Tales from the Trenches: Vol 7 — You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Since 2004, RedSeal has helped our customers See and Secure their entire complex network. And while those customers may have understood the value of understanding their environment, how it was connected and see what’s at risk, there is often an “Aha” moment when the true significance is clear. The stories of these moments are lore within the walls of RedSeal. But these tales so clearly illustrate the value of RedSeal beyond just theory that we think they’re worth sharing. In the words of our team in the field, the ones working directly with our customers, this blog series will share the moments where it all gets real.

In this edition of the series, Bill Burge, RedSeal Professional Services places customer questions in full network context and reveals an even better solution with RedSeal.

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

While working with a large customer with multiple, interconnected, environments, their greatest fear was that infection in one environment might cross over one environment into the others.

They had purchased a managed service, which meant I was the primary RedSeal Admin. They approached me with a request and it was obvious they were having a possible “incident”. It was obvious they didn’t want to provide TOO many details, but I’ve spent enough time on both sides of these topics that I was pretty sure what I was up against.

Their request was simple to say, but that doesn’t mean it was simple to perform. “Can you give us a report of all the firewall rules that control this particular subnet?” For RedSeal, I can perform some queries that will do a pretty poor job of that when you factor in the multiple ways to cover a block of addresses in a firewall policy, groups, large masks, even the use of “any”. All these would have to be detected, expanded, broken out and apart, etc. It’s largely a fool’s errand.

So I politely declined. I gave a brief explanation of the dynamics and the fact that firewall policies would also have to be weighed against, and in conjunction with, router ACLs, and even routing. I always say “the firewall rules are only the verb in the sentence of access”. I offered an alternative: “Tell me the IP address that has been compromised, and I’ll tell you all the subnets it might have accessed, and all the vulnerabilities it might have exploited in the process.”

The customer’s response was: “You can do THAT? THAT’S even better! Let’s do it!”

I explained that calculating access is the foundation of RedSeal. As Mick Jagger says “you can’t always get what you want, but you just might find — you get what you need”.

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