OPNsense Review

Cost-effective with good reporting and firewall capabilities, but the SD-WAN needs to be enhanced

What is our primary use case?

I am currently working with OPNsense to see if I can learn it. This product is used in small to medium-sized businesses for security, UTM, and other similar operations. We are a solution provider and this is one of the security solutions that we implement for our clients.

How has it helped my organization?

Offering this solution has provided some of our clients with firewall protection and UTM, which basically just protects them from the internet.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are reporting, the Sensei plugin, and firewall capabilities.

What needs improvement?

The vendor should offer compatibility-approved boxes, or at least stock one with OPNsense already installed. This would make it a one-stop-shop, and people would not have to worry about sourcing the hardware separately.

I would like to see better SD-WAN performance. I think that could be a very good bonus because SD-WAN is all the rage these days. That is probably the big thing that people need to improve upon, in terms of combining two, three, or four links.

The interface should continue to improve, which would make things a bit easier. For me, it was already easy, but nonetheless, it is quicker to install a FortiGate firewall.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been working with OPNsense for approximately one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This is a very stable product and I've had no issues with it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This product is very scalable. I always buy hardware that can handle a lot of connections and a lot of users. So, in terms of scalability, all you have to do is upgrade your hardware. Or, it is especially scalable if you use the VM version because you only have to provision more resources.

We regularly have between 20 and 50 users, although sometimes it is as little as 5 or 10.        

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not been in contact with technical support. So far, everything has been good because I just use Google to find all of the answers and all of my solutions.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I primarily work with FortiGate, but I am currently dabbling in OPNSense to see if I can learn it. I've also installed Cisco in the past, as well as Sophos.

FortiGate is a better firewall but that is commercial software that you have to buy a license for. OPNsense is suitable for small to medium-sized businesses. FortiGate is definitely quicker to install because you just buy the appliance. It's also more user-friendly.

If you dabble a bit with OPNsense, it can do about 90% of what FortiGate can do, but FortiGate is more user-friendly. Of course, with OPNsense being open-source, it will always beat FortiGate on price.

I think that with FortiGate, it is easier to log a support call. I haven't really needed technical support for OPNsense, but I know that FortiGate has the score logging facility, whereby you can just quickly log a call. There's also support in South Africa and I know company people that I can just call for help with FortiGate. But with OPNsense, I haven't really had a complicated setup, so for me, it has been okay and it hasn't been an issue.

The SD-WAN is also better on FortiGate. I think that they are heavily focused on security, so they might have better application profiles and other things, such as application threat detections.

Although about 80% of our clients ask for FortiGate, some of our clients ask for Sophos instead. For example, there are some banks and commercial institutions that ask for Sophos.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward and quite simplified. I work in a Linux environment so for me, it will be a bit easier.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

OPNsense is an open-source solution and it is free to use. You need only purchase the hardware.

What other advice do I have?

The suitability of this product often depends on the size of the company, although sometimes there are clients that just want FortiGate and they're not open for negotiation. Personally, I like open-source and it's always a bonus if I can get stuff for free.

I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: partner
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