One of the worst things that can happen to a convenience store manager is their cooler shutting down without their knowledge. Beer gets warm and food spoils, translating into hundreds of dollars lost.
But what's worse than a cooler shutting down? A firewall "shutdown."
Let's assume a third party comes in to implement an Internet-based system for monitoring cooler uptime. When the cooler monitoring system is being installed and tested, however, they hit a snag: The store's firewall settings are disrupting communications. A quick firewall rule modification fixes the problem and they move on.
A few months later, it is time for the store's annual QSA-led PCI compliance assessment. During the assessment, the QSA discovers that the store's network is wide open. Even worse, malicious activity is discovered and the assessment work has to stop immediately to make way for a forensic investigator.
Now that c-store is on the hook for thousands of dollars in fines and fees.
What happened? Although completely unintended, the quick-fix firewall update canceled out all of its segmentation rules. And for months, that firewall was running but not functioning as intended. It was effectively shut down.
Firewall management is an ongoing process that requires IT security expertise, because having a poorly implemented or improperly configured firewall is like not having a firewall at all. And, with businesses introducing new technology and processes over time, continued monitoring and management is critical.
If your organization doesn’t have an in-house employee with security-specific knowledge, managed firewall services will help prevent breaches in 3 key ways:
1. Change Management: Technology additions and updates are independently evaluated and firewall settings adjusted (as needed), in a way that minimizes the impact on your business's security posture, as well as its state of compliance.
2. Threat Management: Firewall rules are regularly reviewed and actively updated according to the latest cyber security threats. (Remember, firewalls are not "set and forget" appliances!)
3. Network Support: Dedicated, ongoing monitoring and management maximizes system processes and uptime while actively defending websites, applications, databases, servers, desktops and other endpoints.
A lack of in-house expertise is just the tip of the security iceberg; chances are you’ve faced many other challenges in your IT department. Maybe resources are tight and your security budget has taken a backseat, or maybe your team has wasted numerous hours trying to crack the code that is PCI compliance.
Sound familiar? Check out our free white paper, "5 Critical IT Challenges You Can Solve Today."
* This example is adapted from a real-world experience.