In this blog, we’ll look at seven reasons why you want to move beyond monitoring and consider automation to gain efficiency for your Palo Alto Networks NGFW operations. We will talk about how the Indeni automation platform can help you achieve operational excellence with a focus on doing more with less.
“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency.” – Bill Gates
#1 Maintaining five-nines Service Availability
Ensuring service availability is a primary goal for all IT Operations teams. How do you know your firewalls are working properly?
- Start with using established configurations
- Ensure best practices are being adhered to
- Deploy High Availability configurations
Indeni constantly evaluates configurations against organizations “gold standard configuration”. It continuously assesses devices for alignment with configuration recommendations from Best Practice Assessment (BPA) and seasoned security practitioners. With High Availability, it is important to have synchronized configurations. Indeni can identify accidental misconfigurations or even missing configurations (e.g. RADIUS, NTP, DNS, timezone, domain name, etc.) in a High Availability environment.
#2 Human error is the chief cause of downtime
A report by Uptime Institute revealed an overwhelming 63% of outages on average are caused by human error and not by a fault in the infrastructure design. Yet, enterprises still rely heavily on humans to perform critical IT tasks. This is where automation can help with the human factor. For example, you enabled debug for troubleshooting and have forgotten to disable it. Indeni can catch it to avoid the severe degradation of services. Or sometimes you may have inadvertently misconfigured a feature causing security risks. For example, if you have inadvertently disabled DNS sinkholing in one of your anti-spyware profiles, Indeni will notify you of such misconfiguration.
#3 Save time & work more efficiently
As a security engineer, you’re alway putting out fires. There is never enough time to work on strategic initiatives or learn new skills. This is where automation can make a difference to improve efficiency. What if you can automate time-consuming compliance audit tasks. What if you can effortlessly identify Common Vulnerabilities and Exposure (CVE) in your infrastructure. Or it can be as simple as data enrichment through automation. Indeni has over a hundred automation elements to identify security risks and compliance violations. Regardless of your regulatory compliance requirements, we likely have the security control validation in place to help you prepare for the audit. We also have many out-of-box integrations with SIEM, ITSM, AIOPs correlation tools, etc. all with time saving and efficiency in mind.
#4 Easily forgotten maintenance tasks
Maintaining availability requires ongoing maintenance. Tasks like device configuration backup are important to ensure your security infrastructure is safe from failure and disruption. You don’t want to forget this routine until a restore is actually needed. Indeni automates device configuration backup and notifies you if the backup is unsuccessful.
One of the most easily forgotten maintenance tasks is certificate renewal. Your firewalls use certificates for a variety of different purposes. Valid certificates are needed for inbound SSL inspection, user authentication, device authentication for GlobalProtect VPN, IPSec site-to-site VPN, external dynamic list validation, User-ID agent & TS agent access. Not having a valid certificate will likely impact services. Indeni provides warnings in advance if certificates are about to expire. This gives you ample time to take actions. Indeni also checks for valid licenses to ensure software license compliance whether this is for vendor support or access to threat intelligence. Automating these maintenance activities can truly help maintain the health and performance of your firewalls.
#5 Firewalls need dynamic content updates
To equip firewalls with the latest prevention and intelligence, firewalls frequently get updates from WildFire, the URL filtering cloud, etc. Timely updates are key to protecting your networks before the threat becomes widespread. Indeni constantly checks that packages are kept up to date by always keeping an active connection. We also ensure best practices are followed, for example, always making sure the action is set to “download-and-install”, frequency set to 1 minute for WildFire, etc.
Your firewalls are likely importing objects (IP addresses, URLs, domains) from an external web server to protect against malicious hosts. This list of objects is known as External Dynamic List. Indeni goes beyond just checking for reachability to the web server hosting the list, it also ensures that the list is not empty and that it has not reached the capacity.
#6 Skilled shortages
Enterprises typically have a limited number of employees with device expertise compared to the rising complexity in security infrastructure. Many are struggling to find skilled IT staff for their complex data centers. Indeni can help address the growing IT talent shortage with automation. Indeni has automated the world’s best practices and valuable lessons learned from industry experts. Many of our users gain specific knowledge from the descriptions and recommended remediations built from real-world experience. Automating repetitive IT tasks can be an effective solution to address the widening skills challenge.
#7 Improve Mean Time to Resolution
In reality, uncontrollable events make it impossible to guarantee 100% uptime. When you experience an outage, you want to quickly restore the service. When Indeni detects an issue, it will automatically apply device-specific domain knowledge to the problem. Performing analysis to detect the root cause, all without any human intervention. Applying domain knowledge is key to determining what relevant information needs to be collected while the problem is happening so an accurate diagnosis is possible. Automatically investigating a problem leads to detailed and prescriptive remediation steps to accelerate resolution.
Get started with automation today
In an increasingly automated world, enterprises are rethinking how security infrastructures are managed. Why not let Indeni bootstrap your infrastructure automation initiative. Automation makes a big impact on the overall efficiency of your IT operations. Try Indeni.