Cisco Secure Firewall Services Module (FWSM) (Networking Technology: Security Seriez)

Cisco Secure Firewall Services Module (FWSM) (Networking Technology: Security Seriez)

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by Arvind Durai, Ray Blair
     
 

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Cisco Secure Firewall Services Module (FWSM)

Best practices for securing networks with FWSM

Ray Blair, CCIE® No. 7050

Arvind Durai, CCIE No. 7016

The Firewall Services Module (FWSM) is a high-performance stateful-inspection firewall that integrates into the Cisco® 6500 switch and 7600 router chassis. The FWSM monitors traffic flows

Overview

Cisco Secure Firewall Services Module (FWSM)

Best practices for securing networks with FWSM

Ray Blair, CCIE® No. 7050

Arvind Durai, CCIE No. 7016

The Firewall Services Module (FWSM) is a high-performance stateful-inspection firewall that integrates into the Cisco® 6500 switch and 7600 router chassis. The FWSM monitors traffic flows using application inspection engines to provide a strong level of network security. The FWSM defines the security parameter and enables the enforcement of security policies through authentication, access control lists, and protocol inspection. The FWSM is a key component to anyone deploying network security.

Cisco Secure Firewall Services Module (FWSM) covers all aspects of the FWSM. The book provides a detailed look at how the FWSM processes information, as well as installation advice, configuration details, recommendations for network integration, and reviews of operation and management. This book provides you with a single source that comprehensively answers how and why the FWSM functions as it does. This information enables you to successfully deploy the FWSM and gain the greatest functional benefit from your deployment. Practical examples throughout show you how other customers have successfully deployed the FWSM.

By reading this book, you will learn how the FWSM functions, the differences between the FWSM and the ASA Security Appliance, how to implement and maintain the FWSM, the latest features of the FWSM, and how to configure common installations.

Ray Blair, CCIE® No. 7050, is a consulting systems architect who has been with Cisco for more than 8 years, working primarily on security and large network designs. He has 20 years of experience in designing, implementing, and maintaining networks that have included nearly all networking technologies. Mr. Blair maintains three CCIE certifications in Routing and Switching, Security, and Service Provider. He is also a CNE and a CISSP.

Arvind Durai, CCIE No. 7016, is an advanced services technical leader for Cisco. His primary responsibility has been in supporting major Cisco customers in the enterprise sector. One of his focuses has been on security, and he has authored several white papers and design guides in various technologies. Mr. Durai maintains two CCIE certifications, in Routing and Switching and Security.

  • Understand modes of operation, security levels, and contexts for the FWSM
  • Configure routing protocols and the host-chassis to support the FWSM
  • Deploy ACLs and Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting (AAA)
  • Apply class and policy maps
  • Configure multiple FWSMs for failover support
  • Configure application and protocol inspection
  • Filter traffic using filter servers, ActiveX, and Java filtering functions
  • Learn how IP multicast and the FWSM interact
  • Increase performance with firewall load balancing
  • Configure IPv6 and asymmetric routing
  • Mitigate network attacks using shunning, anti-spoofing, connection limits, and timeouts
  • Examine network design, management, and troubleshooting best practices

This security book is part of the Cisco Press® Networking Technology series. Security titles from Cisco Press help networking professionals secure critical data and resources, prevent and mitigate network attacks, and build end-to-end self-defending networks.

Category: Networking: Security

Covers: Firewall security

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781587053535
Publisher:
Cisco Press
Publication date:
09/08/2008
Series:
Networking Technology: Security Series
Pages:
506
Product dimensions:
7.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

Ray Blair is a consulting systems architect and has been with Cisco Systems for more than eight years, working primarily on security and large network designs. He has 20 years of experience with designing, implementing, and maintaining networks that have included nearly all networking technologies. His first four years in the high-technology industry started with designing industrial computer systems for process monitoring. Mr. Blair maintains three Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) certifications in Routing and Switching, Security, and Service Provider. He also is a Certified Novell Engineer (CNE) and a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).

