Taking ownership of your firewall

A few days ago, my manager told me that I was going to be in charge of our firewall from that point forward. That is a great new role for me and a step forward in my job duties, but while a positive move I was a bit concerned that I would be taking care of firewall matters right away. Reason being, I have barely any experience in managing a firewall. I have added and modified rules that open or alter specific ports, but that is firewall management through a graphical interface where options are set by good old pointing and click. As far as actually administering the operating system on the firewall itself, I have never done it. I believe that our firewall uses a linux based operating system that lives on a hard drive that is internal to the firewall appliance.

I have to familiarize myself with how to backup, build and restore the software that is running on the firewall if I am to be fully tasked with its management. There are many other security affecting configuration settings in the GUI interface that I have never had to modify, so I will need a reference guide to help me along as changes are needed. Preferably, I would like management to pay for me to attend firewall management classes so that I am better prepared to handle things on my own. Full control of something as critical as a firewall without the correct set of skills to perform the job can really open things up for disaster and set me up to fail. I really hope that they see it that way and realize that a few dollars spent on training for me can help to save more time and money on down the road if I were to make a change to the firewall that exposed the network or otherwise cause production down time.

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