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October 2007

Automated configuration management tools clean out redundant rules

The problem is almost as old as the firewall: Keep your business safe without impeding operations; keep dangerous traffic out while making sure legitimate traffic moves freely and quickly. That's not always easy, especially in large, distributed enterprises. Over time, hundreds of firewalls, often from multiple vendors, spawn thousands of rules, many redundant or obsolete. Performance degrades and the network may be at risk without your knowledge. Change management becomes a formidable challenge in this environment--testing the impact of new rules, making sure an apparently redundant rule is really redundant and an obsolete rule is never actually used. "The process was manual, intensive and prone to error," says Dave Witherspoon, director of technical security and forensic services at Canadian-based Scotia Bank. "We lacked confidence cleaning up old rules, in case someone was still using them." It doesn't have to be that way. Automated firewall configuration management tools from companies including AlgoSec, Secure Passage and ...

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