WatchGuard Firebox Valuable Features

IT Manager at a engineering company
One of my favorite features is the Geolocation service, where you can actually block specific activity or IP addresses registered to certain countries. For example, I don't want any web traffic from Russia or North Korea. I may even lock down certain policies down to "I only want U.S. IP addresses." I find that very useful. That was not a feature that was initially there for us. It was something WatchGuard released after we bought our first device with them and it is one I am very happy with. I may want to only allow U.S. IPs onto a specific interface that I share files with, for security reasons, or I may know of a security issue in a particular country. I can just block that whole country for all my users. Or maybe I'm seeing a lot of malicious links coming out of South Korea, even, and I just say, "We don't go on a lot of websites there, let me just block that country completely," and if we do need to get on a website, I'll just make an exception. It improves security and helps block malicious links. There's a little bit of a learning curve in getting everything working. But once you understand how all the pieces work, and the fact that you're using physical hardware with a web interface alongside a piece of software installed on your computer, and you learn what to do in each location, it's very user-friendly. I like the management. There are some nice dashboards and other things to keep an eye on things. There are email alerts, once you get those configured. Once again, they're a little complicated to get set up, but once they work, they work well. Management is pretty easy. The version I'm on, 12.5, came out last week. I try to stay pretty current and they do add features and improve usability and functionality often. It's one thing I've been happy with. It's not like they say, "Here are the modules you bought with it four years ago and that's all you have." They're constantly adding, developing, improving. They've done a lot of work with their SD-WAN, which we do use, to have our old internet service with our new internet service. If anything goes down on a particular interface, I can have different rules applied. Most of my users don't even know when our primary internet goes down anymore. It does run slower on our backup, but they don't know the difference unless they're doing some kind of bandwidth-intensive function or streaming. I don't have to be here to do anything to switch it to our backup internet or to switch it back. They've developed that feature even more, to allow you to have different rules for different policies or different interfaces to behave differently, depending on what happens with either packet-loss or latency, with multiple internet sources. That is pretty helpful. View full review »
IT Manager at WTS Media (Wholesale Tape & Supply)
The basic firewall features, or just the routing, are the most valuable because that's how we configure our network. The second valuable feature would be the branch office. We have five offices throughout the United States, and it coordinates the connections of those offices. And the filtering features are okay. It layers security in the sense that it does isolate different networks. I have in-house web hosting and that's more of a DMZ-type thing sitting out in the open, so that it has to be isolated from our network. It has Gateway antivirus, which is important. It has Gateway spam protection, but I've never actually seen it do anything. That could be because our regular spam filters grab it before it gets a chance to. It's not a direct user-security thing. Another level of security is that I do keep our guest WiFi network separate from our main WiFi network. Even though WatchGuard doesn't manage our WiFi, it does play the traffic-cop between those two networks and keeps them separate. It's more IP-based routing security than anything else. View full review »
Kelly Carlisle
Manager IT at a hospitality company with 501-1,000 employees
* One of the most valuable features is the Gateway AntiVirus. We scan all traffic as it's coming through. * We also use spamBlocker to scrub spam. * We use content filtering, which is critical in any corporate environment to make sure that people don't surf things they're not supposed to. * WatchGuard has a very easy VPN and branch office VPN setup, so we use those pretty extensively too. It's very easy to use. And our internet bandwidth does not exceed its throughput, so it is probably still a little overbuilt. It's definitely not a bottleneck. There is no problem with throughput. In terms of performance, WatchGuard has always worked well for us. We've gone through about six different models in the last nine years, not all at our primary site. We had a couple of satellite offices that were using smaller models. They have all worked very well. There was only one time that we had a performance issue and it turned out that it was due to a hardware replacement being required, and that was handled expeditiously. Regarding the reporting, I was in the Dimension server earlier today. It's very powerful. I like it. And the management features are easy to use. I like the fact that I can open up the System Manager client or I can just do it through the web if I'm making a quick change. View full review »
Learn what your peers think about WatchGuard Firebox. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: April 2020.
