WatchGuard Firebox Review

Its features provide me visibility on the network


What is our primary use case?

It is a firewall. I have two M400s. They act as security for the Internet, like a border between us and the Internet.

How has it helped my organization?

We allow more outside vendors to be able to come in, then I could protect them. This is a way that I could leverage the solution which has improved business. It has made vendors coming from the outside able to get to resources that we can provide them without allowing them onto our production network.

We have the logging working along with the System Manager overview. This all seems very good to use and straightforward. It is where I look when I start since it gives me that sort of a single pane of glass for both firewalls.

It gives me Layer 3 and Layer 4 security. I don't know if it gives me the full Layer 7 security, which some other firewalls do. It might in new revisions of it. However, for what I need, it meets the sweet spot.

Having the VPN access helps productivity in the sense that people can get to resources anywhere.

What is most valuable?

  • HostWatch is a nice feature.
  • Logging
  • The central management piece of the system
  • The overview manager is good to have.
  • The GUI is somewhat easy to use.

These features provide visibility on the network. When there is trouble, I like to see why I might be having trouble at the gateway level.

HostWatch makes it so I can see, in real-time, activity in the event that there is something weird happening on the network. This simplifies my job.

The product's usability is good. It is straightforward and simple. One of the benefits is that it is easy to navigate and intuitive.

What needs improvement?

Sometimes, the writing rules are a little confusing in how am I doing them.

I had some trouble with the previous product version (XTM) at the end. When the product aged a bit, there were no redundant power supplies. For what we're doing, it would've been nice to have something to fall back on instead rebuilding and taking it from an old configuration because the older version did die. We were able to take from an older configuration, build a new one quickly, and get it up and running, which didn't take long, but there was some pain around it.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using it for a year and a few months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

With the previous version (XTM), I started seeing some hiccups.

With this new version (M400), it has been in place for about a year and been running just fine. I haven't had to reboot it. I don't think I've had an issue at all with it.

I manage the solution as the network administrator.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I am not sure what I can scale up to. It meets our needs, though. We're not a growing company. We are sort of a static company in terms of growth. As a static company, we are not looking to increase our usage.

We have around 200 users, who are tradesmen, toll collectors, administrators, accountants, and auditors.

How are customer service and technical support?

I haven't used WatchGuard's technical support because it is an easy product to use.

If you previously used a different solution, which one did you use and why did you switch?

We switched from WatchGuard's previous model due to age of hardware. We went from something that was seven or eight years old to something from the last year or two.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. We had been previously using WatchGuard and moved from an XTM to an M400. So, this is our second-generation of firewall with them, and I didn't have any problems.

The deployment took about a day. I upgraded the hardware, making sure that everything migrated over correctly. That was the goal. I had one rule that I dropped, but that's about it.

We have multiple networks with Internet points of presence where we have multiple firewalls. These are not at the distribution layer. The core layer is more where our firewall is.

What was our ROI?

For the price point, what we do with it, and the time that the last one lived for on our network, we have gotten our money's worth from it. I'm satisfied with the product for the most part.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did consider other vendors. I don't think there's a need for us to switch right now. In the future, there might be. However, we're pretty happy right now with what we have.

We also looked at Palo Alto, Cisco, and Juniper NetScreen. We looked at Juniper because we have a lot of Juniper switching infrastructure. WatchGuard's price point worked, which is the reason why we stayed with WatchGuard.

What other advice do I have?

Leverage the website. They have a good knowledge base out there. If this was a green deployment, make sure that you understand how the policies work for VPN and matting.

The throughput is adequate. It certainly handles what I pumped through it, which is about 150MB. I don't know how we would do on a big gigabit network, but for what I do, it works. I haven't seen any slow downs in throughput.

I am not using the Cloud Visibility feature.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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