As technology evolves over time and new software solutions come up, it’s natural for a company to want to upgrade its existing security resources, especially the firewall.
The problem, however, is that migrating to a new firewall vendor is incredibly challenging because all seven OSI layers need to work well, starting at the physical connectivity and ending at the application layer.
If even one of these layers malfunctions, it will effectively be the same as not having a firewall up at all. Then, of course, there are the problems that start showing up right after a migration.
No matter how smoothly and perfectly the process may go there were always be sync issues as the existing technology starts adjusting to the new one.
In this article, we are going to share the process of a successful firewall migration and give you tips that should help you migrate without getting a migraine.
Firewall Migration Procedure
These are the 7 steps you need to employ for a successful migration:
1. New technology training
The worst thing you can do during the process is to jump at the opportunity to replace your old software with the new one without first bringing your team up-to-speed with the ongoing changes.
What happens if something goes wrong during the migration and no one has any idea how to fix it? You will be stuck in a dead zone where the older software no longer works, and the new one can’t be implemented properly, leaving your network highly vulnerable to attacks.
To avoid this, make sure everyone on your team gets extensive training, is introduced to the new technology, understand the different features, and learns how to configure them.
2. Review existing firewall
Firewalls tend to bloat over time as more and more policies and rules are added to the database. The result is that a lot of information manages to get through which would otherwise be blocked.
This is why you do not want to switch over to the new technology without first reviewing the current one. Many good firewall management tools such as Checkpoint Smart Center will let you do this operation in a few clicks.
3. Initial dry run
You will have no idea how long the actual migration will take and what kind of tools it will need until you go through a few dry runs.
Take some time out and plan a test migration using the original configuration of the existing firewall. This lets you test out the features without actually migrating to the new technology.
Most of the basic setup can also be prepared during this phase.
With a basic setup ready and the new configuration prepared, you can start testing the overall system extensively.
Prepare a test list that details the kind of tests to be run and their expected results. The main focus here is on ensuring that the system will continue to work effectively even if a few elements break down.
5. Configuration testing
This is the most crucial part of the project since the configuration needs to go smoothly for a successful migration.
Here, we highly recommend that you keep a backup plan ready just in case anything goes wrong and you need to revert to the old technology for a while.
6. Actual migration
Make sure you schedule this event during a routine maintenance window and whatever you do, DON’T tell your customers that you are upgrading your firewall. Just tell them the network was down because of a maintenance break.
The people who do need to know about the migration, however, is the team responsible for your networks. They will need to test all the applications both before and after the migration, so everyone should be present and ready while the process is going on.
7. System Monitoring
Finally, once the new technology is installed and everything has been implemented as required, the monitoring phase starts where you ensure that the migration was successful.
It’s important to remember that no matter how well you implemented the 6 steps above, there will always be problems that you’ll need to take care of. It is just the nature of the task.
Make sure your team is on-hand to solve all issues that exist, and do not stop the monitoring phase until you are 110% sure everything is working as it should. Sometimes, this can even take months, but it is an essential step.
Firewall plays a key role in providing the best protection to organizational networks. They are always monitored and managed by administrators. Their duty is to observe the traffic on the network and avoid data breaches by allowing just authorized users to access the data. They also avoid misconfiguration of the devices which is the primary cause of data breaches.
Organizations that are maintaining confidential data of users carry out certain procedures to overcome the chances of a data breach. From firewall migration to management and maintenance, every activity of the administrator is to overcome the challenges to protect a network. Following are some of the recommended practices everyone must know.
Keep Security Policy Manager In The Loop From Changes:
Organizational security policies are arranged by security managers. They stay in charge to ensure that these policies are followed thoroughly. Beside that fact that they are not operational employees, the administrators must keep them in the loop when deploying rules. Both of them must work together so that none of a corporate policy rules can be violated.
Clean Up Unused Rules:
Among thousands of organizational rules, there must be some out-of-date rules that need to be clean up. Connections are often left unclosed even for a long time that can be noticed by hackers. One must close similar connections that no more serve any business purpose. Such a clean-up improves firewall performance and organizational security.
Conflicting Rules Elimination:
When implementing new rules, the administrator must have an in-depth idea of the existing ones. They must do not implement rules that can conflict with those that are existing. The new rules stay dysfunctional if they are implemented on existing ones. The administrator must have a policy for cleaning up the existing rules when implementing new rules.
Follow A Consistent Work flow Changes Implementation:
Every rule must be properly documentations so that they can help in demonstrating that who owns it. The organizational security managers need to define a business process needs so that a particular workflow can be followed when a rule is required. A better firewall management would be the one where such a workflow covers everything ranging from an access request from the owner to analyzing it and making the changes by the administrator.
Have Developers And Firewall Administrators On The Same Page:
Both the application developers and firewall administrators must have mutual understanding when requesting changes to an already implemented firewall. Using a technical translator is recommended in this regard to avoid misconfiguration and waste of time. The use of higher level language by developers is recommended that can be translated into details of technical implementation by technical translator.
