Firewall Audit Tools to Ease PCI Compliance

If you are already working on hundreds of rules across multiple firewalls, you may need firewall audit software. Firewall audit tools automate analyzing complex and bloated rule sets to validate and demonstrate enterprise access controls and configuration change management processes.

Firewall compliance tools help meet PCI DSS requirements and take on tasks to help organizations improve network performance, reduce downtime, improve security, and support personnel eliminate firewall issues and analyze configurations.

See Also: Firewall Rule Base Review and Security Checklist

Firewall management issues are experienced by organizations of all sizes, from inefficient firewalls to large, distributed organizations with many or hundreds of firewalls managed by many business units.

Not long ago, the use of 200 rules in firewalls was considered excessive. However, it is not uncommon for firewalls to have hundreds or even thousands of rules, many of which are overridden when IT operations add new rules and neglect to remove old ones to meet business demands. Analyzing the configurations of a few firewalls, much alone hundreds, has outpaced human computational capabilities.

What are the Key Benefits and Usage Examples of Firewall Audit Tools?

Firewall Audit Tools may be used to meet business efficiency, security, or PCI compliance requirements. You should review firewall and router configurations every six months to ensure PCI DSS compliance. Firewall audits are also often subject to scrutiny during internal, public, and other regulatory audits.

Organizations spend countless man-hours analyzing firewall and router configurations to produce audit reports but realize they don’t have a solid grasp of network access controls and the change management processes that enable them.

For example, manually proving that a firewall ruleset with 1000 rules is robust and secure is difficult and time-consuming.

See Also: How to Perform a Firewall Rule Review for PCI Compliance?

Firewall rule analyzer tools use sophisticated algorithms that evaluate actual rules against corporate policies and best practices to identify gaps, verify changes, and generate audit reports.

Firewall audit tools enable organizations to validate and document the entire configuration management lifecycle to demonstrate to auditors that they follow policy and that changes have been authoritatively completed and granted the intended access.

While compliance automation is sufficient justification for their implementation, firewall auditing tools also offer tangible business benefits beyond the audit ordeal.

See Also: Firewall Rule Configuration Best Practices For PCI Compliance

Performance and Optimization: In fact, performance and optimization are the main functions of all automated tools. Firewall performance suffers because excessive rules consume CPU cycles, and critical access rules are placed far down the hierarchy. Because when adding rules to the firewall, the focus is often on implementation speed rather than optimizing configuration. Firewall auditing tools remove redundant firewall rules and service requests that have previously been enabled, as well as rules that apply to objects that are no longer in use or don’t exist at all.

Optimizing firewalls and network devices can improve companies’ hardware refresh requirements and performance issues. Firewall optimization benefits will become even more apparent as traffic increases.

See Also: Firewall Audit Checklist

Security: Complex configurations in firewalls make security analysis very difficult. Outdated or misconfigured rules can be exploited to allow attackers to access sensitive data. Firewall administrators under pressure to fulfill business requests are likely to make the mistake of giving too much access instead of too little. Firewall configuration audit tools increase security by identifying optimal rules and detecting unused and misconfigured rules.

See Also: Best Practices for Clean Up Your Firewall Rule Base

Business Continuity: Performance and optimization issues can seriously slow down or even disrupt critical business processes. Interruption or slowdown of business continuity costs the business loss of revenue and man-hours it must spend dealing with problems.

Change Management: Change management policies and processes may be inadequate when the policies do not make changes. Failure to follow procedures for changes usually occurs when there is an urgent need to enable or restore service for critical business processes. Some vendors have complementary workflow products that automatically document all configuration changes and reconcile them with their ticketing system.

Firewall Upgrade and Migration: Upgrading and consolidating firewalls across fewer platforms creates excellent opportunities for organizations to use an audit tool. Firewall audit tools can be used to make configuration cleanup and firewall optimization cost-effective, rather than migrating old infrastructure issues to the new environment. Firewall configuration audit tools are well suited for consolidation because they support multiple firewall platforms. It streamlines each platform configuration and transfers them to the new platform.

Firewall Policy Audit Tools

The hundreds or even thousands of rules that run on a firewall device determine how effective it is. Firewalls might fail to perform their vital functions due to misconfigurations, underused rules, and conflicting rules. Firewall security management products can help security administrators monitor compliance, edit device policies, optimize rules, and manage firewall changes.

See Also: Firewall Security Controls Checklist

When choosing firewall security management software, the most important criteria to consider are visibility, scalability, and guaranteed security and compliance for network devices.

