What is our primary use case?
We install the solution for our customers and Check Point is our preferred solution in any firewall deployment. The two-layer architecture with the administration and security makes a difference and in every instance, we know who the user is.
The touch features are very different than other brands. From the feedback I get from my customers, Check Point is the best.
How has it helped my organization?
Check Point gives us a strong solution that we can depend on when deploying it for clients.
What is most valuable?
The most valuable features are within the unique architecture that creates flexibility in the deployment.
What needs improvement?
The knowledge base that is available is limited and it is on a closed network where only a customer or certified engineer will know about it. A beginner who wants to learn about the product actually has to enroll in training or get certified and have a valid license or certification to access information. That is something I find strange as most users would like to know about it. The new users would like to be able to see those areas and what type of concerns or any configuration issues they may have before deciding to work with the product. To me, that is a simple open-mindedness. In terms of the availability of the system and functionality of the product, there's no concern. But the problem is that efficient VSX (Virtual System Extension) deployment is complicated. Most of our customers are afraid to deploy any configuration changes because they are afraid something will happen.
It's not the same situation as with other products. I guess the reason behind it is the kind of architecture which they are using. There are more possibilities to crash than other products. That is the feedback I normally get from end-users, but even so, for us, I would say it's one of the best product.
For how long have I used the solution?
We've been using this product for over two years.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
Check Point is very stable. I would say that initially there were a couple of issues we had during deployments. But now we have climbed the learning curve of the product and all installations are very stable. We have most clients running on version 7.3 and didn't upgrade most further from there because we know that 7.3 is stable and it is what we are running most of the customers now.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
Scalability is fine. In fact, we are demonstrating the hyper scale with most of the customer now. There is no doubt about the scalability and it is not a problem.
How are customer service and technical support?
Up until now, we have not had to register with technical support from Check Point. If we needed help we got support with the presale technical support team from our region. He was able to help us internally. The team helps us to get products stable. Up until now, we did not contact them. It is not very transparent. They approach resolutions through a partner and the partner solves the case. They seem to mostly depend on partners for the resolution of issues.
If you previously used a different solution, which one did you use and why did you switch?
We deploy a variety of products for our clients depending on their needs. Check Point is one of the most reliable.
How was the initial setup?
I would say that the installation is straightforward when you have learned about the architecture. Before that, the installations may be a little confusing.
What about the implementation team?
We are partners with Check Point so we handle the installations and deployment. In the beginning, we did have some engineers from Check Point assist us in the initial installations, but after that it was fine and we were able to manage it by ourselves.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
Check Point pricing is high. It is a sector where there is heavy competition so it does not help when trying to sell the product. But one thing is that the sales chain is fantastic. The price is usually the most difficult thing when we discuss Check Point with customers, their feedback is that it is not a competitively inexpensive product. Clients want to know why that is and if we could scale the price. Check Point can have more presence in the market, but if they want it to compete, they have to come down in price a little more. I would say 20 to 30% lower. The product is fine.
What other advice do I have?
The web application firewall is commonly used in most firewalls now. If they can add that as a feature, it would be a very strong scenario. When we use Check Point on a perimeter or a DMZ zone, the first thing that clients ask is if there is wireless protection. Check Point has IPS (Intrusion Prevention System) but it does not have wireless protection. So if production is using the cloud if they can integrate mobile app protection, mobile shielding, there's more value for Check Point, but if they include that, Check Point could be the very best firewall option.
On a scale from one to ten, when one is the worst and ten is the best, I would rate Check Point as an eight. It needs to do better in pricing and with broader features for mobile.
One thing that I learned from multiple installations of Check Point is that you have to train the customer before implementing. Unless the customer is already a highly skilled security engineer so that they know what they can get out of the product, they will not be as satisfied. Otherwise, just before the deployment, we have them go for training so they understand the product and what it can do.
They will be happier and they won't choose to go with another product in the future. Even with my engineers who understand many other products, I trained them properly before I send them out for deployments. Check Point is not a product that if you don't know you can just install without knowing anything about it. You have to know the architecture first. You have to know each and every option than work on the product. Then it will be far better and say no to certain features which are not important to use. On the other hand, knowing it is available is fantastic and becomes an option in the right situations.
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.