Go beyond firewalls- Yes! It’s about time

IAM FW

“Old is Gold”. If there is anything we need to stop doing, it is implementing the old security measures to improve the organization’s IT infrastructure because clearly, they (at least most of them for sure) aren’t doing any good.
Firewalls are one such age-old security measure, which certainly worked well during the formative years of the web but today, it isn’t enough to beat the technologically advanced and sophisticated cyber-attacks. We’ll tell you why-

Lack of protection for cloud
The adoption of cloud technology is on the rise. However, the cyber threats associated with cloud technology cannot be denied. The idea of setting up a firewall for a cloud environment is to prevent intruders from unauthorized access to the network. but with the availability of a firewall for the cloud environment depending on the cloud infrastructure and extending firewalls beyond the internal network’s range to cover the entire data present on the cloud may not be the easiest task.

Faulty configuration
Capital One, the largest issuer of credit cards faced massive data breach, compromising the personal information of about 106 million people due to misconfigured firewalls. Poorly constructed firewall, which in fact, is as good as having no firewall at all, is an easy pathway to cyberattacks. A configuration that does not work well with the cloud-based environment has less stringent access policies, or fails to filter outgoing network traffic, etc. can barely keep away cyber threats.

Inefficient monitoring
Given how there is already a shortage in IT security space and the IT professionals are generally overloaded, they may not be able to dedicate enough time to check on firewalls, upgrading it, or re-configuring it as per the security needs. It may happen that a firewall installed years ago remain put without monitoring its utility over time and this is exactly what bad actors take advantage of.

Poor detection of threat
Essentially, a firewall is network security that functions on a set of “pre-determined rules”. They are configured to detect threats and let the legit traffic pass by. This, however, may not be very advantageous. If an attacker figures out the rules, it becomes easier for him to plot a cyberattack. Also, firewalls cannot detect potential threats, it only reacts to them based on the predetermined rules. Say, if the rule states incoming data from recognized sources is not threat, an attacker can easily launch a phishing campaign via ‘recognized sources’ and expose all the credentials and vital business information.

However, despite the above-mentioned drawbacks, you can achieve optimal security if along with firewalls, you implement the following security measures:

Invest in cyber threat intelligence
As mentioned earlier, a firewall is a reactive system. It can only react to cyber threats and not detect them beforehand. Organizations should consider investing in Cyber Threat Intelligence. It consists largely of security professionals who can foresee cyber threats and possibly detect the ones that have surpassed the firewall due to a loophole.

Internal network monitoring
Firewalls restrict access to or from private networks and that’s about it. The firewall may prevent unauthorized access from external networks but what about the network inside the wall? Insider threats are one of the greatest cybersecurity threats. So, it is necessary to improve internal network visibility, monitor the users within the network, and ensure no malicious exchange is happening from private networks to external networks.

Choose advanced authentication
Authentication- a barrier that a cyber attacker may easily overcome or may never cross, depending on its stringency. Cybercriminals have almost made their way to passwords, even the most complex ones. It only makes sense to opt for layered authentication methods such as Multi-Factor Authentication so that even if the attacker manages to surpass one barrier (a poorly configured or an unattended firewall), he will be stopped with multiple other barriers that MFA creates.

Deploy an IAM suite
This perhaps is the best investment an organization could make- deploying an Identity and Access Management solution. The organization can achieve high cybersecurity despite the glitches in the firewall owing to a comprehensive IAM solution’s capabilities such as Access Management, Identity Governance and Administration, Privileged Access Management, business to consumer functions, an endpoint to mobile management, personalized dashboards, high powered analytics, and business intelligence.

Finally, cyber attackers today somehow manage to find their way to the security network and cause havoc within the organization. It is certain that attackers are improvising on their methods, so this reason alone should urge organizations to implement better security methods in addition to firewalls.

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