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WatchGuard Firebox OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

WatchGuard Firebox is #3 ranked solution in top Unified Threat Management (UTM) tools. PeerSpot users give WatchGuard Firebox an average rating of 8 out of 10. WatchGuard Firebox is most commonly compared to Fortinet FortiGate: WatchGuard Firebox vs Fortinet FortiGate. WatchGuard Firebox is popular among the large enterprise segment, accounting for 43% of users researching this solution on PeerSpot. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a comms service provider, accounting for 31% of all views.
WatchGuard Firebox Buyer's Guide

Download the WatchGuard Firebox Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: June 2022

What is WatchGuard Firebox?

WatchGuard Firebox is a unified security platform that offers organizations protection from cyber threats through a powerful network security device that controls all traffic between an external network and a trusted network. The solution is ideal for small and midsize businesses as well as for distributed enterprises. WatchGuard Firebox protects the entire network from intrusions, phishing attempts, malware, and ransomware by using cloud and virtual firewalls, AI-powered malware protection, and enhanced network visibility.

WatchGuard Firebox Features

WatchGuard Firebox has many valuable key features, including:

  • Policy management
  • Strong security
  • High performance
  • Network configuration for multiple clients
  • Built-in SD-WAN
  • Application control
  • Threat detection and response
  • Network discovery
  • Intuitive interface

WatchGuard Firebox Benefits

Some of the benefits of using WatchGuard Firebox include:

  • IT administrators can create and implement policies for content filtering, VPNs, and network inspections.
  • The solution is easy to set up, manage, and maintain.

Reviews from Real Users

Below are some reviews and helpful feedback written by WatchGuard Firebox users.

PeerSpot user Kelly C., IT Manager at a hospitality company, mentions, “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. In terms of performance, WatchGuard has always worked well for us. 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.”

A Director of Information Technology at a retailer says, “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.”

Jason M., IT Director at a healthcare company, explains, “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.” He also adds, “The management feature is pretty nice.”

Steve R., President and Owner at Peak Communication Systems, Inc., comments, "It saves us time in the respect that we now have the template built for it so we can get in and get it done. We've had much less problems supporting Voice over IP technologies from different companies. Because our client base has grown over the years, we're probably saving 20 to 30 man-hours a month now that we've got this on a good stable level."

WatchGuard Firebox Customers

Ellips, Diecutstickers.com, Clarke Energy, NCR, Wrest Park, Homeslice Pizza, Fortessa Tableware Solutions, The Phoenix Residence

WatchGuard Firebox Video

WatchGuard Firebox Pricing Advice

What users are saying about WatchGuard Firebox pricing:
  • "I spent $600 or $800 on this product and I'm paying a couple of hundred dollars a year in a subscription service to keep the lights on, on it... It works out to $100 or $200 a year if you buy several years at once. It's fair."
  • "They license it. When we buy it, we buy it with a three-year license. That's the most cost-effective way to do it. So, if you're going to buy it, then buy it with the three-year licensing."
  • "WatchGuard had a very competitive price. It was only 10 to 20 percent more than a single instance device but with that extra cost it provided a second load balancing device... unlike other brands whose method of hardware and software licensing would have doubled our cost."
  • "The primary reason that we went with Firebox was its cost. It is very economical and it provided us with all the security functions that we were looking for at the time. And the throughput was more than what we required, so it was a very cost-effective device to deploy on our network."
  • "The licensing contract we have is on a three-year basis. There aren't any costs in addition to the standard licensing fees—usually, every three years, we just purchase or renew the same license and we are okay. Every six years, we completely change the firewall, but that's the usual schema. So after three years, we just renew the licenses for another three years, and then after that particular period of time, we just purchase another firewall equivalent to the ones that we currently use."
  • "I think the larger firewall packages are much better because a normal firewall is not enough for these times. You need IPS, APT, and all the security features of a firewall that you can buy."
  • WatchGuard Firebox Reviews

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    Peter Galgano - PeerSpot reviewer
    Owner at a construction company with 51-200 employees
    Real User
    Top 20
    Competent, basic front-end; the ports that I have assigned appear to be unattainable to outsiders
    Pros and Cons
    • "The ports that I have assigned appear to be unattainable to outside 'mal-actors,' unless they have an address registered on the internet that this thing is expecting. That's a layer of security."
    • "I don't think I can get a full-blown DNS client from it. I've been trying to have DNS services. It has forwarding, but I don't get the services of a full DNS client. My main difficulty with it is that I can't run a complete service. I need NTP. I need DNS. I need DHCP for my domain, but I only get forwarding. As far as I can tell, I don't get caching and the kinds of reporting and registration needed to host a DNS for a domain. I have to have a separate solution for that."

    What is our primary use case?

    It's a perimeter device and I use it as a DNS server for my domain, but I'm not the typical user for this type of device. I'm a hobbyist when it comes to this type of product and I use it in a small office environment.

    What is most valuable?

