CheckPoint Virtual System Extension (VSX) Test

VSX (Virtual System Extension) is a security and VPN solution for large-scale environments based on the proven security of Check Point Security Gateway. VSX provides comprehensive protection for multiple networks or VLANs within complex infrastructures. It securely connects them to shared resources such as the Internet and/or a DMZ, and allows them to safely interact with each other. VSX is supported by IPS™ Services, which provide up-to-date preemptive security.

VSX incorporates the same patented Stateful Inspection and Software Blades technology used in the Check Point Security Gateway product line. Administrators manage VSX using a Security Management Server or a Multi-Domain Server, delivering a unified management architecture that supports enterprises and service providers.

A VSX Gateway contains a complete set of virtual devices that function as physical network components, such as Security Gateway, routers, switches, interfaces, and even network cables. Centrally managed, and incorporating key network resources internally, VSX lets businesses deploy comprehensive firewall and VPN functionality, while reducing hardware investment and improving efficiency.

Using the Check Point Smart-1 appliance, administrators may configure multiple virtual systems in their environment. Each Virtual System works as a Security Gateway, typically protecting a specified network. When packets arrive at the VSX Gateway, it sends traffic to the Virtual System protecting the destination network. The Virtual System inspects all traffic and allows or rejects it according to the rules defined in the security policy thus preventing unauthorized access to the network which in turn leads to the optimal network resource usage. On the other hand, improper policy configurations may result in fewer virtual systems which may hog the bandwidth and choke the network! To avoid such spurious situations, administrators should periodically monitor the efficiency of the policy configuration, figure out any impending discrepancies and fix them immediately! This is where the CheckPoint Virtual System Extension test helps!

This test auto-discovers the virtual systems configured in the Check Point Smart-1 appliance and periodically monitors the amount of data and packets processed through each virtual system. In addition, this test also reports the CPU utilization and the active connections on each virtual system. In the process, this test helps administrators deduce the virtual system that is handling high volume of traffic and is hogging the bandwidth resources available to the network! This way, administrators can figure out if policy configurations are effective and if not, can initiate necessary action to fine tune them.

Target of the test : A Check Point Smart-1 appliance

Agent deploying the test : An external agent

Outputs of the test : One set of results for each virtual system configured on the Check Point Smart-1 appliance that is to be monitored.

Configurable parameters for the test
Parameter Description

Test period

How often should the test be executed

Host

The IP address of the Check Point Smart-1 appliance for which this test is to be configured.

SNMPPort

The port at which the Check Point Smart-1 appliance exposes its SNMP MIB; the default is 161.

SNMPVersion

By default, the eG agent supports SNMP version 1. Accordingly, the default selection in the SNMPVersion list is v1. However, if a different SNMP framework is in use in your environment, say SNMP v2 or v3, then select the corresponding option from this list.

SNMPCommunity

The SNMP community name that the test uses to communicate with the firewall. This parameter is specific to SNMP v1 and v2 only. Therefore, if the SNMPVersion chosen is v3, then this parameter will not appear.

Username

This parameter appears only when v3 is selected as the SNMPVersion. SNMP version 3 (SNMPv3) is an extensible SNMP Framework which supplements the SNMPv2 Framework, by additionally supporting message security, access control, and remote SNMP configuration capabilities. To extract performance statistics from the MIB using the highly secure SNMP v3 protocol, the eG agent has to be configured with the required access privileges – in other words, the eG agent should connect to the MIB using the credentials of a user with access permissions to be MIB. Therefore, specify the name of such a user against this parameter. 

Context

This parameter appears only when v3 is selected as the SNMPVersion. An SNMP context is a collection of management information accessible by an SNMP entity. An item of management information may exist in more than one context and an SNMP entity potentially has access to many contexts. A context is identified by the SNMPEngineID value of the entity hosting the management information (also called a contextEngineID) and a context name that identifies the specific context (also called a contextName). If the Username provided is associated with a context name, then the eG agent will be able to poll the MIB and collect metrics only if it is configured with the context name as well. In such cases therefore, specify the context name of the Username in the Context text box.  By default, this parameter is set to none.

AuthPass

Specify the password that corresponds to the above-mentioned Username. This parameter once again appears only if the SNMPversion selected is v3.

