Commentary
11/19/2013
12:00 AM
Ethan Banks
Ethan Banks
Commentary

Firewall Administration For Sysadmins: A Primer

For sysadmins trying to get their applications to work, the firewall can seem like an impediment. With more insight into firewalls and the job of a firewall administrator, a sysadmin will be able to communicate better with the security team.



I've worked as a member of various IT teams over the years, with firewall administration usually part of my responsibilities. Conversations with other team members about the firewall infrastructure typically revolve around these questions:

• Did you change something on the firewall?

• Why is the firewall blocking my server?

• Can you just open everything up on the firewall for my box?

• Why is the firewall making my app slow?

• Is port X open?

Most of these questions are attempts on the part of system administrators to troubleshoot connectivity, functionality or performance problems with their applications. For sysadmins, working with firewall administrators can be frustrating if the sysadmins don't understand how a firewall works and what the security team's job involves. They don't understand why a firewall administrator pushes back on an ambiguous firewall change request; they just want their applications to work.

To help sysadmins understand how network folks responsible for firewall appliances work, I will provide insight into firewall technology and its administration, based on my experience as both a sysadmin and network engineer. Through this multipart series, my hope is to bridge the communication gap between sysadmins and firewall administrators, and to foster more intelligent and productive conversations between the teams.

In this first post, I will discuss firewall security policies and the role of firewalls in the enterprise. Let's start at the beginning.


Read the remainder of this post at Network Computing.

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