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2/27/2009
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Secure Passage Survey: Firewall Management A Big Challenge

Poor firewall management practices lead to security gaps, compliance violations, substandard firewall performance, and premature device purchases

Overland Park, KS — Feb. 24, 2009 — Secure Passage, the leading provider of security analysis and compliance solutions for firewalls, routers and switches, today released the results from a survey of 253 IT network, firewall and security executives from Fortune 1000 companies in financial services, government, business services, and other industries. The survey revealed that poor firewall management practices lead to security gaps, compliance violations, substandard firewall performance, and premature device purchases. The survey also revealed that although organizations are experiencing more compliance and security challenges due to increasing firewall policy complexity, few know about solutions or have access to resources that can address these challenges.

"These results are shocking but not necessarily surprising," said Secure Passage CTO and Founder Jody Brazil. "Gartner reports have pointed out that firewall policy mismanagement leads to security problems, specifically breaches. This survey validates what Secure Passage has been seeing for years. It's alarming that there is so little understanding of the problem within the industry and that many organizations unnecessarily allocate massive amounts of resources to the problem. It is particularly disturbing when there are products on the market that can easily solve this problem."

Top 10 Shockers Revealed by Respondents: 1. 73 percent think firewall rule bases are too complex or out of control 2. 59 percent feel that a lack of management tools makes policy management difficult 3. 70 percent believe that unused rules make firewalls difficult to manage 4. 65 percent responded that unused rules lead to potential security gaps 5. 43 percent stated that unused firewall policy rules negatively impacted performance and led to the premature purchase of new firewalls 6. Only 35 percent perform audits continuously or once a quarter, although 77 percent think audits should be done that often 7. 75 percent perform manual audits using their own staff 8. 71 percent cited limited staff resources as the number one reason why more analysis is not performed 9. 65 percent stated that the process was too labor-intensive 10. 60 percent responded that allocating resources or budget to this problem area was not a management priority

Although survey respondents acknowledged that firewall policies are overly complex and that their IT teams need help dealing with this issue, too few organizations understand the full impact of the problem. Forced to do more with even less in 2009, enterprises will look for a way to better understand the state of security for their firewalls, routers and switches. Enterprises clearly need total visibility into the security posture of all firewall and network device policies, to enable them to easily and quickly monitor and analyze configuration changes and send out alerts when an event renders a device non-compliant. Furthermore, to drive critical decisions, they need detailed and accurate reports, understandable by both executives and technical teams, that reflect the unique situations of each organization.

"Organizations are finding that it's nearly impossible to manage their firewall policies in an environment that promises to become even more complex over time," said Rob Bykowski, COO, Secure Passage. "Products exist today that enable organizations of all sizes to do more with less by automating resource-intensive policy management processes to meet both internal audit and regulatory compliance requirements."

For more information

To request a copy of this survey report, simply send an email request to info@securepassage.com.

About Secure Passage

Secure Passage is the leading provider of security analysis and compliance solutions that simplify and automate the analysis of configuration and change management processes to enhance security, optimize performance, and speed compliance reporting. The company's flagship product, FireMon', analyzes changes and performs audits in real time; simplifies policy management; and enforces configuration governance across firewalls, switches, routers and other network devices. FireMon is the only solution on the market that can be customized to meet the unique audit and compliance reporting requirements for networks of all sizes while enabling IT organizations to do more with less effort. Enterprise-strength deployments of FireMon around the world support more than 25,000 security devices from vendors such as Cisco, Juniper, Check Point, and McAfee. For more information, visit www.securepassage.com.

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