Confirm Password

Confirm the AuthPass by retyping it here.

AuthType

This parameter too appears only if v3 is selected as the SNMPversion. From the AuthType list box, choose the authentication algorithm using which SNMP v3 converts the specified username and password into a 32-bit format to ensure security of SNMP transactions. You can choose between the following options:

  • MD5 – Message Digest Algorithm
  • SHA – Secure Hash Algorithm

EncryptFlag

This flag appears only when v3 is selected as the SNMPVersion. By default, the eG agent does not encrypt SNMP requests. Accordingly, the this flag is set to No by default. To ensure that SNMP requests sent by the eG agent are encrypted, select the Yes option. 

EncryptType

If this EncryptFlag is set to Yes, then you will have to mention the encryption type by selecting an option from the EncryptType list. SNMP v3 supports the following encryption types:

  • DES – Data Encryption Standard
  • AES – Advanced Encryption Standard

EncryptPassword

Specify the encryption password here.

Confirm Password

Confirm the encryption password by retyping it here.

Timeout

Specify the duration (in seconds) within which the SNMP query executed by this test should time out in this text box. The default is 10 seconds.

Data Over TCP

By default, in an IT environment, all data transmission occurs over UDP. Some environments however, may be specifically configured to offload a fraction of the data traffic – for instance, certain types of data traffic or traffic pertaining to specific components – to other protocols like TCP, so as to prevent UDP overloads. In such environments, you can instruct the eG agent to conduct the SNMP data traffic related to the monitored target over TCP (and not UDP). For this, set this flag to Yes. By default, this flag is set to No.

Measurements made by the test
Measurement Description Measurement Unit Interpretation

CPU utilization

Indicates the percentage of CPU utilized by this virtual system.

Percent

A value close to 100% is a cause of concern.

Active connections

Indicates the number of connections that are currently active on this virtual system.

Number

An abnormally high value for this measure could indicate a probable virus attack or spam to a mail server in the network.

Peak connections

Indicates the maximum number of connections to this virtual system.

Number

 

Data processed

Indicates the amount of data processed by this virtual system during the last measurement period.

MB

Comparing the values of this measure across the virtual systems helps you in identifying the virtual system that is processing the maximum amount of data i.e., you can deduce the virtual system that has consumed the maximum bandwidth over the network.

If there is a huge gap between the maximum and minimum bandwidth consumers, it could indicate that one/more virtual systems are hogging the bandwidth resources. You may then need to reconfigure/fine-tune the security policies and rules to minimize the bandwidth usage.

Accepted data

Indicates the amount of data that was processed successfully by this virtual system during the last measurement period.

MB

 

Dropped data

Indicates the amount of data that was dropped by this virtual system during the last measurement period.

MB

Ideally, the value of this measure should be zero. If there is a consistent increase in the value of this measure, then it clearly indicates that the virtual system is either processing a lot of malicious traffic or is under attack.

Rejected data

Indicates the amount of data rejected by this virtual system during the last measurement period.

MB

A low value is desired for this measure.

Success data rate

Indicates the percentage of data that was successfully processed by this virtual system during the last measurement period.

Percent

A high value is desired for this measure.

Packets processed

Indicates the number of packets processed by this virtual system during the last measurement period.

Number

Comparing the values of this measure across the virtual systems helps you in identifying the virtual system that is processing the maximum amount of data i.e., you can deduce the virtual system that has consumed the maximum bandwidth over the network.

If there is a huge gap between the maximum and minimum bandwidth consumers, it could indicate that one/more virtual systems are hogging the bandwidth resources. You may then need to reconfigure/fine-tune the security policies and rules to minimize the bandwidth usage.

Accepted packets

Indicates the number of packets that were processed successfully by this virtual server during the last measurement period.

Number

 

Dropped packets

Indicates the number of packets that were dropped by this virtual server during the last measurement period.

Number

Ideally, the value of this measure should be zero.

Rejected packets

Indicates the number of packets that were rejected by this virtual server during the last measurement period.

Number

 

Success packets rate

Indicates the percentage of packets that were successfully processed by this virtual system during the last measurement period.

Percent