    It's competent. There's really nothing technically wrong with it. This is just a small device, and I don't use it for intrusion monitoring. I am only using it as a basic front-end and I have port-forwarding for services behind the network. I use it to give access to some remote users. I give them access to their desktops with RDP and I have a client so they can register on the domain network with dynamic DNS. The ports that I have assigned appear to be unattainable to outside "mal-actors," unless they have an address registered on the internet that this thing is expecting. That's a layer of security.

    What needs improvement?

    I don't think I can get a full-blown DNS client from it. I've been trying to have DNS services. It has forwarding, but I don't get the services of a full DNS client. My main difficulty with it is that I can't run a complete service. I need NTP. I need DNS. I need DHCP for my domain, but I only get forwarding. As far as I can tell, I don't get caching and the kinds of reporting and registration needed to host a DNS for a domain. I have to have a separate solution for that. I also struggle with its usability a little bit. I come from an open source background, so I'm accustomed to BIND and DHCP from Linux builds. With their tools I'm struggling to have a web interface. I'm not getting a third-party web interface, so I'm using Webmin, which I have become accustomed to. You have to relearn or find services that you know are there. You have to figure out what they mean by an alias. Setting up a network interface or port-forwarding isn't necessarily using the language that I'm accustomed to. Every time you deal with a new user interface, they structure things differently. Where do you go and how do you maintain it and how do you document it? So I'm frustrated often when I get involved in vertical software where they start to brand or rename things, or they've adopted terminology. An example with WatchGuard is that every time I want to find a log, I have to search forever to find just basic logging. It's in there someplace, consistently. It's just that there isn't a button that says "logging."

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've been using Firebox for two or three years.
    Buyer's Guide
    WatchGuard Firebox
    June 2022
    Learn what your peers think about WatchGuard Firebox. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: June 2022.
    610,336 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The stability seems perfect. The last time I rebooted it was a half a year ago.  Hardware-wise, it's comparable to a Linksys consumer perimeter device. It's obviously got more bells and whistles behind it. It's some sort of ARM processor. I'm sure it's pretty low power. It sits there and idles and I can always get on it, and I can set it up with additional security to keep the ports safe.  The DNS works fine, although it's a little clumsy to find, and get at, and get set up. And I can set up some sort of VPN on it. I haven't at this point, but I've got a couple of licenses for VPN if I needed that for my home office.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    In terms of scalability, I would imagine they know what they're doing. I would imagine you could make it as big as you want it. I've seen some of their devices, with the intrusion detection, that are designed for large networks. We've got 15 or 20 devices here. At any given time, I have five active users, and they're mostly just getting Gmail or streaming music to their desktops. Our needs are really small, but I would imagine that a company like WatchGuard knows what it's doing and that they could scale it up as much as you need it to.  There's also WatchGuard Cloud. I think it's part of a subscription service and it maintains some sort of a threats database or maybe prevents users from getting on certain items. But those things are frustrating. You set them up and then people can't get where they want to go, and you have to crack the cloud on that. It's one thing if you're administering hundreds of desktops, but I can see all of mine. I know where my security problems are. When I first got the device I was thinking, "Oh, I could at least, just out of curiosity, dig into the intrusion detection and traffic monitoring stuff." I was reading some of the guides. It has the power, but it's going to start to slow network traffic at a certain point. So I just didn't pursue it anymore. My impression was that you would want to buy models that are two steps larger than this if you wanted to actually do any effective stuff.  For my purposes, I would just fire up a virtual machine, install pfSense and Snort, and figure out how that works. I could have as much hardware as I needed anytime I needed it.

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

    I had an inexpensive perimeter device, a $100 Linksys product. Behind that, I had DNS, DHCP, NTP, print servers, and my domain management. I use Samba for that. I just used whatever firewall was there. I switched to WatchGuard because I was experimenting with this VAR—he's a friend—to see if I could take what I've done and to get to know some of his tags and put some sort of a service agreement on my infrastructure, through his resources. We talked about it and they were seemingly interested. They do documentation or I might bring them in to do some of the coding projects I suffer with. My experience has been, in my unique situation, that when I end up bringing somebody in from a third-party, it's more work to train them. You're training somebody from a VAR and they are going to charge $150 an hour or so. That's a pretty healthy investment. The training would take a lot of my time. If I take that time and just solve my problem on my own, I get a two-for-one. I don't have to pay for it outside the company. But that's why I was bringing in this WatchGuard device in my particular situation. I was just experimenting and seeing if I could find a guy at this VAR whom I felt was worth investing more in, and having him be a third-party to maintain my system if it goes down or I get hit by a bus.

    How was the initial setup?

    I had to learn it. I had to find where they put stuff. It took minutes to get the thing up and operating. I started to configure DHCP and puzzle through what they meant by that, and find ways to identify what leases were there and if it was able to register with this other DNS server I have on it. I've fussed with it any number of times, setting up the port-forwarding for the RDP clients. I knew where to go and what to do, and I got that working pretty quickly. But that was one of the situations where I needed to see a log to see what was happening—it wasn't answering—and to find out what the function was, I had to find the log. It took me an age to find the log. Once I found out what was being rejected, then I figured it out. I've had a couple of bouts of that.

    What about the implementation team?