Arvind Durai is an advanced services technical leader for Cisco Systems. His primary responsibility has been in supporting major Cisco customers in the Enterprise sector, some of which includes Financial, Manufacturing, E-commerce, State Government, and Health Care sectors. One of his focuses has been on security, and he has authored several white papers and design guides in various technologies. Mr. Durai maintains two Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) certifications in Routing and Switching and Security. Mr. Durai holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electronics and Communication, a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering (MS), and Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA).

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Cisco Secure Firewall Services Module (FWSM) (Networking Technology: Security Seriez) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Timpala More than 1 year ago
The authors note that this book is written for the user that has to have an in-depth understanding of their new FWSM and its operation. I absolutely agree that the book is rich in detail and delves deeply into the underpinnings of the new FWSM. If you have a background in PIX or the new ASA you will be right at home learning the nuances of the chassis mount evolution of the product line.

As both authors are CCIE holders they are fully qualified to discuss and contrast the various best practices of firewall and network design as well as the unlimited implementation possibilities of the FWSM. They are kind enough to begin at the beginning and explain the various kinds of firewalls available to the modern day security engineer/designer and how the FWSM fits in with its own unique capabilities.

Everything you would expect to be covered in a cisco press title is of course present and well laid out. But Wait, There¿s More! Blair and Durai not only present the basics of the physical characteristics of the device itself but go into how to physically secure the installation of the blade giving common sense but well needed tips on access control to the device rack etc. I¿ve seen too many installations where the trusted equipment is racked up in a janitor¿s closet or other non-secure space just waiting for an enterprising bad actor to come along and mess with the IT staff if not perform full fledged attacks.

The FWSMs configuration power and flexibility comes in the concept of contexts. Contexts are virtual firewalls implemented within the single physical FWSM device. The FWSM can support up to 250 contexts depending on your license. The authors advise that implementing too many contexts can oversubscribe the firewall and cause performance issues. The context chapter fully describes how to balance resources to provide the greatest possible throughput with the least hardware necessary.

With the full fledged reliance on the internet to perform almost all daily business transactions Availability is of prime importance. The connections to the internet must be available 7X24X365. The FWSM helps to accomplish this goal by the use of high availability pairs. Blair and Durai give an entire chapter to the configuration and testing of Active/Standby and Active/Active configurations. Add the complexity of multiple contexts within the pairs and you¿ll be glad you have these guys leading you through the configuration maze. Another full chapter digs deeper into load balancing with multiple FWSMs which could also be pairs, with multiple contexts¿ You get the idea.

The book would be just fine if it is only intended to be a reference manual. However the authors go beyond the call by providing their years of expertise with network infrastructure examples including every command to implement the various layouts provided. They go on to provide detailed examples of how to use this new infrastructure to provide the services necessary to support a modern network installation. This includes VPN termination, various routing protocols, and even touches on the latest design goal of Regulatory Compliance and how to achieve it at the network level.

As you can tell by now I fully encourage you to acquire this book if you have to have detailed hands-on interaction with the FWSM. It is probably overkill for the occasional user or management.

Tim Heagarty, CISSP, CISA, GIAC, PCI QSA
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is effectively the user's manual for Cisco's FWSM. I don't know if the module comes with other documentation, but this text is probably what you should use for an indepth explanation of the product. Cisco has put a fair amount of functionality into FWSM. Using and controlling this functionality can be done via the network. Naturally, the remote access is mediated by a standard username and password combination. This can be compared with local configured user data stored in the FWSM. Or, in an interesting feature, with user data at an external server. The latter feature reflects a possible data centre usage, where you have several FWSMs deployed, and you want to centralise sysadmin data in one server. Another key feature is the failover mechanism. Where the firewall has 2 units. These can be set in active/standby or active/active modes. There are 2 FWSM modules, that jointly offer a physical redundancy. The book shows that synchronising these peer modules is straightforward. Obviously this costs more, but the improved reliability should be attractive or even necessary to some data centre sysadmins.