One of the most challenging components of corporate network security is firewall management. The main problem is that many enterprise networks are complex, containing a mix of many different vendors and technologies, making it time-consuming and challenging to maintain and support.

Major firewall vendors such as Cisco, Checkpoint, Fortinet, or Palo Alto offer their firewall management software for centralized control of configurations, updates, and policy management.

This is because it is incredibly time-consuming and inefficient to go through each of your firewall devices individually to configure and manage them.

See Also: Firewall Policy Guidelines

However, there are also networks with a mix of different firewall vendors, making it difficult to manage from a single central console. This is precisely where custom firewall management and editing tools come into play.

If you’re struggling with firewall management, you can find our list of firewall management solutions and firewall audit tools below.

AlgoSec

As a business-focused provider of network security management solutions, AlgoSec helps organizations worldwide align their security with mission-critical business processes. With AlgoSec, users can discover, map, and migrate business application connectivity and proactively analyze risks from a business perspective. It can intelligently automate zero-touch network security changes across cloud, SDN, and on-premises networks.

AlgoSec Firewall Analyzer provides complete visibility into network security policy management. Using AlgoSec AFA, you can see where specific traffic is blocked and configure policies accordingly from a single management point. You do not need to access different firewalls to make any changes or configure the policy.

AlgoSec is well suited for organizations that have multiple firewalls from different vendors. In such a scenario, if you want to allow or deny something, you have to go ahead and log in to each firewall and make the changes. However, with AlgoSec Firewall Analyzer, all policies can be created from a single administration panel. If some traffic is blocked, you can simulate the query from AFA to see where it is blocked. This way, you can automate the process of creating firewall policies.

AlgoSec is used for in-depth firewall analysis and intelligent policy setting and optimization. Assists in PCI regulatory compliance metrics and overall firewall security optimization. AlgoSec is well suited for firewall security optimization, tuning, change management, and application discovery.

  • Instantly visualize your entire hybrid network security topology in the cloud, on-premises, and everything in between. You can understand the impact of network security policies on traffic, quickly troubleshoot connectivity issues, schedule changes, and perform traffic queries.
  • You can automatically discover and identify your business applications and network connections. In this way, you will not misplace your applications on your network.
  • Firewall rules support applications or processes that require network connectivity to specific servers, users, and networks. AlgoSec allows you to quickly and easily review firewall rules by automatically associating relevant business applications supported by each firewall rule with AppViz.
  • You can define and apply network segmentation across your entire hybrid network. It ensures that your network security policies do not violate your network partitioning strategy.
  • It helps you identify compatibility gaps across your entire hybrid network. So you can always stay in tune. You can pinpoint exactly which application and security policies are potentially incompatible. It ensures you are always ready for audits with compliance reports covering leading regulations and specific corporate policies.
  • You can define risky security policy rules, the assets they expose, and whether they are in use. It allows you to prioritize risk based on the practices that strengthen your network.
  • You can clean and optimize your security policy. By uncovering unused, duplicate, conflicting, or expired rules without impacting business requirements, you can consolidate rules and tighten “ANY” rules that are over-permitted.

Skybox

The Skybox Security Suite software integrates data from firewalls and network devices with vulnerability and threat intelligence to prioritize security issues in your environment. Powerful attack vector analytics control firewall, vulnerability, and threat management processes for complex networks, reducing response times and risks.

Firewall Assurance unifies all firewalls into a single, standardized view, analyzes policy compliance in real-time, optimizes firewall rule sets, and uncovers attack routes that others overlook.

Skybox supports a wide range of firewall manufacturers, sophisticated rule sets, and even virtual and cloud-based firewalls. With proven scalability across thousands of firewall deployments, Firewall Assurance optimizes rules and ensures that changes don’t introduce new risks.

Skybox Firewall Assurance ensures that the state of your network is always in line with the security policy design and helps mitigate risks in firewalls. Skybox helps manage firewall policy compliance quite quickly for many vendors for any organization with a globally complex network environment. Skybox has security and network vendors in its database with which it is compatible.

  • Centralized Firewall Management: You can analyze the physical, virtual, and cloud-based firewalls to better control east-west or north-south traffic.
  • Security and Compliance Risk Identification: You can identify when access policy violations, rule conflicts, and misconfigurations occur and identify vulnerabilities in firewalls.
  • Clean, Optimized Firewalls: You can keep firewalls running at peak performance by automating cyber hygiene tasks to find redundant, hidden, and obsolete rules.
  • Automate Firewall Management: Automate routine tasks and complex processes to manage traditional, next-generation, virtual and cloud-based firewalls from many firewall vendors.
  • Simplify Audits and Reporting: You can complete firewall rule set audits in less time than manual audits, automate reports and customize reports for different stakeholders.

