Elevating Your Cyber Hygiene With NP-View: Mastering Firewall Rule Auditing

March 14, 2024


In the rapidly evolving cybersecurity threat landscape, robust cyber hygiene is paramount to defending critical OT network infrastructure from threats. An essential pillar of cyber hygiene is the thorough auditing of firewall rules. This complex task, prone to human error, is critical to ensuring proper network defenses are in place for both internal and external communications. This blog post is the third in a series on cyber hygiene best practices supporting a path to cyber resilience, and explores how NP-View streamlines firewall rule auditing as an essential practice.



A Brief Overview of the NP-View Platform

NP-View is a network modeling platform that provides several key features that help an organization take a proactive approach to cybersecurity and compliance in a passive, offline manner requiring no agents or modification to the network hardware or configuration. The NP-View platform will first parse and process network equipment configuration files that were manually or systematically imported. The platform will then automatically build a comprehensive diagram of the network environment as a simulation model. This provides full visibility of the network and its assets allowing for critical path analysis to ensure access permissions are configured as intended and to understand what lateral movements are possible.



Why is Firewall Rule Auditing Important?

Firewall rules are the network’s gatekeepers, permitting or denying traffic based on predefined security criteria. However, as rules accumulate, they can become obsolete, overly permissive, or conflicting, thereby compromising network security. Regular auditing ensures these rules align with current security policies and compliance requirements, a foundational aspect of cyber hygiene.



Comprehensive Ruleset Verification and Justification Documentation

The NP-View platform provides features designed to overcome the complexities of firewall rule auditing by highlighting configuration issues to reinforce security best practices and support compliance justification documentation requirements. With its unified table view, color highlights, and risk annotations, NP-View provides a detailed overview of firewall rules, facilitating their verification and justification against security compliance standards. This ensures all rules are necessary, appropriate, and compliant, bolstering cyber hygiene.



Analyzing Firewall Rules and Network Traffic Access Paths

NP-View excels in analyzing the firewall rules and resulting network traffic access paths, mapping out how traffic can traverse the network via stepping-stone analysis, and identifying the firewall rules that permit or deny access to specific networks or assets. This capability allows for a granular understanding of network defenses and the identification of potential configuration vulnerabilities and/or inefficiencies in traffic flow and rule configuration.



Efficient Reporting for Compliance and Minimization of Human Error

The NP-View platform generates comprehensive reports on network access rules and object groups, complete with documented justifications. This streamlines the compliance process, ensuring that organizations can easily demonstrate their adherence to relevant security standards. The platform’s dynamic drill-down functionality enables quick navigation to the exact source location in configuration files, highlighting overly permissive rules. This efficiency reduces the time and effort needed for rule review and helps mitigate the potential cybersecurity impact of human error.




Incorporating NP-View into your OT cybersecurity program provides a lightweight and efficient solution to ensure you have updated network topology maps that visualize access and segmentation policies and continuously verify firewall access rules are configured as intended with minimized risk. These are critical steps to ensuring proper protections are in place to defend against the escalating threat landscape.

We invite you to explore further insights into cyber hygiene in the previous blog posts in this series, blog 1, blog 2, and our whitepaper, for a comprehensive understanding of NP-View’s proactive role in your comprehensive OT cybersecurity program.