442,845 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Joseph Jansen
IT Specialist at Art Students League
What I like most is the analytical side. It's pretty simple to understand when you want to do any diagnostics on your network. If you want to go in and see what packages are having trouble getting through, what's being held, stalled, etc., it's very easy to use in that way. In terms of the usability overall, it's pretty simple but, at the same time, it's pretty full-featured in terms of what it can do. We only use part of it, only because that's where we're at right now. But for a small network, for a small organization, especially, it's a complete solution to your firewall needs. It's relatively simple for me to get into and to work with when I need to; if I need to set up an ARP table or to create different reports. For a smaller network with lesser-trained IT people - if they're lucky, they've got one IT guy trying to do it all - it's an excellent size. Whether you've got a few machines or several hundred, it's pretty simple. View full review »
Director of Information Technology at a retailer with 201-500 employees
* Among the most valuable features is the ease of use — love the interface — of both the web interface and of the WatchGuard System Manager. * It's a stable platform. The devices are pretty rock-solid. * Education: They do host regular webinars where I can go in and learn more about the product and new features. Also, the throughput is good value for the money. Our corporate office is basically shut down [due to COVID-19]. We've got 100 people who have been working from home over the last month and we're using the SSL VPN connection to get in, get authenticated, to get to our files, update passwords, etc. The throughput has been good for that. I'm impressed with the solution's reporting and management features. View full review »
Jason Markle
IT Director at a healthcare company with 1-10 employees
The policy monitoring and allowing different traffic flows are the most useful features for us; regulating which traffic comes in and out. In terms of the throughput and performance, we don't have a problem or any bottleneck there. We downgraded the size of our appliance because we're a small facility, and what we had before was actually too big. The one we are now going with seems to be doing a great job. The management feature is pretty nice. View full review »
Network Administrator at a retailer
It's hard to pick one feature over another. But if I had to pick one, the UTM would be the most valuable because of the notification. I get notified via email if there is any type of threat detection or alert, telling me something is wrong. For me personally, because I'm Cisco-Certified, it was very easy to take this over. I think it's a lot easier to work with because it's a GUI and not a CLI. I cannot speak for other users or other administrators, but it's pretty simple. Based on our needs, the throughput is pretty solid. We haven't had any issues as far as the throughput is concerned. This particular box maxes out at 2 GBs and we only have 1 GB so we haven't had any latency. I manage it using the System Manager, based on the firewall access control that I have. I've been able to manage it and use it without any problems. View full review »
Steve Rubin
President and Owner at Peak Communication Systems, Inc.
We can open or close individual ports, which most can, but I like the way that this programs. Meaning its GUI interface versus Cisco's, where their interface is still not all that great. We just become very comfortable with WatchGuard over the years because we know what to do with them. We have found it to be very usable and friendly. We can use it for identifying and hunting down. If we run into a problem for some reason, the reporting capability makes it much easier for us to ID where problems may be. Depending on what specific model you get, along with how deeply reprogrammed and restrictive we make it, their throughput is pretty good. Though, the models are all pretty close to the same. We get about an 85 to 90 percent throughput, depending on which of their security platforms we install. Some will take a little bit more and some will take a little less. View full review »
Hiro Amano
IT Manager at Yamazen Inc
The most valuable feature is the GUI, especially the real-time bandwidth usage report. Also, its integration with WiFi access points is nice. The product's usability is very good. We were using Cisco products before, and that was terrible. The difference is in integration. With Cisco we had to go into the command line to configure devices. With WatchGuard we can do everything from the GUI, so it's much easier to set up and to make sure everything is working the way we want. The throughput of the solution is good. It's also very good at reporting. I can see things graphically so I don't have to read through all the log text files. The solution provides our business with layered security. In terms of the attack vectors it secures, we have a firewall set up and it gives me reports. It also has an integrated web filtering solution. I can set up a website filter and it's all filtered in one place. I don't have to go to another solution. View full review »
Scott Morin
Owner / Sr. System Engineer at Midwest Technology Specialists LLC.
