This post is part of a blog series where we dissect the ten things to test in your future next-generation firewall. These ten points will help ensure your next firewall matches the needs of your organization in its current and future states.
Security teams are increasingly using application programming interfaces, or APIs, to integrate security devices into their overall security ecosystems and streamline operations, which has the added benefit of reducing avoidable human errors.
Why Should You Advocate and Test This Capability?
Leveraging APIs allows for automation of security workflows that need multiple security devices, often from different vendors, to work together. This moves security teams away from the cumbersome, error-prone processes of operating these workflows manually and increases the speed of effective enforcement.
Move Beyond the Status Quo
Easily Cooperate with Various Data Center Technologies
Data center environments often use infrastructure elements from disparate vendors. APIs offer a mechanism for these elements to share data and kick off appropriate actions required in the workflow. As such, the API your security vendor uses must be able to integrate with a broad list of partners via documented and certified interoperability.
The multivendor integration should also extend beyond the data center to vendors of endpoint security, email gateways, wireless security and more.
Comprehensive Feature Support
The ways many security vendors use APIs have introduced challenges that often undo the APIs’ original promises of simplicity, such as lack of easy-to-follow documentation or comprehensive support for all security features via API. Many established security products fail to incorporate APIs natively. A firewall with natively integrated APIs would allow firewall administrators to view, access and change the entire feature set.
Single, Unified and Comprehensive Standards-Based API
Security products often employ multiple APIs from different standards to control various mechanisms; for example, one API for the firewall hardware, another for the software running on top of it, and a third for the GUI manager. Multiple APIs must be learned, implemented and maintained individually, amounting to a fragmented, counterintuitive approach to the operational simplicity they’re meant to offer. When built appropriately, APIs offer the benefit of zero-touch operations.
Recommended RFP Questions
- Can your firewall/manager create a ticket on a change management system based on a malicious event seen on the firewall?
- Can your firewall/manager trigger a quarantine action for an infected host on the wireless network?
- Can your firewall be completely programmed via API?
- Can your firewall collect User-ID information via APIs from wireless controllers about hosts connecting to wireless networks?