Tufin

Tufin enables organizations to automate security policy visibility, risk management, provisioning, and compliance in multi-vendor, hybrid environments. Customers gain visibility and control over their networks, ensure continued compliance with security standards, and integrate security enforcement into their workflow and development pipelines.

Tufin Orchestration Suite is a network security policy change design, provisioning, analysis, and auditing system that works from the application layer to the network layer. With Tufin Orchestration Suite, IT and security organizations can centrally manage and control network segmentation, continuously monitor compliance and identify security policy violations, and automate changes across the entire data center through a single interface.

Tufin SecureTrack is a comprehensive firewall and security policy management solution for multi-vendor firewalls, next-generation firewalls, and cloud platforms. Tufin SecureTrack ensures that firewall and security policies are optimized to enable business connectivity while meeting the strictest security and compliance requirements.

Tufin SecureChange is a comprehensive solution for optimizing and automating network configuration changes and provisioning firewalls, routers, Software Defined Networks, and the cloud. Tufin SecureChange increases agility, visibility, and control for the network security change process; It allows organizations to implement the right changes while maintaining security and compliance in minutes instead of days.

  • Provides visibility and control across hybrid IT. Tufin SecureTrack’s real-time visibility into all enterprise-wide firewall and security changes offers clear information on network connectivity and security policy changes, along with alerts for potential new security risks.
  • Helps create a central, unified security policy foundation. To facilitate and manage consistent network segmentation, you can baseline allowed and blocked traffic between security zones and apply it across the hybrid network.
  • Provides real-time compliance and audit readiness. Tufin SecureTrack provides continuous compliance with real-time monitoring and alerts for risky access changes and policy violations. The automatic audit trail allows you to quickly generate various customizable audit reports that comply with regulatory standards such as PCI-DSS, SOX, NERC-CIP, HIPAA, GDPR.
  • Simplifies firewall policy management. Tufin SecureTrack provides a central repository of all firewall rules and objects to simplify firewall management in multi-vendor, multiplatform technologies. An advanced search and filtering mechanism reduces the time and effort of managing your firewall property and simplifies cleanup and optimization.
  • You can establish business contacts and troubleshoot problems in your network. Tufin SecureTrack provides the most accurate topology modeling and path analysis across the enterprise network to quickly troubleshoot and fix network outages and plan connectivity changes.
  • You can manage your corporate network security. Tufin SecureTrack helps network and security teams centrally identify risky access and firewall security policy violations in real-time to tighten your organization’s security posture.

SolarWinds Security Event Manager Firewall Security Audit Tool

SolarWinds’ Network Firewall Security Management Software is specially tailored to monitor multi-vendor firewalls. Security Event Manager, a component of this solution, provides real-time information on firewall activity and allows you to identify anomalies and potential threats.

In addition, Security Event Manager helps you ensure that only authorized firewall administrators can make changes to existing firewall policies. Network Firewall Security Management software also contains a collection of filters that emphasize specific events to help you understand what’s going on in your corporate network.

SolarWinds Security Event Manager manages and collects logs and events from hundreds of multi-vendor routers, switches, IDS/IPS, and firewalls. Log network security events include allowed or denied connections, user activity, bandwidth usage, protocol usage, inbound and outbound traffic.

A core network device’s operation is dictated by the rules it contains. Under the Create area of Security Event Manager, there are various built-in rules for multiple real-time correlations. You can choose from a pre-defined list of rules, alter them, or create your own.

Based on your rule sets, you will receive real-time notifications for ICMP/IP traffic, malware, asymmetric routing, IPsec failure, or anonymous web traffic. To detect privileged account misuse, illegal configuration modifications, and failed login attempts, you can also monitor user activity on necessary routers, switches, and firewalls.

To meet industry compliance rules and IT security auditing needs, organizations and enterprises develop security policies and design firewall, router, and switch settings.

Security Event Manager’s firewall audit tool includes over 300 built-in audit report templates for standards such as PCI DSS, SOX, and HIPAA. To determine the entire firewall security audit trail, you can select a time window, run a specific report, and then get details about a particular event or user.

