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How CISOs Can Achieve Peace of Mind and Effectively Manage Firewall Vulnerabilities

Managed services providers can help reduce IT security challenges and enhance protection, particularly in the context of firewall vulnerabilities.

In a world where cybersecurity vulnerabilities constantly make headlines, IT and security leaders can easily be overwhelmed trying to identify and properly remediate system vulnerabilities.

This is a major pain point, with 88% of chief information security officers reporting feeling “moderately or tremendously stressed.” Coupled with ongoing industry struggles of severe talent shortages and growing cybersecurity threats created by AI advancements, costs to businesses are rising rapidly. The average cost of a cybersecurity breach in 2023 is nearly $4.5 million, according to IBM.

To add to this, Gartner predicts that nearly half of cybersecurity leaders will change their jobs by 2025, and 25% will leave cybersecurity roles altogether due to work-related stress.

It’s clear that cybersecurity teams are in dire need. One strategy for improving the situation is to minimize the human hours spent on threat detection and shore up their defenses – especially firewalls.

However, there’s a silver lining to this gloomy cloud in the form of managed security services. Working with IT and cybersecurity teams, managed services providers (MSPs) can help both reduce the long list of IT security challenges that businesses lose sleep over and better protect their company from outside threats.

The Burden of Firewall Vulnerabilities

The vulnerabilities found in firewalls can create significant challenges for organizations, putting their data and network security at risk. Without protection, this can become a potential entry point for cybercriminals to infiltrate an organization’s network and cause damage.

Cloud services allow companies to be more agile. The drawback is these same services open multiple opportunities for threats. Even modestly sized companies can have hundreds to thousands of endpoints, all of which must be protected by a firewall and monitored by a dedicated team.

The volume of firewalls deployed across networks, the sophistication of modern threats, plus the daily challenges that IT and security teams face can make it nearly impossible for a busy team to successfully manage their company’s firewalls, including patching vulnerable hardware. Applying patches and updating can be a full-time job by itself, and teams can’t often test new versions, which can often lead to costly downtime.

Firewall management requires quick action. Even with zero-day security practices, staying one step ahead of cybercriminals is a tall task. Effective firewall monitoring requires real-time detection. Firewall management is also labor-, time-, and resource-intensive, and a complex network environment makes it more complicated. Once a team member applies one patch, several other gaps requiring attention may be revealed.

Misconfigured or unpatched firewalls pose a significant security risk and could incur major financial and reputational damage. Take the Practicefirst Medical Management Solutions breach that leaked the personal information of more than 1.2 million patients. In unfortunate scenarios such as this, installing the most up-to-date firewall solutions and running regular tests to detect vulnerabilities provides the best defense, which protects both data and dollars for businesses.

The Promise of Managed Firewall Services

When cybersecurity leaders entrust firewall management to an MSP, they can free their brilliant team members to focus on big-picture IT optimizations instead of tedious patching, testing, and maintenance. MSPs are well-versed in numerous firewall vendors, meaning leaders can be confident that their company’s defense is in knowledgeable hands. Whether an enterprise is seeking a new on-premises, data center, or cloud-based deployment, the engineering teams from MSPs have proven to be equally sharp and immediately take full control of the firewall maintenance and configurations.

As part of managing a firewall, an MSP ensures the proper version of the software is running, which helps provide the best defense against ever-evolving threats. An MSP can deliver the resources to perform regular audits to proactively identify and resolve misconfigurations to maintain a robust and secure network infrastructure. Additionally, services are available such as managed detection and response to monitor firewall data and respond to any threat as soon as one appears.

MSPs are strong IT consultants providing many decades of experience to their customers. They provide various firewall deployment models to fit an organization’s network and cloud configurations alongside its business objectives. A good MSP can also deliver added features and functionalities to the organization that it didn’t realize it needed to best protect its environment.

Partners Provide Peace of Mind

CISOs have realized the value and added peace of mind from partnering with an MSP. In effect, MSPs become an extension of the security team. MSPs can often help streamline processes and reduce management complexities. In fact, an MSP with a robust customer portal offering can typically simplify the view of firewall analytics and management as well as other network services with a single-pane-of-glass visibility and control.

An overstretched and overstressed cybersecurity team can often fail to protect valuable company resources and customer data from devastating cyberattacks resulting in loss of reputation, downtime, and expensive remediation costs. A managed firewall service can take pressure off internal teams and give them time back to spend on value-added tasks. Additionally, leaders can focus on delivering core business objectives, knowing their network and data are protected by a comprehensive security solution within the ever-evolving threat landscape.

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