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Firewall-Management


Abstract

Driven by the dynamics of global markets, information is growing to a more and more valuable production factor for knowledge-driven industries. In today's digital world, business processes' tremendous dependance on information (exchange) is inevitably linked to a dependance on an effective operation of IT systems. Those systems provide processes with almost all relevant business data.
Similar to a vault's door, the "virtual gates" between the Internet and a company's internal network must be adequately protected (e.g. against attackers). By now, Firewalls as "digital doormen" evolved to an effective but complex IT security standard instrument whose management and maintenance effort, however, is a challenge to many companies. Especially Firewalls with large rulesets are unable to satisfy the market-driven demands on flexibility, that usually leads to a high change frequency. Therefore, an efficient Firewall management is indispensable.
The present research thesis is based upon its author's Firewall study: "Firewall Management Optimisation in Banks" [link (only german)] and initially examines the state-of-the-art in Firewall management. Here, the focus is on the Firewall change process which is essential to a company's flexibility. Subsequently, this process will be measured and evaluated by capable key figures and will finally turn out to be highly inefficient (particularly concerning long runtimes of firewall changes) in many of the respondents' compa-
nies.
By applying different optimisation steps - primarily by automation of process elements - we will see how the room for improvement can be exploited in order to generate a far more efficient process than what is used today in practice.


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