Palo Alto NG Firewalls Review

Meets our expectations, providing application control, antivirus, and content filtering


What is our primary use case?

It is our main firewall. It has performed well. It meets our expectations.

What is most valuable?

It has the typical features of a next-generation firewall. It can do application control, antivirus, content filtering, etc. And in terms of performance, the value for money of the model that we bought is sufficient for our size.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see more in terms of reporting tools and the threat analysis capabilities.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

For our current size and our projected growth, it is sufficient. We are expecting to grow to about 1000 users. This is the type of bandwidth we need, based on our typical usage. The specific model we bought can scale up to that number. We built in that room for growth.

In addition, we can expand the scope not just as a firewall but also by doing some sandboxing and through integration with endpoint security solutions.

How is customer service and technical support?

I don't believe we have used any support directly from Palo Alto itself because we bought it through a local reseller. We engaged them to help us configure it and to put up some of the firewall rules that we need. So we work with a local vendor.

Which solutions did we use previously?

We had another box before and it wasn't a next-generation firewall. We needed to change to a next-generation firewall so we compared a few of the top players in the market and Palo Alto was the right one, in terms of the features that we need.

We were using an outdated firewall and, because of the growing threats, things were getting through. We were not able to filter some of the traffic the way we wanted. It was high time that we went with a next-generation firewall.

In terms of a vendor, in my case, I was referred to the local vendor, the one that we would be deploying and working with on the implementation. We definitely look for the competency, their knowledge of the subject matter, in this case, firewall technology, networks, etc., and their knowledge of the product. And, of course, the other factor is their commitment and their value-added solutions because sometimes we need them to go beyond to address a certain problem that we may have.

How was the initial setup?

I don't think setup is that complicated. There was just a bit of a learning curve because none of us had any experience with Palo Alto. But we know firewalls and it worked. It wasn't that difficult.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We called in proposals for different products, bigger players, like Check Point, Fortinet, Cisco. We set the criteria we need and had them make proposals. We found, based on the submissions, that Palo Alto seemed to be the one that had the most complete solution. We did a proof of concept to prove that whatever they said they can do, they can do. Once we passed that stage we proceeded with the purchase of the Palo Alto unit.

It came down to the technical evaluation we did. They did well in terms of performance. In addition, we liked the support terms that were proposed by the reseller. We also looked at certifications and reviews, at the NSS Labs reports, and other industry ratings. Palo Alto seemed to be up there. Also, looking toward the future, we can actually subscribe to sandboxing services in the cloud. There are also options for us to integrate with endpoint security solutions.

What other advice do I have?

List your requirements, give them the proper weighting, and look at what future options are available if you stick with the solution. Then do your evaluation. And don't forget the vendor, the local support, their competency and their commitment. You can have the best product in the world but if you don't get the right person to support you, it's a waste. You would probably better off with a second- or a third-tier product if you have an excellent, competent, and committed vendor to support you.

I would rate Palo Alto at eight out of 10 because of the performance, the security features, and policy management, the reporting capabilities, and the optional upgrades or extensions that we can do, like sandboxing. It also offers an option for our integration with our endpoint security.

We are going to revamp our endpoint security architecture. One of the options we're looking at is how we can integrate that with solutions from Palo Alto, because then we can have a more consolidated view, instead of using a third-party solution as the endpoint security. Finally, the local support is important.

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