Network security requisite building the right capacity to execute the plan in accordance; there is an instant necessity to prioritize the execution of a detailed plan. What is the most effective security plan? Industry experts fail to answer how a detailed security plan should evolve.
How to bolster the capacity of security mechanism?
The ability to undertake the future requirements of network security is essential. The configuration needs to be designed that can reflect on the potential security requirements in the future. Firewall migration can build the scope and extent of the security issues that may arise in future.
The relocation of the security mechanism and the transfer of the variables is a top priority. 55% of the organizations are unsatisfied with the level of conviction of the security parameters. In addition 46% of the organizations implement the wrong security methodology that fails to address their imminent need.
It is the approach that matters in network security. What precisely the security features can offer to the network? The validation of the enacted security mechanism can be elaborated by the specialist service provided by firewall management.
Believe it or not:
The first line of defense is always critical. Majority of the firewalls fall short to justify the selection. The facilitation of the exact security approach is based on a specific environment. How each security feature resonate with the demand is significant in building the most appropriate design.
The rationale, the different platforms that operate on the network are interdependent. The security need of each platform is precise and architecture must be segmented keeping in view the traffic on the network.
Have you implemented the right security mechanism?
The investment in network security can offer massive return on investment to the administrators. The security leverage can offer better strategic depth to the network. Informed decisions with the assistance of experts can minimize the propensity of security hacks.
What is the ‘way’ to go?
Extreme care and diligence is necessitated in reflecting the existing and future security needs of the network. You need to understand why a particular decision is best for network security.
You know better than anyone else:
The security is directly linked with the business objectives. A critical analysis could be decisive in mapping out the right security strategy. The validation obligated to justify the substantiation of the security support mechanism can be rationalized by experts.
With the evolution and performance amplifications that are associated with technology, the need for makeshifts in hardware and security devices and approaches takes place and this is a normal practice. Shifting from one vendor to another or migrating may prove to be a challenging task.
Many big names like in the security industry are always on their toes to get more clients however the actual efforts are made by their technical engineers who make things easy and possible when it comes to complex tasks like firewall migration.
Why firewall replacement is considered critical?
This is required to ensure smoother transitions, it is critical to ensure that all the seven OSI layers are performing well, i.e. from physical connectivity all the way through to application level.
Following are eights steps for a success migration of firewall:
A good approach would be to look for reliable security solution providers who are rich in knowledge and can take good care of one’s need that fall within the brackets of firewall management.
To be honest, being an active researcher in this domain, I have never come across a situation where I have met entrepreneurs who may have dealt with such situations in a professional way all alone on their own. Outsourcing is their ultimate way out and best bet. Dealing with security threats using free tools and approaches may not do the trick, besides it is not a lasting solution anyways when one looks at the constantly updating threat levels.
With trends that are moving further into the elite zones that are backed with artificial intelligence and virtual reality and processes that are relying further on cloud technologies, smart and professional backups offered by third parties in this domain shall be considered by business owners with a serious and focused attitude.
We are operating in markets that are not favouring the idea of tampering with business processes, a better approach would be sticking to the basics. In today’s markets threats like security and cyber crimes are the key issues, dealing with them in a bookish and expert passion by working in a close collaboration with security solution providers will enable one to focus on business growth without any fear of data loss or unauthorised access.
In today’s world a network system is very necessary that secures, monitors, and controls the two way traffic which follows a set rules and paths that are pre devised. Basically it acts as a barrier between the right and secure internal traffic system and the external system. It also filters the bad traffic and the good trusted traffic.
The usual life span of packet filter is from 5 to 7 years and the upgrades or changes are enforced and started by the organizations growth or if the need is to change the security plan.
The importance of packet filter is huge as it acts as a filter between the good traffic and bad traffic. Its significance to the critical network security can be measured by enforcing any change in it, as even a slightest of changes can load the system with numerous risks and threats. Any immature change in packet filter can stem the continuity of the business activities.
Firewall migration can only be done under careful and experienced supervision. If a person or corporation wants to change the packet filter necessary cautions should be taken in order to keep the previous data safe. There are some certain cares and steps that to be taken before changing it to the better version or installing it.
Before up gradation:-
Make sure to create the back up of all the data present in your system before you start upgrading it. Because, the chances of losing the data cannot be written off. Latest facilities and technology don’t let your data and files vanish
During the process of up gradation or installation careful monitoring and close supervision is needed, which need to be performed by experienced and skilled personnel.
First action after transformation:-
Once the up gradation process has finished the first action is taken. This action must be taken by having a look on packet filter groups that were formed previously. To make sure that groups exist or not and either they contain configured hosts and all networks.
Default host names:-
Most probably they may exist but due to some technical limitations proper host names cannot be displayed. Thus they are visible carrying default system name which may appear like this: host <ip-address>. You can change the names to the ones you like or the ones that show some sense so that the files and groups can be recognized.
If you haven’t used firewall migration before and don’t have any experience you may skip this step. But, the best and ideal solution for personal and enterprise needs is to get the service of any experienced and renowned IT firm in this regard.
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