Hey remember the firewall survey we ran a few months ago? The results are in, and there are definitely some eye-openers in there. Let's look at some of the highlights.
- 80% of companies don't know what all of their firewall rules do.
- Over 55% of companies have had a security gap because of a misconfigured firewall rule.
- Half of the companies surveyed experienced downtime due to a misconfigured firewall rule.
- 1 in 4 companies are unsatisfied with the ease of use of their firewall, and 1 in 3 believe that the firewall usability has not kept up with their applications.
These results are indicative of an industry problem, which is that many firewalls have cumbersome and non-intuitive interfaces. When it is difficult to construct rules in the firewall it becomes difficult to keep track of how the rules are configured. Just like any other technology: when you add complexity to technology, you add opportunities for human mistakes.
This problem is compounded by the fact that many small and medium sized organizations are having difficulty finding a firewall that is the right size for them. Some SMBs have specific needs that require an enterprise level firewall. Many SMBs simply purchase consumer-grade firewalls to stay away from business-grade prices. This means thousands of organizations are operating with equipment designed for a different purpose. Admins are doing what they can to mold these devices to the contours of their networks.
This relates to the usability problem as well. Admins who deploy firewalls often take a “hands-off” approach once their firewalls are working. If it works don't fix it, and don't upgrade until it breaks. This makes for a lot of networks where the firewall is the oldest and least usable device in the network.
Ultimately the problem with usability comes down to how the industry treats firewalls. While other network applications have evolved and become more relevant, the firewall has continued in its original purpose as a lock on the network door. You can buy a fancy lock, a simple lock, a lock that's bundled with other types of locks, but at the end of the day, it's still just a lock. The traditional firewall has never evolved into anything more than that, and admins are starting to notice the differences between firewalls and everything else.
Barracuda has rejected that kind of approach. Instead of focusing on how we could make a better lock, we focused on our customers' changing needs. Business is fundamentally different today than it was when the first firewall rolled off the line. Companies don't need locks to keep people out. Companies need gatekeepers who can safely enable the new applications and tools in the workplace.
If you are looking for a powerful firewall with an elegant and intuitive interface, check out the Barracuda Firewall. And if you'd like more details on our survey results, take a look at our infographic.
Christine Barry is Senior Chief Blogger and Social Media Manager at Barracuda. In this role, she helps bring Barracuda stories to life and facilitate communication between the public and Barracuda internal teams. Prior to joining Barracuda, Christine was a field engineer and project manager for K12 and SMB clients for over 15 years. She holds several technology credentials, a Bachelor of Arts, and a Master of Business Administration. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan.