A NEW SET OF NETWORK SECURITY CHALLENGES

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1 TECH DOSSIER NEXT GENERATION FIREWALLS A NEW SET OF NETWORK SECURITY CHALLENGES A new IDG survey reveals optimism about the ability of nextgeneration firewalls to help IT balance productivity and security ALSO INSIDE +WHY PROTECTION & PERFORMANCE MATTER +

2 2 With two issues becoming increasingly crucial, IT faces conflicting mandates from the business. On one hand, employees demand access from devices beyond the firewall smartphones, tablets, home PCs and laptops. On the other hand, risk management dictates corporate data must remain protected. The overarching challenge: balance productivity and security. Within that mandate, however, lie several other challenges, according to a new survey conducted by IDG Research Services on behalf of Dell. The survey was conducted in October of 2012 and reflects the insight of more than 250 IT professionals at companies with more than 500 employees. It reveals the depth with which network administrators must juggle these competing factors. The issues facing IT go beyond security to encompass network bandwidth as well. Just as technology has caused these problems, technology may also be the solution. A new generation of firewall technology, designed with current security and networking issues in mind, promises to give IT a way to solve its multisided puzzle. EMPLOYEES AT WORK, AND PLAY IT is stuck in an untenable position between the company and its employees. Companies love to have employees stretch their hours by signing into corporate systems from home; employees are used to the idea of time-shifting. The survey results show the upshot. For instance, 52 percent of IT professionals report that employees tend to frequently or very frequently perform tasks unrelated to their work on the Internet or in other applications. Almost 40 percent report that the creation and management of customized access or use policies is difficult, and one-third believe that users working on personal devices are exposed to increased security threats. The latter problem stems from the frequent inability of IT to monitor what happens on a user s home device. In many cases, IT can install an agent on specific home machines to ensure adequate security software is

3 3 installed, as well as VPN software that allows users to connect securely. But just because traffic comes through a VPN doesn t mean it s safe. It can be transmitted securely but still be malware. Survey respondents aren t antediluvian about how they allow users to access corporate data. More than half of those who indicate the amount of work employees do on personally owned devices is on the rise also believe this is a positive trend. The company benefits from 24-hour employee access to , but there still must be some security policies in place such as the ability to erase corporate data from a personal device if it s lost or stolen. Security of personal devices is not the only issue. Given that employees frequently must log on from remote locations, two-thirds of IT professionals view as highly important their ability to provide adequate bandwidth to ensure employees stay productive, no matter where they are. Respondents also tend to view their organization s security technologies and policies as necessary and as enabling rather than stifling for productivity. More often than not, respondents tend to believe their organization s security technologies and policies are a tactical necessity or a strategic enabler. More than 80 percent think such policies positively contribute to productivity. And it s not just employees getting more work done it s also their ability to avoid system downtime after they unintentionally access malware, whether on an unauthorized Web site or through . The question of what constitutes an unauthorized Web site adds to IT s conundrum regarding security, bandwidth and productivity. Are employees accessing YouTube to watch cat videos, or to download educational videos that relate to improving their skills? Are they visiting LinkedIn to catch up on old friends, or to identify the next crucial addition to their team? Are they visiting Facebook to play games or to discover what s being said on social media about the company s products? As a result, many respondents report they are not regulating the use of Web sites that may or may not be work-related and focusing their resources elsewhere. Given that most firewalls only offer a binary on/off method of allowing Web site access, this seems logical. There may, of course, be unseen security implications. Many Facebook users have been exposed to malware; it s not that Facebook itself is to blame, but its advertising may have been compromised. In the light of IT s inability to control access, and occasional orders to favor productivity over security, IT may feel it has no choice. A NEW TOOL IN THE ARSENAL: NEXT-GENERATION FIREWALLS The fact is, though, that IT does have a choice. Firewall technology has advanced sufficiently that the issues IT faces can now be addressed by next-generation firewalls (NGFs). These devices are designed to filter network and Internet traffic based upon the applications or traffic types using specific ports. They help IT detect application-specific attacks, giving network and security administrators the potential to catch more malicious activity than traditional firewalls. IT understands the limitations of traditional firewalls. When asked about their effectiveness in addressing 4000% data growth at the edge? Learn how SonicWALL saved U.S. Cellular operational costs while expanding services. these same security issues, 30 percent deemed them somewhat or extremely ineffective. For instance, even if an enterprise deployed Gigabit Ethernet, earlier generation firewalls could only deal with much slower speeds perhaps as low as 50 megabits per second. This slows down all the traffic on the network. Similarly, a traditional firewall doesn t have the ability to filter specific parts of applications. IT could block an application from accessing the firewall, but the application developers could just as easily route it to port 80, which handles basic Web traffic, or port 84, which handles Web browsing. NGFs allow IT to filter not just by IP address, or by port or protocol, but also by looking at layer 7 data actual application information. Consider this analogy to explain the difference between traditional and next-generation firewalls. A traditional firewall is like an airport baggage handler, who makes sure that a piece of luggage (representing data) gets on the correct plane to the correct destination. A next-