The most valuable features are: * The unified threat management bundle * Advanced threat detection and response * APT Blocker * Zero-day threat detection. With most Internet traffic being encrypted, it is much more difficult for firewalls to detect threats. Some of the advanced features, such as the APT Blocker and the advanced threat protection, use advanced logistics to look for behavioral, nonpattern related threats. And the threat detection and response has the capability of working with the endpoints to do a correlated threat detection. For most people, they don't think about one workstation having a denied access, but when multiple workstations throughout a network have requests that are denied in a short period of time, one of the only ways you can detect that something nefarious is going on is through a correlated threat detection. And WatchGuard has that capability that integrates at the endpoint level and the firewall together, giving it a much better picture of what's going on in the network. It is the single easiest firewall to troubleshoot I have ever worked with. It deploys very rapidly in the event that a catastrophic failure requires the box to be replaced. The replacement box can be put in place in a matter of minutes. Every single Firebox, regardless of its size and capability, can run the exact same management OS. Unlike some of the competitors where you have dissimilar behavior and features in the management interface, WatchGuard's uniform across the board from its smallest appliance to its very largest, making it very, very simple to troubleshoot, recover, or transition a customer to a larger appliance. It absolutely provides us with layered security. It has one of the most robust unified threat bundles available with Gateway AntiVirus, APT Blocker. It does DNS control. It does webpage reputation enabled defense. It effectively screens out a lot of the threats before the user ever has an attempt to get to them. Externally it does a very good job of identifying the most common threat vectors, as well as different transported links, attachments, and things of that nature because of the endpoint integration. It helps protect from internal and external threats, along with payload type, and zero-day threats. The cloud visibility feature has improved our ability to detect and react to threats or other issues in our network. It has improved firmware upgrades and maintenance reporting as well as investigating and detecting problems or potential threats. It has reduced my labor cost to monthly manage a firewall by 60%. View full review »
Jon Leib
Information Technology Specialist at a healthcare company with 51-200 employees
One of the most valuable features is the Geolocation. Because we aren't a multinational corporation, it allows me to look at things which might be suspicious to make sure that they are legitimate transactions rather than people sniffing around the network. I have found the reporting and management to be pretty useful a lot of times. When the reporting did come up short, it was due to a configuration error on my part. Anytime that I've had to look up historical information, I found that everything I have needed has been there and it has allowed me to piece together what happened. View full review »
IT Director at Wise Ally Holdings Limited
There wasn't one particular valuable feature. What I like is that * its pricing is competitive when compared with other brands, * it has all-in-one features for intrusion detection * it has application control * it has email control. Also, the load balancing and failover features cost only 20 percent more than a single instance of Firebox. Those are the main reasons we chose it. Because we use cloud applications like Office 365 and Salesforce, we don't want all our staff accessing the whole internet. We use the application control so that they are only able to access the company-authorized cloud applications. Because we use the firewall to monitor the external traffic as well as the internal traffic, we bought a fairly large model, the M570. We turned on most of the features and the performance is comfortable. It can reach the throughput, the performance specified on the data sheet. Also, because we bought two firewalls, which I know is not that many — not like in the retail industry where they have many firewalls in their retail stores — still, we need a central place to manage the policies and deploy them to both devices. It's good that it provides a system management console that is able to manipulate and manage policies in one place and deploy them to different locations. View full review »
Dirk Emmermacher
Network Administrator at Niedersächsischer Turner-Bund e.V.
For our requirements, WatchGuard has very good features available in its software. It is good for administrating devices. It is reliable and easy to use. Most of the time, the results are what I expected. The performance of the device is good. The time to load web pages has not been slowed down too much. With additional security features, like APT and IPS, WatchGuard Fireboxes need a moment to check the traffic. For reporting, we use the Dimension server from WatchGuard where we have many options to analyze traffic. It has a good look and feel on all websites that WatchGuard creates. All pages have the same system, so it's easy to use because the interface is uniform throughout the entire solution. We are using some of the cloud visibility features. What we use on that cloud is DNSWatch, which checks the DNS records for that site. It is a good feature that stops attacks before they come into the network. For most of our clients, we also run DNSWatchGO, which is for external users, and does a good job with threat detection and response. It is a tool that works with a special client on our workstations. View full review »
IT Manager at Horizon Forest Products
