Check Point CloudGuard Network Security Review

Offers simple solutions, such as the virtual appliance

What is our primary use case?

We are a small consulting company. We have around 100 employees. We don't use advanced firewalls because we don't really have important data that can be hacked. Nobody is going to care about our data because it's only the HR department's timesheet data on our on-premise systems. The firewall is protecting remote access, allowing the employees to access our office environment. So sometimes employees connect to our systems which have some test systems on it. They run some tests about the consulting we've given to clients. That's all. We just have basic things on our firewall. Just two things are important for us - the site to site VPN, which we have with some customers, and the government site. That is important. That's why I want to change the firewall to a new and up-to-date one so maybe it will be an improvement to prevent some hackers.

What is most valuable?

After I made up my mind to migrate it to another solution, I was kind of checking all the other firewalls, the FortiGate, Check Point, pfSense and OPNsense, and Check Point has pretty simple solutions, like the virtual appliance which you just download and it is imported into VMware and you just start using it. You just have to know Check Point's GUI so you can manage your IP addresses and access rules and stuff. But as I said, Check Point is really advanced and the GUI is kind of advanced, which the customer reports actually prove.

What needs improvement?

In terms of what could be improved, we have no support with the current Check Point environment. It ended maybe three or four years ago. Because it's an appliance you have to have support. That's a problem for us because I cannot update it at the moment. We have to have another support. We have to subscribe to another support so I can update it. I think it's a good amount of money and our boss does not want to pay that kind of money for firewall solutions. It's not a hardware solution, which by the way, if it would be up to me, I would migrate it to a hardware FortiGate system because all our customers at the moment are migrating their environments to FortiGate hardware solutions. They say it's a really good improvement from their previous firewall solution because it's easy to manage and they're very happy with it.

But as I said before, my boss does not want to pay a lot of money for a firewall solution since we don't have much data to protect and the data is not very important. It's not a big use for us. So we will just probably try pfSense or OPNsense. I can patch it to an up-to-date version, like the 2021 patch. We have the open source solution because my boss does not want to pay for it. It's my approach to migrate the firewall, actually. If it was up to me, I'd probably migrate it to a FortiGate system.

I'm not very experienced with Check Point. But what I would like to see is a step-by-step initial installation of the firewall. That would be really helpful. Like in Oracle appliances, when you start it asks you, what's your current IP address? An initial setup should be a step by step and intuitive process. You click on "begin," it asks you some simple questions. You fill in the blanks - your current IP address, what you want to do, if you want to set up a site to site VPN, for example, that kind of thing. That would be the smartest thing to have.

How are customer service and technical support?

I can't give it any review about Check Point technical support because I am only working here for about three years and by the time I started at the company it already did not have support.

How was the initial setup?

I have no idea about the initial setup, but it seems like it's not so complex. The initial set up is probably not that hard, but not that easy, either. If I were to delegate the firewall system to a junior guy, I think that he's not going to manage Check Point, but he'll probably manage FortiGate.

What other advice do I have?

In the past, my clients were all using Check Point Systems. When I reviewed it at that time, back 10 years ago, Check Point was number one, as far as I remember, meaning FortiGate wasn't a major solution in Turkey. Nobody was talking about FortiGate then. Now FortiGate, is a major player in the firewall industry in Turkey. Most of our clients are migrating to FortiGate because they say it's cheaper than Check Point. So when I see the Check Point's GUI, it's really complicated. My recommendation would be for Check Point customers to first learn about Check Point's GUI, which is pretty advanced, for me at least.

But when I talk to my friends who are managing IT, they are migrating to FortiGate. They say, FortiGate is very easy to manage and I should really think about it now. When I was first introduced to Check Point it was really advanced. I didn't understand when I first looked into it. I just wanted a solution. pfSense has the same problem. By the way, according to your report, some customers said that pfSense needs improvement on the management and the GUI and aspects like that, so maybe I'll need another review of OPNsense versus Check Point and FortiGate etc...

We didn't have any problems at all. Just in one case, actually. We have a rule that pops up from nowhere which we didn't create. When we restart our Virtual System firewall, it creates a rule which messes up all our internet connection. So if I were to give a number from one to 10, I would probably say Check Point is a nine out of 10. Other than that, we haven't had any problems. Check Point is pretty reliable. I think it's our company's problem that we couldn't patch it after it froze. Maybe an up to date, patched version doesn't have this problem. 

Overall, it's really working for us. I don't have any problems other than it's just outdated.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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