CIO Review >> Magazine >> December  2013 Government Technology Special issue

FireMon: Automate Security Device Management And Vulnerability Risk Analysis

By

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Joe Philip With the rise in advance technology trends, government agencies of all sizes need solutions to keep their digital infrastructure secure. One company which aims to keep federal data networks secure is FireMon. Founded in 2004, FireMon provides civilian, DoD and intelligence agencies with security management software that gives them deeper visibility and tighter control over their network security infrastructure. Headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas, FireMon’s proactive security management platform allows network administrators and security operations to continuously monitor and visually understand firewall policy behavior, and also provides appropriate access to different users, employees, and devices. FireMon has recently been approved for use in the Department of Homeland Security’s new Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation Program.

FireMon Security Manager Solution is composed of a core platform and 2 optional modules—Policy Planner and Risk Analyzer. The Security Manager Core platform is a robust, highly scalable foundation that provides real-time security monitoring and real-time auditing of compliance to help manage firewalls. It assesses firewall rules, plans and reports on any changes to firewall policy and thus increases visibility and reduces cost of making changes. The Policy Planner module on the other hand, is a web-based system which provides an efficient process for firewall change management, recommends rule changes, and allows for proactive audit compliance validation to greatly reduce common errors and streamline the efforts required to make firewall changes. Lastly, the Risk Analyzer module offers risk analysis reports for client networks which include— stop attack propagation, prioritizing vulnerabilities, and measuring risks to provide the right security. It identifies which assets have vulnerabilities that are actually accessible, and potentially exploitable, in the context of the clients compensating controls. It also recommends prioritized remediation to fix those representing the most risk first.

FireMon supports the widest array of leading security vendor devices, and more devices are being added as the technology for those becomes available. These devices include next gen firewalls, virtual firewalls, switches, routers, load balancers, and more. The software also monitors real time changes for firewall rules and makes sure these rules are in constant compliance with the rules put in place by the network administrator. “We help institute a paradigm shift to the way people automate security and compliance today,” says Tim Woods, Vice President of Customer Technical Services at FireMon.

Although FireMon is a leader in their field, they do have competitors. However, there are aspects of FireMon’s functionality that sets them apart from the rest. Many of the large agencies they serve have a large number of devices scaling to a magnitude of 5,000 to 10,000 devices to support on a single contract. Their extensible audit engine and full restful API has capabilities to build custom portals and hence they are very popular among many cloud providers. Additionally they can extend product capabilities through a very robust web interface called Insight that leverages FireMon’s intuitive query language to extend a personalized security metric dashboard throughout an organization. Lastly, and maybe most important, is their patented Risk Visualization technology which is making a mark in the Federal market place.

FireMon has many Fortune 500 companies as its clients which include IBM, HP and Dell. Apart from having a large customer base in Department of Defense (DOD) and intelligence community, FireMon has many customers in civilian agencies including— Environment Protection Agency(EPA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture(USDA). They also provide services to many in the banking industry such as Wells Fargo, Bank of America, MasterCard, New York Stock Exchange and Bank of Ireland.

With an employee count nearing 100 people, the company provides a global presence with resources all over the world, including the UK, France, Germany, Brazil, China, Singapore, the Philippines, and Australia. Looking ahead, FireMon continues to expand the device management and vulnerability risk analysis capabilities of its solutions so agencies can further automate security processes and increase overall effectiveness.