The firewall aspect and the branch office VPNs are the most valuable features. They just plain work. We don't have any issues with it. We don't have to spend a lot of time maintaining it. You set it up and, for the most part, you can forget about it. In terms of the usability: * It's user-friendly with an easy user interface. * It has a lot of features. The throughput the solution provides is good. In addition, WatchGuard provides our business with layered security. It certainly protects our network, blocks unwanted incoming traffic and, at the same time, can manage outbound traffic too. View full review »
Tyson Swank
Computer Programmer at Crestwood Inc
We are able to segment our FTP website off on the optional, setting up the rules specifically. There are certain outside IPS coming into our computers where we have different machines out there setup where technicians can remote in, etc. Being able to set those up to specific IPS, not just allowing full access, is probably our main use for setup. The usability is good. I like it. I don't have any issues. Most everything that we have tried to set up for what we use it for is pretty straightforward and easy to use. View full review »
Richard Marcin
Sr. Systems Administrator at a individual & family service with 201-500 employees
The Application Control and web blocker have been very valuable because they let me control the outgoing traffic of my users and keep them off of both productivity wasters and sources of vulnerabilities in my environment. I like the High Availability feature because it allows a firewall to fail while keeping the environment up and running. In terms of its usability, it's very straightforward to use, once you understand the way they look at a firewall and the design choices they made. The throughput the solution provides is excellent. I have not had any performance-related issues with any of the fireboxes I've used. I like their management features a lot. Their System Manager server as well the System Manager software make managing them, and tracking changes, very easy and complete. In terms of the reporting, I am just starting to look at the reports in Dimension and they look pretty well-organized and useful. View full review »
Joseph Redmond
Woodworker at Creative Woodworking NW
* Safety * Uptime The solution's reporting and management features are good. View full review »
I.T. Manager at a construction company with 201-500 employees
There are a lot of features I really like. One of them is that the interface is more intuitive for us. And the success rate has been very good for us. It's easier to use than a SonicWall. There's a learning curve with every firewall, but this one is a lot more intuitive than some of the other ones I've used. We've been very happy with the throughput and the performance the solution provides. The Dimension control, the one-spot reporting and control, has been nice. It's been easy to go in and make sure people are doing what they're supposed to be doing and that only the right stuff is getting in. It provides us with layered security. It's got a global map where you can block IP based on which country it's coming from. I haven't seen that on anything else. View full review »
Alexey Shcherbatyi
Network Administrator at Abona Deutschland GmbH
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. View full review »
John Giacco
Network Administrator at Peace Bridge
* 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. View full review »
IT Manager at a tech services company with 1-10 employees
Once it's set up, we don't have to touch it that much. We enjoy its usability very much. It's very easy to use, especially compared to similar products. A lot more users use the WatchGuard appliance now than use the SonicWall appliance because of the ease of usability. As long as you're using the correct model, since different models have different numbers of allowed tunnels, the throughput is enough. In terms of management features, we have a Dimension Server set up. It's nice to be able to see where people have gone to and when they have gone there. Overall, the solution makes it easier to manage on my side. Setting up new policies, new devices, and setting up tunnels to the current devices, is easier. The firewall secures the external perimeter. View full review »
Rick Phillips
IT Manager at IDI Distributors Inc.
The most valuable are the VPN and proxy features. We have all the sites we have to connect and that's how we do it. I've been using it for so long so I'm pretty used to it. But I think it's fairly simple to use and understand. It helps if you're an IT expert. There isn't much of a learning curve if someone has an understanding of connectivity and firewalling. If they don't, there is certainly a learning curve. The throughput is excellent. It's only limited to our bandwidth. We haven't had any trouble with throughput. The throughput of the firewall, in all cases, seems to be better than the bandwidth available. It's not the bottleneck. I don't use the reporting features a whole lot, but Dimension is pretty good. View full review »
Enterprise Architect at a health, wellness and fitness company with 10,001+ employees
* Intrusion Prevention is my primary focus so that's what I find most useful. The why is straightforward: It's to prevent intrusion. * The usability is pretty good. * The throughput of the solution is also pretty good. I think there is some throttling that occurs. * It provides me the layered security I need. View full review »
Shaun Sheng
Technical Support at Dataworld Computer Center
The most valuable feature is the Active Directory integration. WatchGuard is very easy to integrate with. The URL filtering is ok, but instead of filtering by IP addresses I usually set up filtering through Active Directory user profiles. I can import the users directly from Active Directory and create a space for a certain user or a certain group. This is something that is great because I have a lot of trouble setting this up with other products. I also liked a new feature, the WatchGuard TDR (Threat Detection and Response). This reports malware activity to the cloud. View full review »
John Rhines
Network Administrator at Advanced Software Designs
* We have firewall policies in place to keep safe from malware and we rely heavily on it for our secure VPN. * In terms of usability, the web interface is great. * The throughput is great. It's perfect. We have no issues whatsoever. * The management features are very powerful, although I don't use the reporting features at all. View full review »
