Saqib Rana, Developer in Wellington, New Zealand
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Saqib Rana

Verified Expert  in Engineering

Network Security Engineer and Developer

Wellington, New Zealand
Toptal Member Since
April 12, 2023

Saqib is a results-driven professional with 10+ years of experience implementing IT network security solutions. He specializes in firewalls, load balancers, routing and switching, cloud or VPN solutions, web proxies, and automation. Saqib also manages multivendor devices, including Fortinet, Palo Alto, Check Point, FortiGate, Cisco—ASA, ISE, WSA, and Firepower Threat Defense or Management Center—Forcepoint, A10 Networks, Aruba, Splunk, FortiAnalyzer, and F5 BIG-IP web application firewalls.


BNZ Bank
Terraform, Check Point, Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE)
Spark NZ
Check Point, FortiGate, F5 Networks, Palo Alto Networks, Websense, IP Routing...




Preferred Environment

Checkpoints, Palo Alto Networks, Cisco, FortiGate, ISE, Cisco Switches, ASA, Aruba, F5 Networks

The most amazing...

...project I've successfully planned and implemented is migrating a Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) firewall to a Check Point R80.40 solution.

Work Experience

Senior Security Consultant

2022 - 2023
BNZ Bank
  • Engaged as a senior security consultant for a company with BIG-IP LTM deployed in Azure infrastructure using Terraform as infrastructure as code. The CI/CD pipeline for configuring BIG-IP was established on Bitbucket for users to carry out BAU tasks.
  • Provided technical assistance for migrating the Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) from version 2.7 to 3.1, achieving a fully distributed ISE deployment for the policy administration, monitoring, and policy service nodes.
  • Deployed threat emulation on Check Point blades and replaced the legacy McAfee service.
  • Optimized gateway performance during high traffic by deploying Check Point DoS Penalty Box as a defense-in-depth security architecture.
Technologies: Terraform, Check Point, Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE)

Security Architect

2022 - 2022
  • Performed risk assessments, threat modeling, and vulnerability analyses of 2Degrees' systems and assets, developing risk management plans to mitigate, transfer, or accept risks.
  • Worked with 3rd-party vendors and contractors to ensure they met the organization's information security requirements and complied with ISO 27001 standards.
  • Implemented the ThreatModeler solution to identify potential security threats and vulnerabilities in the 2Degrees cloud environment. This also provided a graphical illustration of the cloud resource topology.
  • Integrated the AlgoSec solution with 2Degrees' existing network security infrastructure, providing a complete on-premises infrastructure topology that was extremely helpful for engineers to resolve incidents quickly.
  • Designed and implemented a secure mobile device management (MDM) solution for a technology company. Selected and configured MDM tools, developed policies, and provided employee training.
Technologies: Compliance

Security Consultant

2019 - 2022
Spark NZ
  • Implemented the Illumio Zero Trust microsegmentation project to restrict the lateral movement of malicious actors.
  • Designed and implemented Fortinet SD-WAN for multiple customers.
  • Executed an AlgoSec solution for a customer to automate network topology, compliance report, and configuration cleanup.
  • Migrated the customer's firewalls from a legacy Cisco ASA to Check Point.
  • Evaluated and implemented multiple cloud landing zone solutions to determine the best fit for the customer's needs.
  • Configured cloud firewalls and proxies, ensuring they met the customer's security and compliance needs.
  • Set up Websense, Cisco Web Security Appliance (WSA), and BIG-IP web application firewall proxies for customers according to the OWASP security framework.
  • Onboarded new customers for BIG-IP LTM, creating isolated route domains and partitions.
Technologies: Check Point, FortiGate, F5 Networks, Palo Alto Networks, Websense, IP Routing, Cisco Switches, Cloud, Frameworks, Application Security, Cisco, Juniper, Security Policies & Procedures

Network Security Engineer

2013 - 2019
Bank Albilad
  • Planned and designed a fully distributed Cisco ISE 3600 solution to enforce 802.1X authentication for all bank users, switches, routers, access points, cameras, printers, and IoT.
  • Ensured better protection against external cyberattacks by migrating the perimeter firewall from Cisco ASA to the next-generation Palo Alto network.
  • Designed network segmentation to isolate the bank's cardholder data environment traffic from the rest of the network, reducing the risk of unauthorized access.
  • Enforced a Palo Alto WildFire sandboxing solution that detects malware in files and URLs.
  • Devised and implemented an open-shortest-path-first (OSPF) network topology suited to the bank's needs and requirements.
  • Created and executed a FortiGate 3950B data center firewall, providing enhanced security measures to protect east-west and north-south data traffic flows.
  • Implemented an Aruba wireless solution for the bank, providing secure and reliable wireless connectivity for all employees and visitors.
Technologies: Aruba, ASA, FortiGate, Palo Alto Networks, Juniper, ISE, Proxies

