Putting Next-generation Firewalls in Context

Michael Vizard
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10-Step Security and Vulnerability Assessment Plan

Use this plan to ensure your information system controls are correctly implemented.

One of the more frustrating things about IT security is how much of blunt instrument most security technologies turn out to be. As a result, a lot of security features never get turned on for fear of the unknown impact they may have on any number of applications.

To address this specific issue, the folks at Sourcefire today unveiled a new security platform that combines the application-aware functionality of a next-generation firewall with intrusion prevention software to provide a more granular approach to managing security.

According to Dave Stuart, director of product marketing at Sourcefire, the issue facing many IT organizations is that they need highly granular control over what applications are allowed to be accessed in a way that doesn't affect the performance of any given application. That requires a policy-driven approach that is sensitive enough to understand what users should be accessing, regardless of where they are on the network or the device they are using, as well as the security reputation of the site being used to deliver that application.

Sourcefire, which spearheaded the development of the widely used open-source SNORT intrusion detection software, developed the Sourcefire Next-Generation Firewall as a platform that not only adds user and application context to IT security, but also, says Stuart, reduces costs by consolidating the functionality of multiple IT security appliances into a single product.

Whatever the definition of a next-generation firewall ultimately winds up being, it is pretty clear that existing firewalls are blunt instruments that are complex to manage. Now is a good time to replace legacy IT security technologies with modern security platforms that not only reduce the total cost of security, but, more importantly, greatly simplify the management of the entire IT security process.

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