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OpManager: Network & DC Monitoring

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OpManager - Network Monitoring & Management

01 opmanager firewall analyzer introIn the rapidly evolving landscape of cyber threats, network security has never been more crucial. With the frequency and sophistication of cyberattacks escalating, organizations are under constant pressure to safeguard their networks. According to Sophos' The State of Ransomware 2023 report, 66% of organizations were hit by ransomware in 2023, and this trend is only going to keep growing with time. Additionally, Top10VPN estimates that VPN-related vulnerabilities increased by 47% in 2023. These statistics highlight the urgent need for robust network security solutions.

Traditional Network Monitoring: A Growing Inadequacy

Historically, network monitoring solutions have focused on tracking performance metrics, bandwidth usage, and basic security alerts. While these tools have been effective to an extent, the current cyberthreat landscape demands more advanced capabilities. Traditional monitoring is often reactive, identifying issues after they occur, which is no longer sufficient. As cyberthreats become more complex, there's a clear need for proactive, comprehensive security measures.

Introducing ManageEngine Firewall Analyzer

To address these growing challenges, a network security management tool like ManageEngine Firewall Analyzer is indispensable. Firewall Analyzer is a powerful tool designed to enhance firewall management and bolster network security. It provides detailed insights into firewall activity, monitors traffic, detects anomalies, and ensures compliance with security policies. By integrating seamlessly with ManageEngine OpManager, Firewall Analyzer serves as a comprehensive security management solution.

How Firewall Analyzer Bolsters OpManager

Firewall Analyzer is available as both a standalone product and an add-on for OpManager. When combined, these tools offer a powerful synergy that significantly enhances network security. Here is how:

  • Comprehensive Traffic Analysis: Firewall Analyzer provides detailed visibility into your network traffic. It analyzes inbound and outbound traffic to detect unusual patterns, potential threats, and bandwidth usage. This detailed analysis is crucial for preventing security breaches and optimizing network performance.
Palo Alto Networks

Palo Alto Networks - Introduction to Software NFGW Flex CreditsDiscover the ins and outs of using Palo Alto Networks’ Software NGFW (Flex) credits to seamlessly renew your cloud-based or virtualized software NGFW devices! Dive into this exciting guide where we unravel the mysteries of software NGFW credits, show you how they're allocated to your deployment profile, and walk you through the renewal and verification process.

Learn to calculate your required NGFW credits with the online Credit Estimator and much more. Get ready to master your NGFW credits and keep your network security top-notch!

Key Topics:

Grasping the Basics of Software NGFW (Flex) Credits

Palo Alto Networks’ Cloud-based (Azure, AWS, GCP) and virtualized (ESXi, Hyper-V, KVM) deployments, aka software NGFW devices, are licensed using Software NGFW credits (Flex Credits). When deploying a software NGFW device, you are required to purchase the correct amount of NGFW credits to allow the deployment, licensing and operation of the device. The amount of NGFW credits required, depend on the specifications of your NGFW device which include:

  • Number and type (VM-Series or CN-Series) of firewalls deployed.
  • Number of vCPUs per firewall.
  • Subscriptions e.g Threat Prevention, URL Filtering, Wildfire etc.
  • Management Options e.g Panorama Management, Panorama Log Collector etc.
  • Support Options e.g Premium or Platinum support.

NGFW credits are subscription-based, meaning they expire 12 or 36 months after purchase (depending on your contract), regardless of how many credits you use.  For example, if you purchase 100 NGFW credits 12-month subscription and use 80 NGFW credits for your deployment, the remaining 20 NGFW credits will be available for consumption, but expire at the end of the contract.

It's crucial to purchase the right amount of NGFW credits to minimize any that go unused.

Estimating Your NGFW Credit Needs with the Credit Estimator

OpManager - Network Monitoring & Management

OpManager - intelligent notifcations automated fault handingNetwork alerts are vital for maintaining your network's health, efficiency, and security, ensuring seamless daily operations. They act as an early warning system, alerting you to potential issues before they escalate into major problems. These alerts provide crucial insights into the performance and security of your network, enabling proactive measures to address minor faults before they turn into significant disruptions.

