6 Best Practices for Secure Network Firewall Configuration

An effective network firewall is one of the most vital security tools you can have. Administrators may find it challenging to configure network firewalls because they need to strike a balance between security and performance.

In addition to protecting your network against external threats, your firewall configuration must also prevent malware from exfiltrating sensitive data from your network. The network must also be protected from any potential threats in the future.

Read on to discover the six best practices for secure network firewall configuration.

1. Block traffic by default and monitor user access

The best firewall configuration practices can’t guarantee security from malicious actors, even when IT teams follow them closely. The solution to this problem is to set the firewall to block traffic by default. Unknown traffic being blocked from accessing the network makes it more difficult for unethical hackers to penetrate it.

2.  Follow the principle of least privilege

An organization’s network may need to be accessible to some people for legitimate reasons. Cybersecurity teams do not need to give unlimited access to authorized users, but organisations can configure their network firewall security accordingly. Users should have access only to the files and tools they need to do their jobs.

The least privilege principle will ensure that all types of firewalls can provide better network security. Third-party vendors, for example, require access to information about the products they purchased and where to send them. The vendor does not need any sensitive data, such as customer payment records.

3. Establish a firewall configuration change plan

There are many reasons why you need to update the firewall on your network from time to time. Updates are necessary to ensure a robust firewall can withstand new threats. Unplanned configuration changes can create security loopholes in your network. For the change management process to run smoothly and securely, it is vital to have a plan.

4. Update your firewall software regularly

Ensure that your firewall software is updated regularly. It is common for firewall vendors to release software updates on a regular basis. In these updates, minor changes are made to the software to address any potential security threats. To keep your network secure, ensure your firewall software is constantly updated and that there are no loopholes in your system that could compromise it.

5. Open the firewall ports that users expect

Organisations need to detect which ports users might expect to find open when they try to access networks. A few factors influence what ports the IT team opens, such as the type of servers and databases used by the company and the services and data users access.

6. Conduct regular firewall security audits

A security audit ensures that the firewall rules comply with the organisation’s and external security regulations. Unauthorized firewall configuration changes can cause non-compliance. To ensure no unauthorized changes have been made, administrators and IT security staff should conduct regular security audits.

In addition, this will keep you informed of any changes made to the firewall and alert you to any potential risks associated with these changes. A security audit is essential when a new firewall is installed, a firewall migration occurs, or when firewall configuration changes are made in bulk.


Learning the best practices for secure network firewall configuration is an important step in ensuring network security. If you’re interested in taking a step further in learning more about firewall practices and policies, you may consider enrolling in BridgingMinds’ upcoming FortiGate Infrastructure & Security courses in December 2022 and enjoy up to 60% off course fees.

The course dates are as follows:

NSE 4: FortiGate Infrastructure: 19 – 20 December 2022

NSE 4: FortiGate Security: 21 – 23 December 2002

At BridgingMinds, we offer a variety of courses ranging from funded PMP training to cybersecurity. We also provide ITIL 4 foundation training online in Singapore. Contact us today to get started!