Small and medium sized companies are the most widespread size of companies in the world. It is estimated that around %99 of businesses are SMB and nearly half of the overall GDP of countries come from SMB business. There are several challenges SMBs are facing during their lifetime, but in this post we will be dealing with firewall policy management challenge they need to face.
When it comes to policy management or IT management activity for an SMB business, it is seen that most of these companies outsource this activity to a 3rd party. Hosting, server management, application management, network and security management are the services that is generally outsourced. Therefore, the first challenge for effective policy management comes from IT resource need. For a company to make effective policy management, they need to hire an employee having necessary skills. However, to make an effective use of financial resources they prefer working with MSSP companies that will be doing this activity on their own. This brings us to another challenge of 3rd party service management for firewall and policy management activities. Companies must be able to coordinate and audit outsourced IT services like firewall management since it is related to overall security maturity of the company and also there are several regulations that these companies must comply with. To be able to follow, evaluate or manage the service they are given there are several IT software applications that can be used. One that is related to policy management service is network security policy management applications. Therefore, either the company outsourcing this service or the MSP itself must own this kind of software. Indeed, it makes sense to make a contract having these software applications integrated to their services.
In the context of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), managing firewall policies poses unique challenges. Limited resources and expertise often hinder efficient firewall policy management. SMEs may lack dedicated cybersecurity personnel, leading to a struggle in keeping up with the ever-changing threat landscape. Additionally, with lean IT teams, the manual configuration, updating, and monitoring of firewall rules become burdensome tasks, leaving networks vulnerable to misconfigurations and potential breaches. Furthermore, SMEs might have rapid growth or dynamic network environments, making it challenging to maintain an accurate and up-to-date inventory of assets for policy enforcement. In this context, the need for user-friendly, cost-effective, and easily scalable firewall policy management solutions becomes increasingly evident, allowing SMEs to mitigate these challenges and establish a stronger cybersecurity posture.
For larger SMB companies the situation differs a bit. For larger businesses, inhouse IT resources are needed since the size of the company bigger or it is a web-based company or there are some regulations that necessitate keeping employees internal. In this case, although the company or IT is big the number of people working in IT may not be so high. There are super admins in this kind of teams managing both servers and applications or network, security, and client applications. To be able to talk about effective policy management there must be an automation in place in this kind of environment. This automation can deal with policy management activity and optimization of the firewalls, so the super admin can deal with just the reports generated by this system, not the whole life cycle of policy management.
In summary, SMB businesses are the most widespread companies in the world and effective policy management is a need for them as any other company. NSPM solutions must be in place either in as a service model or inhouse for both policy and change management needs of the company.