Ignoring the importance of a reliable network & security alerting system can lead to frequent disruptions, degraded network performance, compromised business operations, and security vulnerabilities, driving customers away or creating major problems in the smooth operation of your organization. Frequent disruptions can cause downtime, affecting productivity and leading to financial losses. Compromised business operations can damage your company's reputation, making it difficult to maintain customer trust and loyalty. Security vulnerabilities pose a risk of data breaches, resulting in the loss of sensitive information and legal consequences potential.

By implementing a dedicated system to monitor, manage, alert, and, your company can run smoothly and securely. This system ensures that any irregularities are promptly identified and addressed, minimizing downtime and resolve faults maintaining operational efficiency. It also enhances security by detecting and mitigating potential threats before they cause harm.

Key Topics

Discover how OpManager can transform and fully automate your network monitoring.

The Significance of Network & Security Alerts

A robust alerting system empowers your IT team to manage the network more effectively, allowing them to focus on strategic initiatives rather than constantly troubleshooting issues. For customers, it means a reliable and uninterrupted service experience, which is essential for building trust and satisfaction. Ultimately, a seamless, hassle-free experience for both your team and customers translates to improved business performance and a stronger competitive edge in the market.

Opmanager alarm overviewOpManager's Robust Alerting System - Click to enlarge

Let's consider a practical scenario involving a social media platform:

  • Event 1: Users experience sluggish app loading and multiple page crashes.
  • Event 2: IT admins see a significant boost in incoming traffic but nothing alarming or unusual.
  • Event 3: Users begin to send in reports and complaints once they observe an outage.
  • Event 4: The organization finally decides to look into the issue and ends up finding an anonymous malware attack that has been extracting the data of the platform's users.
  • Event 5: The attack intensifies, causing a loss of customer trust, data loss, a bad reputation, and more.
  • Event 6: The issue gets addressed, and normalcy is restored. However, the damage to the platform's reputation, reputation management, and getting the system back up have cost the company millions of dollars.

This could have been averted if only a network alerting tool was in place to detect, analyze, and fix the issue before it had disruptive impacts.

Let's discuss the impacts in detail.

Cisco Firewalls

cisco firepower platform to appliance mode conversionThis article explains how to configure a Cisco Firepower 2100 series device to operate in Appliance mode. We’ll show you how to switch from Platform mode to Appliance mode and how the device will automatically convert and retain your ASA configuration.

Before performing the conversion, its important to obtain a full backup of the Firepower system and therefore also cover how to backup your Cisco Firepower appliance configuration, certificates, VPN configuration (including pre-shared keys), VPN profiles and more, using the  Cisco Adaptive Security Device Manager (ASDM)

Key Topics:

More in-depth technical articles can be found in our Cisco Firewall section.

Cisco Firepower Platform and Appliance Mode

The Cisco Firepower 2100 series operates on an underlying system called FXOS. You can run the Firepower 2100 for ASA in two modes:

  • Platform Mode: In this mode, you need to configure basic operating parameters and hardware interface settings within FXOS. This includes tasks like enabling interfaces, setting up EtherChannels, managing NTP, and handling image management. You can use either the chassis manager web interface or the FXOS CLI for these configurations. Afterward, you can set up your security policy in the ASA operating system using ASDM or the ASA CLI.
  • Appliance Mode (Default): This mode allows you to configure all settings directly in the ASA. Only advanced troubleshooting commands are available through the FXOS CLI in this mode. Appliance mode is similar to how the old ASA Firewalls (5500 series) ran when the FXOS didn’t exist.

The Management 1/1 interface is used to manage the Firepower device. The interface is configured with two IP addresses, one for the FXOS and one for the ASA. When changing to Appliance mode, the FXOS IP address is lost and will need to be reconfigured, however you can connect to the FXOS directly from the ASA software using the following command:

Your IP address:

44.192.94.177

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