entirety of an organization, improves an organization's resistance to a breach. Furthermore, solutions that support contextual awareness may be able to share details on detected attacks across all firewalls under the same management control, and take broad actions. For example, the actions of an attacker against one firewall may be used to blacklist that attacker across all firewalls of the organization. This amplifying effect is particular pronounced if the NFGW management solution is multi-tenant capable and used to protect multiple divisions or firms.

3. Precise Security Policies
Control over traffic based on a variety of options will enable Network security administrators need great flexibility in granting privileges to employees to perform their jobs. In addition to typical firewall IP Address and port filtering, NGFW solutions also typically support the control of traffic by service (protocol), application, user identity, group affiliation, URL categorization, site reputation, time of day, method(s) of authentication, and context. Precise security policies can provide QoS directives so access control is governed by dynamic business requirements or the availability of underlying communications resources. For example, transaction traffic may be given preferential treatment over social media access by employees, and lower priority traffic is automatically shed if a circuit failure reduces available bandwidth.

4. Integrated Authentication Services
Independent authentication mechanisms often lack integration with the firewall. However, the integration of authentication services with NGFW policies can allow administrators to constrain, track, and log access to services. Such access controls often use a variety of authentication methods including token and virtual token systems. Virtual token applications for mobile phones and tablets reduce costs over traditional key fob tokens. In addition, integration to the NGFW unifies the management of how an individual or members of a group are authenticated.

5. Traffic Management and QoS
Firewalls that feature traffic management and quality of service (QoS) can provide detailed control on what traffic is permitted and at what priority, while assuring end-to-end capacity to meet session requirements. QoS selections such as bandwidth floors and ceilings help to differentiate traffic streams, assuring the streams are treated fairly and not inadvertently precluded in their entirety, or allowed to consume bandwidth to the detriment of other business activities. For isochronous (time sensitive) traffic such as VoIP or video conferencing, the proper handling of long-haul priority directives is necessary to ensure that in-band traffic with specific bandwidth and jitter requirements is accommodated on an as-needed basis.

In addition, traffic management can help triage traffic if sufficient networking bandwidth is unavailable to meet all approved needs. For example, transactions take priority over backups or social media access.

The NGFW can improve the utilization effectiveness of the network and its security posture. It is also a network chokepoint of access from WAN connectivity to remote facilities, mobile employees, and the Internet. Pay attention to all options available with NGFW products and understand how these evolving feature sets can help contain costs while reducing management complexity.

