Deploying Application Firewall in Defense in Depth Principle

Topics: Cisco products, Cisco PIX, Computer network security Pages: 7 (1701 words) Published: May 20, 2013
Deploying Application Firewall in Defense in Depth Principle


Information security should be a priority for businesses, especially when they are increasingly involved in electronic commerce. With the understanding that securing an operating system successfully requires taking a systematic and comprehensive approach, security practitioners have recommended a layered approach called defense-in-depth.

The cost and complexity of deploying multiple security technologies has prevented many organizations from achieving their information security goal. In view of these constraints and in compliance with recent with recent corporate and industry regulations like Sarbanes-Oxley Act and Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, businesses now deploy application firewalls as security measures. Based on the foregoing, the author has recommended the use of application firewalls as a single platform for achieving layered security through network protection, application protection and data protection.

This paper commences by examining the defense in depth theory and the types of application firewall and the author concludes by citing the Institute for Computing Applications (IAC) of the Italian National Research Council (CNR) as an example of an organization which engaged application firewalls in resolving its network security problem.

Research Analysis/ Body

The development of Information security is of paramount importance to organizations that have online presence. The primary goals of information security are confidentiality, integrity and availability. In order to achieve these goals, organizations need to adopt a multi-layered security defense strategy named defense in depth. A defense-in-depth approach to security suggests an organization shouldn't rely on a single device to protect its system as the source of attack is growing every day.

Types of Application Firewalls

The best approach to deploy defense-in-depth strategies for protecting information asset is to start at the network perimeter and move from there to the operating system and applications and the data which is the final layer. In an effort to comply with recent corporate and industry regulations like Sarbanes-Oxley Act and Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, businesses now deploy application firewalls as security measures. The different types of application firewalls are examined below:

Unified Threat Management (UTM)

According to Sunday Business Post (2012), Gartner defined UTM solutions as "multifunction network security products used by small or mid-size businesses with a market value of 1.01 billion EUR in 2011”.

Intrusion detection and prevention is the first layer in a defense- in- depth strategy as security technologies, including traditional firewalls, URL filtering, antivirus, spam filtering and intrusion detection and prevention are performed by multiple systems. These devices are designed to combat all levels of malicious activity on the network by preventing intrusion. They can be easily deployed at remote sites without the help of any security professional because its integrated all-in-one approach facilitates simplicity.

Cisco System, Inc. (2006) in its research found that firewalls provide security “by matching user policies in respect to network access rights to connection information before granting users’ access to network resources”. Because of challenges faced by organizations in identifying appropriate devices to deploy in accomplishing their security goals, Cisco recommended the following options listed in the table below as guidelines for Cisco firewall deployment. Table 1: Cisco Firewall Options and Deployment Considerations Network Location| Cisco Platform(s)| Decision Criteria|

WAN edge:
Corporate headquarters or branch office| Cisco ASA 5500 Series or Cisco PIX Security Appliance| Require plug-and-play capabilities (no changes needed to existing network) and very high...
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