A Comprehensive Guide to Firewall Management

firewall management

It only takes a few moments for a normal workday at your business to turn into something catastrophic. This is particularly true regarding your company’s data security.

The average data breach costs businesses approximately $4.4 million, and even a single incident can have disastrous consequences. Your firewall management policy will play a large role in how safe you keep your company’s data, but not everyone understands how to get started.

Let’s now explore what you should know about enterprise firewall policies and how a firewall can protect your business so you can maximize your company’s network security.

What Is Firewall Management?

As the name implies, this is the process of maintaining, configuring, and monitoring a firewall. This helps ensure it’s operating properly and protecting against threats. Some of the key tasks involved in firewall management include:

  • Looking into suspicious traffic sources
  • Handling security incidents that arise
  • Examining firewall logs for anomalies

Regular audits and tests should be conducted to gain insight into the firewall’s performance.

Different Types Firewalls

There are different firewall types for different purposes. Each has its advantages, and using them appropriately can dictate whether you meet your goals. Let’s look at these in further detail.

Proxy Firewalls

This type of firewall operates at the application layer and is designed to offer additional protection compared to regular firewalls. This firewall will intercept traffic and determine whether it should be blocked or allowed through. You can think of proxy firewalls as intermediaries between your company and external networks.

They also handle Internet connections. All requests are filtered before they make it to your network, which allows you to filter potentially harmful traffic.

Next-Generation Firewalls

As the name implies, these provide advanced security features and capabilities compared to other firewall types. They make use of multiple firewall functionalities to achieve this.

Key features include deep packet inspection, application awareness, and intrusion prevention. A primary advantage of next-generation firewalls is the ability to handle advanced threats, such as target attacks and botnets. These firewalls can quickly identify and block specific applications, behavior, and protocols.

Traditional Firewall Management Services

This type of firewall monitors and controls incoming and outgoing traffic. It operates at the transport or network level. Data packets are then blocked or permitted based on certain criteria. These often include:

  • Protocols
  • Port Numbers
  • IP Addresses

This system works by comparing traffic to predefined rules. If there are discrepancies in network traffic, the firewall will filter it.

A solid example is the use of a stateful firewall. This only allows traffic that satisfies specific criteria and blocks all other traffic.

Key Components of Firewall Management

Proper firewall management involves several nuances you’ll need to keep in mind. This will dictate how efficiently you keep your company protected. Let’s take a closer look.

Policy Control

Firewalls allow you to set specific policies that allow or block specific traffic. They’re often based on attributes like IP addresses, protocols, and port numbers. You can configure policies to ensure that your network traffic complies with your company’s security policy.

It can also help you meet your industry’s compliance standards. Even a single incident can have major consequences. These are often difficult or even impossible to overcome, especially for small businesses.

They can also damage your company’s reputation. A great example is the 2017 Equifax data breach.

Not only did this cause major issues for the company, but it irreparably damaged how their customers viewed them. They were never able to fully recover, and they had to pay millions to the affected victims.

Threat Management

Your firewall can comprehensively manage potential threats, and it’s even possible to respond to them in real time. If suspicious activity is discovered, your system will alert your security team and network administrators.

They can then take the appropriate course of action to keep your business as safe as possible. Threat management is only effective if you properly define threats, though. Otherwise, harmful traffic could slip past your defenses.

Graphical Interfaces

Working with a smooth graphical interface is essential for properly managing a firewall. Otherwise, you may find this process to be unintuitive and inefficient. This could potentially cause threats to penetrate your network security.

Simplifying these tasks through an intuitive GUI also allows your team to focus on other responsibilities. This goes a long way toward optimizing your company’s efficiency.

For this reason, many cyber security companies in Los Angeles and across the state prioritize firewall software that’s easy to navigate.

Third-Party Integration

Firewalls will sometimes have conflicts with other software your company uses. While these are often innocuous, they could cause complications at times.

For instance, imagine if your firewall couldn’t function properly alongside your intrusion detection system. This could lead to major contingencies that threaten your data.

Only use firewalls that don’t have compatibility issues. Some compatibility issues can also impact your company’s overall efficiency. It might take a bit of trial and error to find appropriate software.

Keep in mind that you may be able to work through compatibility issues. Proper configuration can often resolve problems that occur, so don’t be disheartened at first if complications happen.


This is one of the most important attributes of firewall management. If your firewall isn’t scalable, you’ll have a hard time adjusting to new threats that manifest.

You also might not be able to accommodate your company’s growing size. Your firewall should be able to handle an increase in both traffic and total number of devices.

Your firewall’s scalability is often directly tied to the provider you work with. Scalable firewalls take a large amount of support to maintain.

Finding Good IT Support Companies

It’s essential to work with the right managed IT services provider to get the best results. This will play a large role in how effectively you secure your company’s data. Listed below are some of the most notable attributes to keep an eye out for.


What do other people have to say about the provider’s reputation? Research the company online and read through previous reviews. You can also look for client testimonials to gain insight into the company’s performance.

