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Minimize Network Breaches, Maximize Performance: 5 Best Firewall Management Practices

In the computing world, a firewall is a software package or code that ascertains a certain set of rules concerning what information packets are going to be allowed to enter or leave a network database. The software is integrated into a large set of networked devices to lower the risk of malware data traveling over general public web impacting the safety of a non-public network. A firewall basically filters the web traffic. The software can be purchased as a complete package application.

A firewall is a metaphorical blockade that is virtually placed to minimize the damage from external or even internal unwanted activities. It provides low-level network protection and has beneficial auditing and logging functions. 

Firewall Management

Firewall management for any organization is a pretty daunting task as it comes with a wide set of responsibilities. Most of the network breeches in a firewall are caused by human error rather than a technology failure or external attack. This further suggests the competing pressure placed on Firewall operators to fine-tune and optimize the firewall rules from time to time.

Invariable of the kind of technology you use, here are 5 firewall management practices that can help you minimize network breeches and maximize performance:

Keeping All Concerned in a Loop

In most enterprises, the users, administrators and security operators have no link whatsoever. Even though the whole organization is linked through a network, a moderator has no knowledge of what a user is doing. One seemingly minute change in the firewall rules can majorly impact connectivity.

For this reason, it’d be wise to open a portal that connects all users, moderators, and administrators where any changes are to be discussed beforehand. Only when the changes have been discussed, reviewed and approved by the administrator or security officer, can these changes be made. 

A proper channel of communication followed by a testing phase to determine if the changes are operating as intended can avoid security lapses.

Automated Updates

As stated earlier, most of the firewall breeches are a result of a human error caused by errors in configuration. Simply said, it’s not the software that’s failing to prevent the breeches, it’s the operators failing to configure the software correctly.

This can be avoided by simply letting the firewall update automatically. The automation can also work for connected devices like routers and switches.

A Rule Book

Security officials do not always stay with the organization forever. It is very likely that the security officer who made certain rules has left the job. Now trying to understand the rules written by that officer would be especially hard, not knowing which settings will be affected if the said rule is removed.

To avoid this scenario and have a fully functioning line of work in place, it is advised to always document the rules. A proper log maintained by the administrators can help keep the firewall easy to operate. It can also make it easier to assess whether a certain rule is still needed if the log states the purpose it was written and also the users being affected by it.

Review and Re-Review the Rules

An average firewall has thousands of rules in place, out of which, many are not even required anymore. These unused rules harbor an opening for a potential cyber-attack.

It is advised to use firewall management tools to review open connections that haven’t been used for a while and close the ones that do not serve a purpose anymore. Removing the unused rules can optimize the performance of the firewall and improve the organization’s security front.

Solve the Conflicts

Regularly reviewing the working set of rules, security officers may find rules that contradict each other, or rules that all serve the same purpose. Removing overlapping rules by combining them into one can increase efficiency. 

There are tools that can be used to tackle contradictory rules to avoid dysfunction. The device works on the first match basis that executes the first rule in the log that meets the criteria of the traffic. Elimination of un-necessary rules can speed up your network.


Firewall management is a tricky job that can turn one minor error into a major security breech. One needs to be careful when dealing with firewall settings and rules because a simple change affects a lot of network connections and users working through them. 

Manage your rule log and make sure that the order of the rules is organized to not let the unnecessary traffic in. Always apply general rules last and the specific rules at the top to ensure optimal performance. Keep your rules well documented and always communicate with the moderators, users, and administrators when implementing a change.

Keep your firewall settings updated automatically to avoid human errors and keep a firm check of all the rules in place to ensure the removal of the ones not necessary. 


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