FireMon has published a report entitled Quantifying the Value of Firewall Management, conducted by research firm Aberdeen Group. The report illustrates the increasingly complex problem of firewall sprawl and quantifies the median savings after implementing a firewall management solution of more than three million dollars for a typical mid-size organisation. For the typical Fortune 500 company, the savings could be tens of millions of dollars.
“The surprising complexity of enterprise network firewall infrastructure means that manual management of policies, rules and configurations is time-consuming and error-prone, adding operational cost and increased security-related risks,” said the report’s author Derek Brink, vice president and research fellow at Aberdeen Group. “Analysis shows that compared to the status quo, the implementation of a firewall management solution corresponds to a median reduction in risk of about 3.6 times and a median annual return on investment of more than 200 times.”
Aberdeen’s Monte Carlo model quantifies the total annualised business impact by first accounting for the status quo – an estimate based on three high level factors: the operational cost of managing firewalls, the risk of network slowdown or downtime, and the risk of data breaches as a result of ineffectively managed firewalls.
Under this status quo, the total annualised business impact of managing firewalls for a mid-size network infrastructure in the private sector is estimated to be between 1.4% and 8.9% of the annual business revenue, with a most likely value of 4.5%. After the implementation of a firewall management solution, this most likely value decreases to 1.3%, amounting to a savings of over 3% of a company’s annual revenue.
The report also highlights the benefits of having continuous, real-time visibility into network security policies, rules and configurations that can often be out of date, conflicting or redundant due to human error or unapplied patches or updates. Making informed decisions based on business-aware contextual information is the cornerstone to taking back control of firewall sprawl.
“There are very few constants in life, but, in the enterprise, two of them are the proliferation of firewalls, often from multiple vendors, in network security infrastructure and the requirement to reduce expenses at every opportunity,” said Michael Callahan, CMO of FireMon. “When companies recognise the value in intelligent security management solutions to help ease the complexity and burden of managing their firewalls – and the rules, policies and configurations that go with them - it helps not only to decrease the risk of data breaches and associated fines, but can also save the organisation money in the process. It’s a win-win.”