WatchGuard XTM [EOL] Review

Application Control gives us granular regulation for different types of users and how they access websites


What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is network protection from phishing attacks and web browsing attacks. It has performed extremely well, we've had zero intrusions so far.

How has it helped my organization?

We can now browse or interact with the internet with confidence, knowing we can do our jobs while being protected. We don't have to worry.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features of the solution are the subscription services that come with the product:

  • Intrusion Protection - This is pretty standard across all products.
  • WebBlocker - It used to be called WebSense. For a decent-sized organization that's a $200,000 product, and we get a fully-implemented version of that inside our product. 
  • Data Loss Prevention - This feature is really good for sorting out the loss of credit card information or other valuable information.
  • Application Control - This is fantastic with over 2,500 applications and the granularity that we can either allow people to view but not be able to log on to Facebook; or view it and log onto it if they're in the marketing department, but not play Facebook games. There are all sorts of different options like that. So it's highly granular.
  • Botnet protection - Protects against phishing attacks, which is really good.
  • Geolocation services - Allows us to filter out Russian attackers (for example) so they'll never attack our political systems.
  • APT Blocker - This is advanced malware protection
  • Reputation Enabled Defense - Indicates that some websites are so infested that it's not even worth visiting them, and therefore saving the bandwidth of going through the detection process.

And with all of those services turned on, we're still achieving about a gigabit of internet performance, which is outstanding.

On top of that, they have a reporting system which can store data over a very long period of time. Not many other firewall vendors provide a reporting system, but if they do, like Fortinet does, then you've got buy that as an additional product and that can be more than twice as expensive as the initial investment in the firewall. And without reporting over a long-term period, you're just about wasting your time.

In addition, the rate of progress of introducing new features: There's a fantastic wireless solution that provides extreme levels of security, plus user tracking/monitoring if you're a retail mall or company. The features go on and on. They just keep on coming.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's been very stable for us. We don't have any issues with the reliability at all.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

WatchGuard doesn't have a product that allows them to get into the data center. And that's just because there is no hardware to do the job. The software could do it, but there's no hardware that allows that to happen at the moment. So it doesn't scale as well as some other products, that's for sure.

How is customer service and technical support?

Tech support has worked well for us. Most of their people are really knowledgeable.

Which solutions did we use previously?

We found that the WatchGuard product appeared to offer the widest range of protection at the best price.

How was the initial setup?

It takes a bit of configuring, there's no doubt about that, because there are a lot of configuration options. That's where we get the in-depth security. It just doesn't say this side is right or this side is wrong, it looks at a lot of different metrics, so there is a fair bit to configure. But it's easy to configure, it's easy to work through the options, which makes it quite good.

It's not straightforward in the sense that you have got to know what you're doing, but it offers a lot of options to customize a solution for a particular client's needs, and our own needs. When you give that level of optimization, then you expect the setup to be just a wee bit more complex.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated a number of different brands, including Fortinet and Sophos.

What other advice do I have?

Get your advice from people who know about the particular solutions that you're looking at. There's no point in asking "Mr. Sophos" what he thinks about Fortigate or WatchGuard.

I would rate WatchGuard XTM a nine out of 10 because it achieves all of our goals at a reasonable price without compromise.

For me, there are three important criteria when selecting a vendor. They must:

  • offer the greatest level of protection
  • not to be restricted by performance 
  • provide a reporting engine that stores data over a long period of time. 

Anyone in the security industry understands that there will be intrusions at some stage, but not to have the data to go back six months and find out: "Hang on, this is where it started," is a complete disaster.

We're really happy with WatchGuard. It has worked extremely well. It has an easy to use management interface and can manage multiple units at multiple branches easily.

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