Firewalls have been the first line of network defense for nearly 20 years. Early firewalls were simple packet filters, using a small set of rules to determine whether certain traffic would be allowed in to the network. Over time, the exponential growth in the number and type of network-enabled applications, web-based services, communication tools and more has led to an overwhelming number and array of possible firewall rules and settings. Today’s firewalls now fill the role of traffic cop in intersections with hundreds of crossroads and thousands of traffic rules. A single erroneous rule in a firewall configuration could lead to devastating impact on the risk level of the organization. Security, regulatory compliance, and network availability and performance may all be impacted by firewall settings and dependencies between rules. According to a recent report by Forrester Research, as many as 80% of firewalls examined in a data breach investigation were misconfigured.

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