4 4 Learn how the industry leader in sales and lease-ownership market leveraged Dell SonicWALL to assure secure growth. generation firewall is like the airport security agent who opens the luggage, inspects its contents and makes a decision about whether it allows the contents to travel. The decision is even more granular, based on the ability of NGFs to filter content within Web sites and between destinations; it may allow HR employees and managers to visit LinkedIn, marketing to visit Facebook and technicians to visit YouTube, but not everyone. By instituting highly granular rules for applications, IT now has the ability to either prioritize or throttle traffic based on business need. It can also allow some functions within applications but not others; for instance, allowing an IM application like Yahoo Messenger, but not allowing attachments to messages. The result: employees that need certain applications still have access to them, but others are not unnecessarily degrading bandwidth and putting data at risk. NGFs also address the BYOD issue, through a capability known as SSL VPN concentrators. Simply put, these concentrators no longer require a VPN agent on a client device, but can instead accommodate VPN through a browser. This allows for broader support of mobile clients that use browsers, whether on smartphones, tablets or laptops, from any manufacturer. INCREASED AWARENESS, INCREASED DEPLOYMENT Based on the survey results, IT administrators are increasingly aware of next-generation firewalls; only 25 percent of respondents were unaware of their capabilities. When discussing the technology s features, respondents cite NGFs most important capabilities as intrusion prevention, antimalware/url filtering and basic firewall features. More than half of respondents indicate their organizations have either deployed, or plan to deploy an NGF in the next few years. Data from A NEXT-GENERATION FIREWALL IS LIKE THE AIRPORT SECURITY AGENT WHO OPENS THE LUGGAGE, INSPECTS ITS CONTENTS AND MAKES A DECISION ABOUT WHETHER IT ALLOWS THE CONTENTS TO TRAVEL. research firm Gartner confirms this: it estimates that less than 5 percent of Internet connections are secured by NGFs, but by 2014, the rate will jump to 40 percent. Even though survey respondents associate certain challenges with the deployment of next-generation firewalls specifically cost, increased complexity and lack of staff resources issues that face any new technology. In fact, NGFs reduce cost and complexity because they incorporate features such as VPN and intrusion protection currently handled by multiple devices or not at all. They also feature more robust reporting capabilities than traditional firewalls. It s easy for administrators to see which users are accessing which applications, rather than sifting through logs. The majority of those familiar with next-generation firewall capabilities consider the technology effective addressing a variety of security issues. Faced with multiple security scenarios, a majority of respondents cited NGFs as more effective than traditional firewall technology. Given respondents also believe remote work arrangements will only increase in the future, the importance of having the capabilities of NGFs only increases. The key to the value of NGFs is that they have the ability to increase productivity all around. It s not just the productivity of employees using mobile devices. It s also the ability of the network to handle more mission-critical activities without bandwidth constraint. And finally, NGFs aid the productivity of IT administrators, who can take advantage of an integrated device that outperforms traditional firewalls in mitigating risks associated with trends on the upswing. n