ManageEngine Firewall Analyzer

ManageEngine Firewall Analyzer is an in-house log management solution that caters to businesses in various industries. Key features include network management, compliance reporting, data visualization, event and blogs, thresholds, and consolidation.

ManageEngine Firewall Analyzer helps businesses identify users in various categories such as streaming video, file sharing networks, social networks, and more. Users may also monitor VPNs, proxy servers, network traffic, and bandwidth in real-time and search for log entries that reveal the source of a security breach.

Additionally, Firewall Analyzer has log analysis, firewall policy management, and change management features. The system also allows users to create custom network security reports. It supports multiple firewalls, including Check Point, Cisco, Cyberoam, Fortinet, Sense, Juniper, Huawei, Sophos, and WatchGuard.

  • Firewall Policy Management: You can analyze the usage and effectiveness of Firewall rules and fine-tune them for optimum performance.
  • Change Management: With Change Management reports, you can receive instant notification of changes made and get a complete track of all changes made to your firewall configuration.
  • Network Security Management: You can get detailed information about all possible network attacks and security breaches in your network.
  • Monitoring user internet activity: You can automatically identify users in various categories such as streaming videos, file sharing networks, or social networks.
  • Real-time VPN and Proxy Server Monitoring: You can get information about active VPN users, user-specific and user-group specific VPN usage, sessions and bandwidth consumed.
  • Compliance Management: Automate PCI compliance audits with ready-to-use reports and verify your firewall security with security audit and device configuration analysis reports.
  • Network Forensics: You can search the logs and identify the log entry showing the cause of the security event within minutes.
  • Log Analysis: You can learn about security threats and traffic behavior to improve network security posture.
  • Network Traffic and Bandwidth Monitoring: By monitoring spikes in bandwidth consumption, you can analyze network behavior and gain in-depth information about users.

Titania Nipper

You can manage your network risks with the sensitive firewall and network configuration auditing tool Nipper. Nipper automatically prioritizes risks for your organization by discovering vulnerabilities in firewalls, switches, and routers.

Nipper reduces false positives with virtual modeling and identifies fixes to help you stay safe. By analyzing your network infrastructure’s configurations and interactions with the expertise of a skilled penetration tester, Nipper can provide Network Administrators with savings per audit per device.

Rather than spending time investigating the false positives of non-compliance, Nipper provides visibility into actual network vulnerabilities, including current false negatives, significantly fewer false positives to investigate, automatic risk prioritization, allowing you to analyze your resources and prioritize fixes.

  • Visibility of real network vulnerabilities, including existing false negatives
  • Significantly fewer false positives to investigate
  • Automatic risk prioritization
  • Precise trimming with precise technical fixes
  • Flexible, configurable, easy-to-read reports

Nipper helps users accurately identify risks in network infrastructure and provides precise remediation, including command-line fixes. Users can customize Nipper’s best practice controls or analyze networks using out-of-the-box industry compliance standards such as STIG, CIS, or PCI DSS.

FireMon

For enterprise networks, FireMon is a network security management tool. FireMon addresses the complex and dynamic needs of modern enterprise networks by giving security tools real-time visibility and control. By optimizing network device configurations, network security administrators and analysts may regulate security via web-based KPI dashboards.

FireMon solves three main challenges in firewalls: cleanup, compatibility, and replacement. It examines firewall setups, verifies policies for administrative changes, and notifies users when network access changes.

With a contextual approach, FireMon focuses on monitoring and managing network security devices. The most notable function is traffic flow analysis, which gives consumers extensive reports on network data flow.

Firemon, the platform addresses inefficient rule creation and change processes, provides risk assessment of change through pre-change simulation, and provides policy change recommendations to increase security efficiency and eliminate misconfigurations caused by complexity and manual processes.

FireMon normalizes policy across thousands of firewall, device, and cloud security groups over a single interface to meet scale and heterogeneity requirements.

Surkay Baykara
Surkay Baykarahttps://www.pcidssguide.com
A passionate Senior Information Security Consultant working at Cyberwise. Over the past 15+ years my professional career has included several positions beginning as a developer and IT administrator, working my way up to a senior Technical Performance Consultant before joining Biznet back in 2015. I had several different roles at Cyberwise, including Penetration Tester and PCI DSS QSA. In my job as a QSA, I found my passion and worked closely with the Audit and Compliance team. I've been working inside InfoSec for over 15 years, coming from a highly technical background. I have earned several certifications during my professional career including; CEH, CISA, CISSP, and PCI QSA.

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