Prepress/Systems Manager at a printing company with 51-200 employees
The VPN and tunnel between the two different clients. The ability to route Internet traffic to certain computers or IP addresses based on ports, etc. It provides me with ease of use, allowing navigation without having to do too much networking. It is all in a user friendly location. The product is very usable. I haven't had too many issues with it. It seems to always run and be easy to make changes to, as long as you know what you want to do. There is plenty of documentation online to how to do what you need to do. It simplifies my job because I can make any changes all in one location. I can login at the user-friendly site versus trying to do it in a programming or networking level site. View full review »
System Analyst at a transportation company
* The set up of the VPN is pretty straightforward. Being able to build VPNs on the fly for certain users, if need be, is also valuable. * The traffic monitoring is very nice. * I also like the ease of blocking certain websites from getting in or users from getting to stuff they don't need to be at. We're satisfied with the performance, as well as its reporting and management features. View full review »
Ryan Baskharoon
Operations Manager at DLL Technologies
Here are just some of the valuable features: * WebGUI * Spam blocker * Website filtering * Internet security * Tech support is amazing. * Routing and setting up VLANs. These are just some; there are so many more to go over. Depending on the customer's budget, I would always recommend WatchGuard Firebox and their other security products. They have some of the best customer service in the industry. View full review »
Mohamed Y Ahmed
Technical & Pre-Sales Manager at GateLock
The traffic management feature is very flexible and it let you manage varieties of our customer's needs as it is working per policy, for all policies, and per IP address. You can apply it also per application or application category, all in the same proxy policy. The differences between backup and restore and the configuration file allow us to perform a migration from one box to another in a single click. The security that is used for defending from the attacks is very good. As an example, for the HTTP packet, you will find botnet protection, Reputation Enabled Defense "RED" and DNSWatch "the DNS security", in addition to the AV gateway. They are all working together to protect internet access. View full review »
Owner at
The most valuable feature is if I need to control spam. I can control everything with it, anything coming in or out of my network. The controllability is phenomenal. You can control how you want things to go in and out of it. So, it is great for that. View full review »
COO/CTO at a pharma/biotech company with 11-50 employees
Default set-ups found on the WatchGuard site and via YouTube are very helpful - the screen for set-up and adding additional features are lists with checkboxes. Understand what you click before you do so. View full review »
Network Admin at a manufacturing company with 51-200 employees
The fact that it just works is one of the most valuable features. It's fairly intuitive when trying to figure out how to try to get things configured the way you need them. It either works or it doesn't, which means if you have a failure you have a chance to get things fixed. In addition, I have not noticed any throughput issues at all. The device we have will actually operate at faster technologies than we have available to us. Management of the solution is great and it also provides us with layered security. It has onboard virus scanning features that allow it to scan before something gets to the host. It will also stop a person from going to a site that is known to be bad. View full review »
Greg Selby
Network Engineer at Vanderburgh Police Department
All of its features are valuable, although we don't use the antivirus. We do use the web filter. It's also the ease of configuration that I like. In terms of usability, it just works. And the throughput is 100 Mbps. It's fine. View full review »
Roman Laminin
Technical Consultant at Rainbow Security
The most valuable feature for small and medium businesses is the support for various protocol proxies. Without any subscription, they can realize an IDS/IPS solution. View full review »
Greg Holeman
VP at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
The most valuable feature is the NAT-ing, the IP addresses. What the firewall does is that it NATs through the IP addresses for different servers. We can direct the traffic where it needs to go. We can control the traffic. It's fairly easy to use. I don't think we have any trouble with it. We've also never had any trouble with the throughput or performance. We've just recently upgraded the internet and we're getting our router upgraded. Once we get that in place, we'll see how the Firebox responds. To date, we've never had any problems. It also provides us with layered security. View full review »
Principal at a consumer goods company with 1-10 employees
* It has a good signal. * We haven't had any security issues. * The usability has been good. We haven't had any problems with it. * The performance has been good. We haven't had any issues with the performance. View full review »
VP IT at a real estate/law firm with 51-200 employees
The most valuable feature is the ease of use of the interface. The usability is good. It's a firewall, it does its job and it does it well. The throughput also seems to be good. I don't have any issues with throughput. The management features are good. View full review »
Christian Watt
Engineer/Technician/Owner at Paramount technologies
The most valuable features of this solution are live logging, rule setup and maintenance, and VPN creation. View full review »
Learn what your peers think about WatchGuard Firebox. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: April 2020.
442,845 professionals have used our research since 2012.