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Cyber Elite

@simsim,

So I've deployed enough firewalls to see every possible management interface deployment I think you could possibly have, from amazing isolated MGMT networks which have no connection to the outside world and are trully isolated to the flat network just adding the management interface in with everything else.

There's a lot of different ways you can do this, and what method you use is going to be determined by your companies risk assessment and regulatory requirements. A lot of the DOD, healthcare, and financial sector will actually have dedicated management networks which isn't allowed to be accessed, or access, anything not residing in said management network. You would have a dedicated management computer, and all your management tasks would be carried out from that machine. 

A more common deployment is when companies will use a separate VRF (or just a VLAN depending on setup) and just logically separate out a management network on their existing equipment and highly control what and who is allowed to communicate to/from this zone/vlan. Sometimes you have a dedicated management host in this scenario, but more often you simply have tightly controlled access from specific machines and people allowed access to these resources. In this scenario no traffic should be able to communicate to or from one of your management hosts without it being logged and recorded by something. 

The most common deployment that you'll see that actually follows best practices is simply securing the management interface via the permitted-ip restrictions. IE: You're setting up a list of hosts that can communicate to the firewalls management interface, everything else will simply be denied access.

Lastly, sadly, if you look at it from a pure numbers standpoint the most common deployment across all PAN environments is when the organization really isn't doing anything to secure the management interface. They aren't limited access to it, or its in the same l2 networks as everything else on the same vlan, and they haven't setup any restrictions outside of username/password security. Don't do this, as it's incredibly insecure. You should at the absolute minimum setup permitted-ips so that the management interface can only communicate to hosts that you've expressly specified within your configuration.

 

 

As to your earlier concern about someone creating a policy that locked you out of your management interface, as @Brandon_Wertz mentioned this really shouldn't be possible. Even if you have the management traffic traversing the firewall within your network, you should still be able to configure a host on the same vlan/vrf and access the management interface. The management interface on your firewall is completely separate from your dataplane, so the only way you can really lock yourself out of it is if you mess up the permitted-ip configuration and you somehow enter the wrong IP information here and create a situation where you physically need to configure a devices NIC and do a device -> management interface direct connection or access the device from the console port to regain access and correct the permitted-ip configuration. 

 

Hopefully that helps, but generally your management interface or management network as a whole rather is going to depend a lot on your organization and its requirements and regulatory bodies. 

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