Network Security Engineer

2009 - 2012
Ministry of Media
  • Migrated switches from legacy Cisco edge, distribution, and core to Alcatel Omni for all Ministry of Media campuses.
  • Moved a large campus's network from static to OSPF routes.
  • Implemented the Intermapper network monitoring software for infrastructure devices.
  • Ensured reliable, high-speed connection by designing and implementing hub-and-spoke fiber optic network connectivity between radio, television, press campuses, and data centers.
  • Designed and implemented a comprehensive network security solution for the Ministry using Juniper ISG firewalls.
  • Optimized network performance and improved application response times by designing and implementing Blue Coat PacketShaper for the Ministry.
Technologies: Cisco Switches, Telecommunications, Firewalls, LAN, WAN, Fiber Optics, ASA, Monitoring, Logging

Cisco ASA to Check Point Firewall Migration

Migrated the firewall from Cisco ASA to the Check Point R80.40 solution. This project emphasizes the importance of careful planning, testing, and monitoring to ensure a seamless transition and a secure network.

I began by understanding the current network topology, evaluating the Check Point firewall, and planning the migration process. Next, I tested the migration plan, set up the new firewall, and proceeded with migrating security policies and the VPN. Finally, I enabled the Check Point Compliance blade, then tested the new environment before fully transitioning.

By following the roadmap with all stakeholders, I successfully migrated the firewall to a Check Point R80.40 solution while maintaining the security posture of the client network.

Zero Trust Implementation

Designed and implemented the zero trust model with Illumio for a trusted east-west network where hosts residing on the same virtual LAN could not communicate with each other.

llumio provides a centralized management console for managing label-based policies and configurations across the network. The project plan was to replace existing FortiGate firewalls with an Illumio microsegmentation solution. To do this, I developed a project team, understood the current network topology, and evaluated the Illumio solution. Next, I planned and tested the migration process, then set up the new Illumio solution and migrated security policies. I also tested the new environment before transitioning and monitored the new solution afterward.

This project emphasizes the importance of careful planning, testing, and monitoring. By following the project plan, the client successfully transitioned to an Illumio microsegmentation solution, resulting in enhanced compliance with regulatory requirements and an improved security posture. Additionally, the migration to Illumio has significantly reduced the required workforce compared to the previous setup that relied on FortiGate firewalls.

DMVPN to SD-WAN Migration

Planned and implemented the migration from a dynamic multipoint VPN (DMVPN) to a FortiGate SD-WAN solution for a retail client. This project emphasizes the importance of implementing the solution to meet the organization's daily operational needs and support remote workers.

The FortiGate SD-WAN solution provided the client with improved redundancy and traffic management and cost savings by eliminating the need for multiprotocol label switching. Implementing the solution also enhanced the organization's security posture. Multiple retail locations can benefit from a secure, reliable, and cost-effective network solution by utilizing intelligent traffic routing, advanced security features, and centralized management of network policies and configurations.
2001 - 2005

Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science

University of South Asia - Lahore, Pakistan


F5 Certified! BIG-IP Administrator

F5, Inc.


Exam 201—TMOS Administration

F5, Inc.

AUGUST 2020 - AUGUST 2022

Check Point Certified Security Expert (CCSE)

Check Point Software Technologies Ltd

JUNE 2020 - JULY 2022

Palo Alto Networks Certified Network Security Engineer (PCNSE)

Palo Alto Networks


Fortinet NSE 7 – Enterprise Firewall


JUNE 2020 - JUNE 2022

Check Point Certified Security Administrator (CCSA)

Check Point Software Technologies Ltd


Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) Security Lab


MAY 2017 - MAY 2020

NSE 4 Network Security Professional



Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) Routing & Switching



Juniper Networks Certified Internet Specialist, Security (JNCIS-SEC)

Juniper Networks, Inc.


Cisco VPN Security Specialist



Cisco IPS Specialist



Juniper Networks Technical Certification Program (JNTCP), Enterprise Routing and Switching

Juniper Networks, Inc.

JULY 2009 - JULY 2012

Cisco Firewall Security Specialist


JULY 2009 - JULY 2012

Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) Security



Microsoft Certified Professional



Terraform, Websense, VPN, Logging



Industry Expertise

Telecommunications, Network Security


Cisco Certified Network Associate Routing & Switching


Azure Active Directory


Palo Alto Networks, FortiGate, Cisco Switches, ASA, F5 Networks, IT Security, Computer Networking, Check Point, IP Routing, Cloud, Proxies, WAN, Checkpoints, Cisco, LAN, Web Application Firewall (WAF), ISE, Aruba, Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE), Compliance, Frameworks, Application Security, Juniper, Security Policies & Procedures, Fiber Optics, Monitoring, Routing, Firewalls, Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS), Proxy Servers, Server Administration, DNS, Enterprise

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