Pay attention to how the company responds to criticism. Never hire someone who blames their clients. This indicates they aren’t willing to help people overcome their issues.

You should also look for fake reviews during your search. These are often posted in batches and contain many of the same keywords.

It’s also recommended to avoid companies that don’t have any feedback at all. You’ll be rolling the dice in situations like these.


Never hire a firm that offers rock-bottom rates. This often indicates they’ll fall short of your goals. However, you don’t have to spend as much money as possible during your search.

There’s a point of diminishing returns regarding how much you budget for. Instead, you can look for a company in the middle of the price range. This will help you get the results you desire without stretching your budget.

You should also ensure they don’t charge miscellaneous fees. There’s nothing worse than encountering financial surprises after finding a managed service provider. This could also require you to hire another firm to handle your needs, causing you to spend more money.

Service-Level Agreements

It’s in your best interest to find a firm that offers a service-level agreement. This guarantees you receive a certain level of service.

For instance, firewall vendors will guarantee that their enterprise firewall protection can provide a certain level of security. If the company doesn’t hold up its end of the bargain, certain terms will come into effect. It’s not uncommon for the firm to offer discounts on future services as a result.

They might also allow their clients to get out of their contracts early. It’s often worth hiring an attorney to review the agreement with you before signing it.

This will prevent you from agreeing to terms that aren’t in your favor. Some companies are put off by having to spend extra money on attorneys, but it’s well worth the investment.

Ongoing Support

Overcoming issues on your own can be complicated and frustrating. It’s best to find a provider that has a robust customer support policy.

They should be easy to get in touch with and enthusiastic about helping you find solutions to your problems. It’s customary for providers to offer 24/7 monitoring and support.

This often comes in the form of chatbots, outsourced employees, or both. Regardless of how they provide customer support, ensure that you’ll be able to get in touch with them when necessary. This could dictate whether you’re able to overcome the obstacles you face.

Knowledge of Contemporary Threats

There’s no shortage of hackers looking to develop ways to steal valuable data. New threats are always arising, and it only takes a single oversight for disaster to occur.

Some firms don’t have a strong knowledge of contemporary threats. You should avoid companies like these at all costs.

It’s crucial to work with someone who strives to stay updated on evolving trends. Reputable firms will advertise this attribute and shouldn’t have trouble finding one who can satisfy this requirement.

Firewall Best Practices

Implementing certain practices will allow you to handle your firewall management appropriately. This goes a long way toward getting the results you need without complications. Let’s examine key ones to keep in mind.

Keep Track of Authorized Users

Unauthorized users can become major threats to your organization. Without the right access measures in place, you risk experiencing legal liabilities, data theft, and damage to your company’s reputation. Zero-trust policies are great ways to maintain access control.

As the name implies, this assumes that no user can be trusted by default. They’ll need to authenticate themselves each time they access certain information. Simple measures like these can improve how you safeguard your data.

Audit Your Rules and Policies

As time passes, you should audit your rules and policies to determine their effectiveness. Security trends can influence how well these safeguard your company’s information.

To clarify, imagine hackers recently developed new ways to exploit your firewall technology. The policies you set six months ago may no longer be effective. If you don’t audit them regularly, you won’t discover this until it’s too late.

Cybercriminals would then have the potential to ravage your company’s network. The cybercrime industry as a whole is projected to cost the world over $10 trillion each year by 2025. Much of this cost stems from compromised business data.

Block All Access by Default

It’s in your best interest to block all access by default. This will quickly help you reduce the risk of unauthorized data access since only authorized traffic can pass through your firewall. This applies to both inbound and outbound traffic.

You should also apply the principle of least privilege. Doing so grants the minimum level of access for applications to perform their required tasks. This could potentially protect against a data breach even if an application becomes compromised.

For example, imagine if a hacker penetrated your CRM software looking for customer data. If the application didn’t have permission to transmit this information, they might not be able to acquire it.

Don’t Neglect Firewall Updates

Your firewall is only as effective as its last update. The cyber threat landscape changes fast, and it’s essential to keep your software updated. Missing even a single update puts your information at risk, as many updates are in response to hackers finding exploits.

They also improve usage quality by providing bug fixes and features. There are some cases where updating your software might bring unwanted changes, such as modification to the firewall’s GUI. However, these inconveniences are easily worth the added security.

Never Overlook Firewall Management

Without the right firewall management policies in your organization, your sensitive data will be at risk of compromise. The info in this guide will help you start on the right track. Just be sure to choose the right service provider.

At Be Structured Technology Group, we help our clients in need of Los Angeles IT support, Burbank IT support and even Orange County IT support overcome their IT challenges.

We’ve partnered with industry-leading vendors and providers to provide stellar results for each project. You can learn more about the amazing benefits we offer when you schedule a call with us today.

About Chad Lauterbach

CEO at Be Structured Technology Group, Inc. a Los Angeles based provider of Managed IT Services for small business. I desire to help small businesses better utilize technology by assisting in high level planning to make sure that new systems will benefit them both operationally and financially. I am careful to implement and support systems using industry best practices.