5 5 ADDITIONAL READING: WHY PROTECTION & PERFORMANCE MATTER By Daniel Ayoub, CISSP, CISA Next-Generation Firewalls combine multi-core architecture with real-time Deep Packet Inspection to fulfill the protection and performance demands of today s enterprise network Abstract Protection and performance go hand-in-hand for Next- Generation Firewalls (NGFWs). Organizations should not have to sacrifice throughput and productivity for security. Outdated firewalls pose a serious security risk to organizations since they fail to inspect data payload of network packets. Many vendors tout Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI) speeds only, but the real measure of security and performance is deep packet inspection throughput and effectiveness. To address this deficiency, many firewall vendors adopted the malware inspection approach used by traditional desktop anti-virus: buffer downloaded files, then inspect for malware. This method not only introduces significant latency and but also poses significant security risks since temporary memory storage can limit the maximum file size. Independent NSS Lab tests demonstrate that the Dell SonicWALL SuperMassive E10800 Next- Generation Firewall incorporating multi-core architecture and Reassembly-Free Deep Packet Inspection (RFDPI) overcome these limitations to provide enterprises with both extremely high-levels of protection and performance that they require. Defining Next-Generation Firewall In basic terms, a Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) leverages deep packet inspection (DPI) firewall technology by integrating intrusion prevention systems (IPS), and application intelligence and control. Industry definitions Gartner defines an NGFW as a wire-speed integrated network platform that performs deep inspection of traffic and blocking of attacks. 1 At minimum, Gartner states that an NGFW should provide: Non-disruptive in-line bump-in-the-wire configuration Standard first-generation firewall capabilities, e.g., networkaddress translation (NAT), stateful protocol inspection (SPI), virtual private networking (VPN), etc. Integrated signature based IPS engine Application awareness, full stack visibility and granular control Capability to incorporate information from outside the firewall, e.g., directory-based policy, blacklists, white lists, etc. Upgrade path to include future information feeds and security threats SSL decryption to enable identifying undesirable encrypted applications The evolution of Next-Generation Firewalls Earlier-generation firewalls First generation firewalls of the 1980s provided packet filtering based upon criteria such as port, protocol and MAC/IP address, and operated at layer 2 and 3 of the OSI model. Second generation firewalls of the 1990s incorporated stateful packet inspection (SPI), which verified that the state of inbound and outbound traffic based upon state tables, and operated at layers 2, 3 and 4 of the OSI model. Third-generation firewalls of the past decade have more processing power and broader capabilities, including deep packet inspection (DPI) of the entire packet payload, intrusion prevention, malware detection, gateway anti-virus, traffic analytics, application control, IPSec and SSL VPN. Unified Threat Management (UTM) represented the next trend in the evolution of the traditional firewall into a product that not only guards against intrusion, but also performs content filtering, data leakage protection, intrusion detection and anti-malware duties typically handled by multiple systems. Next-Generation Firewalls Web 2.0 applications (e.g., Salesforce.com, SharePoint, and Farmville) now run all over TCP port 80 as well as encrypted SSL (TCP port 443). Today s NGFWs inspect the payload of packets and match signatures for nefarious activities such as known vulnerabilities, exploit attacks, viruses and malware all on the fly. DPI also means that administrators can create very granular permit and deny rules for controlling specific applications and web sites (example: Yahoo instant messenger-chat is allowed but not file transfers). Since the contents of packets are inspected, exporting all sorts of statistical information is also possible, meaning administrators can now easily mine the traffic analytics to perform capacity planning, troubleshoot problems or monitor what individual employees are doing throughout the day. Today s firewalls operate at layers, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 of the OSI model. NGFW feature requirements The following are feature requirements for Next-Generation Firewalls: Legacy features An NGFW includes all standard capabilities found in a firstgeneration firewall; i.e., packet filtering, stateful packet inspection (SPI), network address translation (NAT), and high availability (HA). Integrated IPS Effective intrusion prevention systems require advanced capabilities to combat evasion techniques and enable scanning and inspection of inbound and outbound communications to identify malicious or suspicious communications and protocols. For effective threat protection as well as intrusion prevention, organizations need best-in-class firewall and intrusion prevention, without the complexity of managing separate appliances, GUI s, and deployments. NGFWs with IPS capabilities deliver enterprise class resistance to evasion, powerful context and content protection capabilities as well as comprehensive threat protection and application control in a single integrated device. Application intelligence and control Application awareness and control includes protocollevel enforcement, full-stack visibility with granular application control, and the ability to identify applications regardless of port, or protocol being utilized. 1 Defining the Next-Generation Firewall, Gartner RAS Core Research Note G , John Pescatore, Greg Young, 12 October 2009, R

