Palo Alto Networks WildFire Review

Simple to set up, offers malware protection and web filtering, and the VPN works well

What is our primary use case?

We had two 800-Series Palo Alto Firewalls, but as they reached end-of-life, we began researching alternatives. Ultimately, we chose to switch to Cisco Firepower, so we no longer use WildFire.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature for us is the VPN. We used GlobalProtect for the VPN, as well as site-to-site.

It is very simple to use.

What needs improvement?

The support needs to be improved because it takes too long to resolve severity-one issues.

Better integration with third-party products and services is needed.

The need to implement their own multifactor authentication, rather than relying on third-party add-ons for it.

They have malware protection and web-filtering in place, although they are not as effective as Titan or Cisco Umbrella.

For how long have I used the solution?

I began working with Palo Alto WildFire a year ago when I joined the company.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is a solid, stable network solution.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In terms of scalability, Palo Alto is at the top of the market.

Managing this solution we had six network administrators, who are network analysts. In terms of end-users, the entire company was using the Palo Alto network.

How are customer service and technical support?

When you contact support, there is no guarantee that they will be available to help you tackle the issue that you are facing. Sometimes you are left on the phone for three or four hours before you can speak with an engineer, which is very, very poor. If you have an emergency situation or a network outage of severity-one, then you cannot wait for hours to support your clients.

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

Palo Alto was the first solution of this type that we used. However, we have recently purchased Cisco Firepower and no longer work with Palo Alto products.

Prior to Firepower being released, Palo Alto was very simple and better than Cisco ASA. Now, however, Firepower is simpler and the support is outstanding. With Cisco, if you have a severity-one outage then it will be less than ten minutes before you get an engineer on the phone to help you.

I have also worked with Check Point and Juniper solutions, and I feel that scalability-wise, Palo Alto is better than the rest, except for perhaps Cisco, where it is neck and neck.

How was the initial setup?

The setup is not complex. When you come from a CLI background of Cisco ASA or any other platform, Palo Alto is much easier. As long as you are familiar with the general steps in the procedure, it is not difficult.

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

This solution is very pricey and it depends on the package that you implement. There are sometimes promotions on, which can save on costs.

What other advice do I have?

The Palo Alto models that we were using are the PA800-500 and PA830. 

I have seen people in different organizations and different industries set their firewall solutions up in different ways. It depends on the level of support, in terms of who will be maintaining the network. It also includes the level of knowledge they have, as well as their management preference. Some people choose Palo Alto because they don't care about the costs, and it is an easy solution to use, especially if they are already familiar with it. I would say that if they have the budget then this is a good choice and I recommend it.

However, if they are looking to consolidate all of their services, then the option to choose is definitely Cisco. It's a cloud-based solution with malware protection, filtering, and everything you need all in one box. It makes a lot of difference.

Finally, some people prefer FortiGate because the pricing is good and it is simple to use, whereas some people prefer Check Point for other reasons. It's an individual choice, but it should be well researched before the final choice is made.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

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