WatchGuard Firebox Review

Identifies attacks on our services and precisely directs us to the problem, saving us significant time


What is our primary use case?

We are using WatchGuard Firebox for defense of our internal infrastructure.

How has it helped my organization?

I wouldn't say that Firebox has improved the way our organization functions, but rather that it protects our organization.

The solution identifies attacks on our services and, as a result, directs our attention precisely to the cause of the problem. As we are not actively watching the traffic ourselves and we completely rely on Firebox to alert us instead, the solution saves us about 30 hours per week.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are WatchGuard’s antivirus, traffic protection, and ease of configuration. I also appreciate their traffic analytics. 

After conducting several tests I found the antivirus is working very well. Additionally, they have a very interesting feature, DNS WatchGuard, which is checking DNS requests for phishing, among other things, and it has caught a lot of unwanted attempts and attacks.

Regarding the management features, the interface is user-friendly, and the instructions are well documented. There is a fast learning curve and everything is intuitive and understandable.

It also provides us with layered security. Firebox protects our traffic, as we have numerous Web Services that are external and which are a priority for us to defend. We don't use the rest as much.

What needs improvement?

I haven’t dug deeply into the reporting features yet or if they are working well. However, I have generated several reports and there was too much unnecessary information, in comparison with the reporting features in the Sophos firewall. Sophos' reporting is more readable and easier to configure. Having said that, reporting features were not very important for us when selecting a solution. What was important were other types of functionality that WatchGuard Firebox was able to meet.

In addition to the reporting features, I would suggest they work on an SSL VPN gateway.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been working with WatchGuard Firebox for about one year. Initially we got an M200 model and then switched to an M470 in a cluster.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In terms of the stability, everything is perfect. We haven’t experienced any issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution scales intuitively and quickly with any internet, meaning the solution’s protocols support any internet configuration. The connectivity scales in any location.

We could scale it to several companies with up to 100 employees and up to 1 Gb of traffic.

How are customer service and technical support?

I would rate WatchGuard's tech support at the highest mark of five out of five. I was very pleased with them. We were working with them on the software licensing and opened some tickets related to technical issues. In both cases, they resolved the issues promptly and without unnecessary back-and-forth, unlike when working with the support teams of other vendors.

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

Before Firebox we used a Sophos firewall. We switched because the WatchGuard firewall offers a broad set of features and parameters that were lacking in the Sophos firewall. Additionally, the WatchGuard solution was cheaper.

WatchGuard has a comprehensive antivirus system included in the firewall and that was important for us. Sophos’ antivirus features were weak, in comparison.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was medium in terms of the difficulty of some aspects, such as initially understanding the logic of their security policies. It took several hours to acquaint myself and to fully understand things. The whole deployment took about three days.

We initially had an implementation strategy, but it was adapted according to the recommendations and specifications of WatchGuard.

In terms of the technical aspects, I am the only who works with this solution in our organization.

Initially, we purchased the Firebox just for us but, as of today, we have deployed it to two or three other companies. The client sent us project specs with necessary internet configurations for each device, as well as the physical locations. We replicated their infrastructure in our test environment, configured each device according to their specs, and shipped the device to them. The client then connected the device with a cable to the ports outlined in our instructions and everything worked the first time.

What about the implementation team?

During the deployment we worked closely with WatchGuard’s tech support team and they were very speedy in their responses to us.

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

The price of the solution corresponds to the quality and the feature set offered. There are no additional costs to the standard licensing fees.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Before selecting WatchGuard Firebox, we evaluated the Cisco FirePOWER firewall and, in comparison, Firebox is much easier to use.

Also, WatchGuard’s solution, in terms of the cost-per-value ratio, is very balanced.

What other advice do I have?

My advice would be to try this product.

As for the throughput, at this point it is hard for us to evaluate it because we don’t have heavy traffic, or at least we do not experience the traffic throughput specified for this model. Our inbound and outbound traffic is 1 Gb and the M470 handles it very well, not even stressing its components.

When it comes to the solution’s Cloud Visibility feature, they need to improve on the reporting. But in terms of the logs, it gives us very good visibility.

Overall, I would rate the solution a strong eight out of 10.

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