6 6 ADDITIONAL READING: WHY PROTECTION & PERFORMANCE MATTER continued Extra-firewall input User-ID awareness enables administrators to enforce application policies based on AD user/group (without having to trace IP address to user ID), adding insight into usage and traffic. Adaptability Another important capability of NGFWs is the dynamic adaptation to changing threats. Dell SonicWALL constantly updates their devices with new signatures to stop threats and stay on top of the evolving malware landscape. Payload scanning and performance All of the above requirements demand full payload scanning at optimal throughput rates in order to avoid having to sacrifice security for performance. Performance In order to achieve the highest return on investment (ROI) for bandwidth services and optimize an organization s productivity level, while still ensuring maximum security, IT needs to make sure that traffic is thoroughly scanned with minimal latency for optimal throughput. To meet these requirements, multigigabit throughput rates have become standard for NGFWs. Dell SonicWALL NGFW solutions can improve performance significantly by applying patented Dell SonicWALL RFDPI2 technology to enable DPI without buffering and packet reassembly. From a hardware perspective, Dell SonicWALL NGFWs can also maximize throughput by incorporating parallel processing over advanced multi-core architecture. Why you need a Next-Generation Firewall The SPI generation of firewalls addressed security in a world where malware was not a major issue and web pages were just documents to be read. Ports, IP addresses, and protocols were the key factors to be managed. But as the Internet evolved, the ability to deliver dynamic content from the server and client browsers introduced a wealth of applications we now call Web 2.0. SPI does not inspect the data portion of the packet and hackers effectively exploit this fact. To address the new threats, SPI firewall vendors incorporated traditional malware protection and methods that were used on file servers and PCs. The technique was a band-aid fix to add malware protection on an SPI firewall, as it had two significant flaws: latency and complexity. The first flaw was the introduction of latency while the file is buffered with file size limitations. Firewall vendors have worked around this issue by sending keep-alive packets to prevent this, yet the overall effect is the introduction of latency. The use of memory to buffer files for inspection causes not only additional latency but also a space issue which is addressed by limiting the overall file size to a preset amount (generally 100MB). The use of the Internet is growing and sharing of larger files is increasing; hybrid SPI/malware detection technology does not scale. The second flaw was that traditional point solutions were difficult to deploy, manage and update, increasing operating complexity and overhead costs. Sophisticated malicious attacks penetrate traditional stateful packet inspection products. These solutions simply do not provide sufficient, timely and unified protection against increasingly complex threats. To overcome these flaws, Dell SonicWALL offers the most effective, highest-performance NGFW solutions available today. Recently, NSS Labs conducted independent testing of the Dell SonicWALL s Next-Generation Firewall at their labs facility in Austin, Texas. Dell SonicWALL s SuperMassive E10800 running SonicOS 6.0 is the highest overall protection Next-Generation Firewall to earn the NSS Labs Recommend rating. This proven SonicOS architecture is at the core of every Dell SonicWALL firewall. The results of those tests are explored further at the end of this paper. What the enterprise requires Organizations are suffering from application chaos. Network communications no longer rely simply on store-and-forward applications like , but have expanded to include real-time collaboration tools, Web 2.0 applications, instant messenger (IM) and peer-topeer applications, Voice over IP (VoIP), streaming media and teleconferencing, each presenting conduits for potential attack. Many organizations cannot differentiate applications in use on their networks or legitimate business purposes from those that are potentially wasteful or dangerous. Today, organizations need to deliver critical business solutions, while also contending with employee use of wasteful and often dangerous web-based applications. Critical applications need bandwidth prioritization while social media and gaming applications need to be throttled or completely blocked. Moreover, organizations can face fines, penalties and loss of business if they are in noncompliance with security mandates and regulations. Protection and performance In today s enterprise organizations, protection and performance go hand-in-hand. Organizations can no longer tolerate the reduced security provided by legacy SPI firewalls, nor can they tolerate the network bottlenecks associated with the some NGFWs. Any delays in firewall or network performance can degrade quality in latency-sensitive and collaborative applications, which in turn can negatively affect service levels and productivity. To make matters worse, some IT organizations even disable functionality in their network security solutions to avoid slowdowns in network performance. Scanning and controlling all content Organizations large and small, in both the public and private sector, face new threats from vulnerabilities in commonly-used applications. Malware lurks in social networks. Meanwhile, workers use business and home office computers for online blogging, socializing, messaging, videos, music, games, shopping and . Application intelligence and control Applications such as streaming video, peer-to-peer (P2P), and hosted or cloud-based applications expose organizations to potential infiltration, data leakage and downtime. In addition to introducing security threats, these applications drain bandwidth and productivity, and compete with mission-critical applications for precious bandwidth. Importantly, enterprises need tools to guarantee bandwidth for critical business relevant applications and need application intelligence and control to protect both inbound and outbound flows of traffic, while ensuring the velocity and security to provide a productive work environment. Read the full article

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