Firewall Management Solutions with the Best ROI

By Catherine Hensley
Updated: July 22, 2011

Managing Internet connectivity and software systems can be a time consuming and challenging task for both IT professionals and business owners. A firewall, though, is one computer safety tool that brings with it many advantages. With so many different firewall options available on the market, it’s important to select not only the most functional one(s) but also those that will bring your company the best return on its investment. This article will detail firewall management solutions offering the best return on investment (ROI).

Whether a singular device or a set of multiple devices working in tandem, a firewall blocks network transmissions to a group of computers based on pre-established rules determining access. Firewalls protect networks of computers by denying unauthorized access while also permitting acceptable communications to pass through amongst the computers. Many operating systems feature software-based firewalls to prevent against viruses or other attacks from the general Internet, and there are many routers that perform similar functions of transmitting data and functioning with firewall components.

To ensure for utmost security, performance, and network compliance, firewall systems require continual maintenance and management (http://www.skyboxsecurity.com/content/skybox-solutions-firewall-management). One way to guarantee a solid ROI for firewall management is to invest in automating the tasks. An automated firewall management system performs functions such as optimizing sets of rules for peak performance and analyzing data for auditing purposes. Companies like Skybox and Athena offer various programs that automate many firewall tasks.

Another option for a strong ROI on firewall management is a “cloud firewall” (http://cloudfirewalls.com/cf/products/why_the_edgexos.xrn). A cloud firewall typically provides Internet access at accelerated rates, multi-link bonding, and other cloud-based services while also performing basic firewall security functions. Cloud applications like inventory tracking, remote desktop, and VoIP email/phone service are covered securely and reliably by the additional functionality of a cloud firewall. Such a service delivers more bang for the buck, especially for companies with tight IT budgets.

Integrated firewall solutions, such as those offered by Cisco, provide customizable features based a network’s particular needs and demands (http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/vpndevc/ps5708/ps5710/ps1018/C78-345384-04_CiscoIntegratedFirewallSolutions.html). An option like this allows the user to only select the firewall system(s) that are needed most, ensuring that IT budgets do not swell. An integrated firewall solution is based on scalable platforms designed with varying features to protect different network environments.

Maintaining a fully functioning firewall management system at an optimal level can be a challenging job, but there are many options available to help lessen the burden both workload-wise and financially. To get the best ROI on a firewall management system, consider options such as automation, cloud firewall systems, and/or integrated platforms.
 

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