More Stories By Darren Suprina

Darren Suprina is an IT systems designer and security professional with more than 30 years of experience. This has included intellectual property creation, research, development, software and infrastructure design and validation, systems auditing, work as a professional witness, and author.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@MicroservicesExpo Stories
In the decade following his article, cloud computing further cemented Carr’s perspective. Compute, storage, and network resources have become simple utilities, available at the proverbial turn of the faucet. The value they provide is immense, but the cloud playing field is amazingly level. Carr’s quote above presaged the cloud to a T. Today, however, we’re in the digital era. Mark Andreesen’s ‘software is eating the world’ prognostication is coming to pass, as enterprises realize they must be...
Both SaaS vendors and SaaS buyers are going “all-in” to hyperscale IaaS platforms such as AWS, which is disrupting the SaaS value proposition. Why should the enterprise SaaS consumer pay for the SaaS service if their data is resident in adjacent AWS S3 buckets? If both SaaS sellers and buyers are using the same cloud tools, automation and pay-per-transaction model offered by IaaS platforms, then why not host the “shrink-wrapped” software in the customers’ cloud? Further, serverless computing, cl...
Hybrid IT is today’s reality, and while its implementation may seem daunting at times, more and more organizations are migrating to the cloud. In fact, according to SolarWinds 2017 IT Trends Index: Portrait of a Hybrid IT Organization 95 percent of organizations have migrated crucial applications to the cloud in the past year. As such, it’s in every IT professional’s best interest to know what to expect.
A common misconception about the cloud is that one size fits all. Companies expecting to run all of their operations using one cloud solution or service must realize that doing so is akin to forcing the totality of their business functionality into a straightjacket. Unlocking the full potential of the cloud means embracing the multi-cloud future where businesses use their own cloud, and/or clouds from different vendors, to support separate functions or product groups. There is no single cloud so...
The taxi industry never saw Uber coming. Startups are a threat to incumbents like never before, and a major enabler for startups is that they are instantly “cloud ready.” If innovation moves at the pace of IT, then your company is in trouble. Why? Because your data center will not keep up with frenetic pace AWS, Microsoft and Google are rolling out new capabilities. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Don Browning, VP of Cloud Architecture at Turner, posited that disruption is inevitable for comp...
Companies have always been concerned that traditional enterprise software is slow and complex to install, often disrupting critical and time-sensitive operations during roll-out. With the growing need to integrate new digital technologies into the enterprise to transform business processes, this concern has become even more pressing. A 2016 Panorama Consulting Solutions study revealed that enterprise resource planning (ERP) projects took an average of 21 months to install, with 57 percent of th...
In 2014, Amazon announced a new form of compute called Lambda. We didn't know it at the time, but this represented a fundamental shift in what we expect from cloud computing. Now, all of the major cloud computing vendors want to take part in this disruptive technology. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Doug Vanderweide, an instructor at Linux Academy, discussed why major players like AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix, and Google Cloud Platform are all trying to sidestep VMs and containers wit...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists examined how DevOps helps to meet the de...
"We are a monitoring company. We work with Salesforce, BBC, and quite a few other big logos. We basically provide monitoring for them, structure for their cloud services and we fit into the DevOps world" explained David Gildeh, Co-founder and CEO of Outlyer, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"When we talk about cloud without compromise what we're talking about is that when people think about 'I need the flexibility of the cloud' - it's the ability to create applications and run them in a cloud environment that's far more flexible,” explained Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Colocation is a central pillar of modern enterprise infrastructure planning because it provides greater control, insight, and performance than managed platforms. In spite of the inexorable rise of the cloud, most businesses with extensive IT hardware requirements choose to host their infrastructure in colocation data centers. According to a recent IDC survey, more than half of the businesses questioned use colocation services, and the number is even higher among established businesses and busine...
For most organizations, the move to hybrid cloud is now a question of when, not if. Fully 82% of enterprises plan to have a hybrid cloud strategy this year, according to Infoholic Research. The worldwide hybrid cloud computing market is expected to grow about 34% annually over the next five years, reaching $241.13 billion by 2022. Companies are embracing hybrid cloud because of the many advantages it offers compared to relying on a single provider for all of their cloud needs. Hybrid offers bala...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo taking place Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 21st International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is ...
For organizations that have amassed large sums of software complexity, taking a microservices approach is the first step toward DevOps and continuous improvement / development. Integrating system-level analysis with microservices makes it easier to change and add functionality to applications at any time without the increase of risk. Before you start big transformation projects or a cloud migration, make sure these changes won’t take down your entire organization.
Microservices are increasingly used in the development world as developers work to create larger, more complex applications that are better developed and managed as a combination of smaller services that work cohesively together for larger, application-wide functionality. Tools such as Service Fabric are rising to meet the need to think about and build apps using a piece-by-piece methodology that is, frankly, less mind-boggling than considering the whole of the application at once. Today, we'll ...
What's the role of an IT self-service portal when you get to continuous delivery and Infrastructure as Code? This general session showed how to create the continuous delivery culture and eight accelerators for leading the change. Don Demcsak is a DevOps and Cloud Native Modernization Principal for Dell EMC based out of New Jersey. He is a former, long time, Microsoft Most Valuable Professional, specializing in building and architecting Application Delivery Pipelines for hybrid legacy, and cloud ...
21st International Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Me...
In his session at Cloud Expo, Alan Winters, an entertainment executive/TV producer turned serial entrepreneur, presented a success story of an entrepreneur who has both suffered through and benefited from offshore development across multiple businesses: The smart choice, or how to select the right offshore development partner Warning signs, or how to minimize chances of making the wrong choice Collaboration, or how to establish the most effective work processes Budget control, or how to ma...
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Andi Mann and Aruna Ravichandran have been named Co-Chairs of @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo Silicon Valley which will take place Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "DevOps is at the intersection of technology and business-optimizing tools, organizations and processes to bring measurable improvements in productivity and profitability," said Aruna Ravichandran, vice president, DevOps product and solutions marketing...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...