Matasano launches multi-firewall dashboard

Keeping firewall sprawl under control.

Security research and consulting firm Matasano has entered the security appliance game with a new product called Playbook, designed to take some of the pain out of managing large numbers of firewalls from different vendors.

Playbook, launched last week, is a VMware-based virtual appliance that acts as a command center for an organization's firewalls, collecting rulesets into a centralized revision control system and allowing administrators to push out new rules to hundreds of devices.

The process saves admins from having to log onto multiple devices, cutting down on the possibility of operator error, but also means that rulesets and rule changes can be searched from a single point of access.

Search can be carried out by service, IP address, network block and other parameters, Matasano said.

Matasano found that organizations were struggling not just with new threats, but also with maintaining and getting the most out of their existing infrastructure, including basic devices such as firewalls, according to research and development director Max Caceres.

He said existing management systems are normally designed to manage individual firewalls.

With Playbook, "network operators can review all recent rule changes affecting the London branch, document a recently provisioned firewall at corporate offices, and rollback to the last known version of rules for the North-East group after an update gone wrong with only a couple of clicks and without having to log into 50 different devices," Caceres said in a blog post.

The Linux-based system uses a wiki engine to document rulesets, protocols and network infrastructure, leaving an audit trail that documents the reasons for specific changes, Cacares said.

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