Remote Workforce

7 Critical Considerations for Firewall Performance in the Era of Secure Remote Work

All organizations in today’s world must adapt to changing business conditions to ensure a secure remote workforce. Traditional firewalls cannot scale across multiple applications required for secure telework, placing the burden on IT teams to upgrade existing firewalls. Upgrading outdated integrated firewalls and virtual private networks (VPN) solutions become critical requirements to ensure a secure remote workforce.

Organizations are investing in Next-generation Firewalls (NGFW) to provide performance and advanced capabilities required to scale to meet future demands of distributed teams. 

Below are seven key considerations to guide your NGFW evaluation. 

Download the report here.

1. IPsec VPN performance

Teleworking employees have access to sensitive company data. Protecting this against compromises requires the ability to ensure that remote employee connections to the company network are secure.

To ensure your network is secure, you need to validate that your NGFW can sustain the user connections and encrypted traffic load independent of the location of the users.

2. Threat protection performance

How well does your NGFW perform when running full threat protection? To sustain performance with complete threat protection, you need to insist on real numbers and a close reading of documented performance claims from your vendor.

3. SSL inspection capacity

A majority of enterprise network traffic is now encrypted, and bad actors are continuing to take advantage. Ensure that your NGFW SSL decryption and inspection can offset these security risks and provide predictable performance with minimal degradation in speed.

4. Price vs. performance

Many NGFW vendors increase the size of their firewalls to boost performance and increase the cost. With big leaps in disruptive firewall technology, ensure that your NGFW vendor combines price and performance with an eye to a smaller footprint

5. Credible third-party validation

No organization investing in NGFW should rely on a single vendor. Review third-party evaluations for detailed validation of various NGFW solutions.

6. Easy, single-pane-of-glass management

Security teams that have to toggle between multiple dashboards to assess vulnerabilities, respond to threats, and ensure system resiliency are not efficient. Rely on a vendor that can provide a seamless dashboard that aggregates information for efficient decision making.

7. Future-proofing

All organizations must embrace digital innovation and transformation to become more efficient and secure. Ensuring an NGFW that not only provides performance at agreeable cost and scale but can also anticipate future demands.




Tips for Managing Your Sprawling IT Infrastructure in 2020

IT Sprawl is a phenomenon that has risen significantly in small and mid-market businesses over the past several years. This growth can largely be attributed to two factors: rapid cloud services adoption and digital transformation initiatives. Across every industry, cloud services have spread like wildfire due to their ability to increase agility and cost-efficiency. Meanwhile, digital transformation projects have put technology in the middle of almost every business function. These combined factors have led to companies having to deal with some level of the hybrid technical environment.

It is well known that hybrid environments are great for small, growing businesses. Their “best of both worlds” approach to technology adoption allows IT to leverage cloud-based applications while keeping sensitive information on-premises. However, hybrid environments do come with their challenges as well. Over time applications and workflows are added by individual users or departments. This lack of centralization leads to IT teams having a sprawled environment that is difficult (if not impossible) to manage.

Struggling to keep up with the sprawl of hybrid technical infrastructures is nothing new to technology professionals. While the concerns are not new, figuring out how to effectively deal with these challenges is still a top priority for IT teams. According to the 2019 Solarwinds IT Trends Report, 48% of IT professionals plan to prioritize skill development of Hybrid IT Deployment Monitoring and Management within the next 3 to 5 years.

As your organization heads towards the final planning phases for 2020, now is the perfect time to consider if a sprawling IT infrastructure is hindering your business or IT Department. So, what can be done to help you get control over the sprawling technical infrastructure within your organization? Here are our tips:

6 Tips for Managing your Sprawling IT Infrastructure in 2020

Audit Your Environment More Often

The first step to getting your IT environment under control is to conduct a full audit of your systems and applications. Knowing what all is in your environment is the only way to understand how different IT components affect larger business processes. After all, how can you possibly fix a problem if you do not know it exists? Your audit should catalog every cloud service you are using, every server or VM, every network component, and every device. This process should lead to the creation of an inventory of all the technology used in your business and specifically what each component is used for. From this process you should be able to begin to understand:

  • Which services and components are redundant?
  • Which are not aligned with your business and technology strategy?
  • Which are outdated or no longer supported?
  • Which are lightly if ever used?

Prioritize Network Visibility Across the Sprawl

Maintaining network control in a modern, spread-out environment is significantly more complicated than on a local area network. One of the best ways to maintain a level of control over IT Sprawl is to have visibility throughout your entire network. Full network visibility will enable you to know what devices are on your network and what applications are being installed. We recommend partnering with a company, like Montra, who can integrate your various management platforms into a single, comprehensive solution that provides you with end-to-end visibility from a single platform.

Standardization leads to Better Hybrid Management

An easy way of minimizing the burden of sprawling IT management is to standardize the components within your environment. Use as few server, computer, router, VM, etc. types as possible. Once these various types have been decided, consolidate your IT environment to eliminate as many of the others as possible. This will lead to decreased maintenance as IT has fewer components to manage. In the long run, IT employees will achieve additional efficiencies as they become specialists in keeping only a specific number of types of IT components running at their best.

Establish Policies for Deploying New Cloud Applications

It is unlikely an employee will stroll into work with their own server. However, the same cannot be said for cloud and other web-based applications. All too often a cloud-based application enters a company’s environment at the request of a single employee. These services undergo little-to-no vetting and are often duplicated or redundant to applications already in use. An easy way to combat this is to enforce authorization procedures for the selection and implementation of new technologies. These procedures should align to the company’s larger strategic goals and make sure applications fit the “bigger picture.” When properly enforced, these procedures should reduce new or duplicate applications from entering the environment.

Consider Full Lifecycle Cost of New Products

It’s common for businesses to find cheaper technical solutions more appealing than slightly more expensive, yet more efficient, counterparts. However, cheaper solutions can come at their own cost. Choosing cheaper equipment can affect maintenance, power efficiency, and management costs which are not considered in the initial investment. Maintaining these various inefficiencies only gets more complicated as infrastructure grows. When expanding IT components on your network make sure you consider the full lifecycle cost of each product and not just the upfront cost.

Be Cautious of “Jack of all Trades” Hiring

You probably have great experts on your team. However, experts in managing servers may not be able to provide the best insight consolidating your cloud. Modern hybrid business infrastructures are composed of a wide range of technologies and systems. This makes it very difficult to find a generalist that can properly support a mid-sized IT infrastructure. Often times the best result comes from bringing in an outside team of experts. These team members can often better serve as your internal IT team by providing deeper expertise in particular IT specialties. Bringing in additional resources increases the level of specialization of each component within your network. Additionally, an outside team provides you with an “outsiders perspective” that is often helpful in determining the actual validity of a specific service or component even if it is associated with a specific, high-maintenance user.

If you are interested in learning more about managing your sprawling IT infrastructure, contact our experts today.