    The VAR came in—they charged me plenty, a couple of hundred dollars—to set the thing up. He put the thing down. I said, "How do I get onto it?" He made an account for me on it, but it wasn't, by design, to be user-configurable. Normally, they would configure it from their side and every time I would want to make a change I would have to call them. Then I asked him about the DNS , and he said, "Well, is this it?" He didn't really know it very well. He was just a mid-level tech for a VAR who can set the things up in their base configuration, but he couldn't answer any questions. From there, it was me. I can't get support from the WatchGuard group itself because they work through the VARs. So I'm looking at those websites that have server guys who talk about things that frustrate them, to find where the DNS is. Even now, I can't easily find logging. I have to search for it every time I want to see a log. The frustration I have with these devices is that they're put together in a certain way and you've got to learn where they want you to go to get what you want.

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

    I spent $600 or $800 on this product and I'm paying a couple of hundred dollars a year in a subscription service to keep the lights on, on it. I imagine there's some aspect of it that I won't be able to utilize if it goes off of support. For what it is—for example, for a doctors' office building or a situation with remote offices and no tech guy on staff—it's perfect. It has antivirus subscription services, IPS, web blocker, file exception, spam blocker, application control, reputation defense, botnet detection. It works out to $100 or $200 a year if you buy several years at once. It's fair. But when you get into the intrusion detection and gateway stuff, it can be fairly expensive and you're going to need more expensive hardware.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    I looked at a lot of stuff. I'm familiar with pfSense. I have used that a little bit here and there over the years, so if I went to an open-source solution I would go straight to that. And I looked at the professional versions and this one had a $700, three-year service contract on it and it handled VPN. The VAR supported it and they like it. I don't really feel that it improves anything compared to a more common firewall device. It's certainly less capable or less configurable compared to something like a pfSense, an open source perimeter device that can be integrated with intrusion detection and network monitoring on a computer or on a virtual machine-type of setting. The thing that the Firebox adds is it's managed and a VAR can support it. It's a known entity. It's supportable, whereas it's more difficult to support a pfSense-type of setup. You pretty much have to maintain the latter yourself. It's there for a reason. It's there for VARs to be able to put in a known device that they can train on and the user doesn't need to manage it much. In my circumstances, I'm the IT guy of the company, and it's a small company. I'm also the owner and I understand this stuff. It's somewhat of a hobby for me to be able to configure and have a competent domain, without having to pay a VAR tens of thousands of dollars a year, and without having to pay subscription services. I'm not the targeted client for it. I'm more like the hobbyist and the super-geeks who use open source, freely available tools. The types of people who need this sort of service shouldn't listen to me. A hobbyist would never touch this product.

    What other advice do I have?

    Use it. It's very unlikely that a perimeter device is going to be cracked unless you leave something really crazy open. Most consumers are going to have some sort of perimeter device involved with their internet delivery and they're going to have some sort of a reasonably clean plug, with some port forwarding for their outbound connections coming into their network. And then if they're geeks, they're going to set up a pfSense virtual machine or get a little ARM processor. I wanted to have a physical device at the network that I could just glare at. But you can set up a perimeter device with hardware, pfSense, or virtual pfSense, in the back of a 20-year-old computer. As long as you're careful about how you set up your routing, it's as effective as anything. In terms of its throughput, we barely use it. All we're really doing is using it as a perimeter device and gateway. It's just fine. It's a tiny little thing. It has two interfaces plus the WAN interface. It's fine for what I do. I trust it being maintained. And until I got to the point of wanting to use it for domain monitoring, and traffic shaping or IDS-type of stuff, it really didn't require any processing power. It's competent for that. It's a firewall so it provides my business with layered security. But it's got additional options, many of which you have to pay for. My device is too low-powered to efficiently host any of that stuff. I'd probably have to upgrade hardware in order to do the layered security types of things, and I would probably have to pay a fairly expensive subscription. For the cost, if I got to the point where I was going to make a change, I would probably go to an open source tool, and suffer through that too, but get it to the point where I could do pretty much anything I wanted with it. I should be in a situation where I have somebody else maintaining this stuff and not doing it myself. If that was the case, I would use a device just like this. But if I'm still playing around with the nuts and bolts of IT management in my company, then I'm probably going to revert to an open source tool again. Firebox is 10 out of 10 at what it does. In terms of usefulness and reducing frustration, at my level, it's a three. It's not targeted for me, but it's good at what it does. Overall I would rate it at eight. I don't have a bad thing to say about the hardware and the software, for what it is. It's just frustrating for my particular use case.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    President and Owner at Peak Communication Systems, Inc.
    Reseller
    Top 20
    Its stability and reliability help us save time and man-hours
    Pros and Cons
    • "It saves us time in the respect that we now have the template built for it so we can get in and get it done. We've had much less problem supporting Voice over IP technologies from different companies. Because our client base has grown over the years, we're probably saving 20 to 30 man-hours a month now that we've got this on a good stable level."
    • "The pricing could be improved. It is definitely one of the more expensive products."

    What is our primary use case?

    We use it in my company and for my clients as well. We sell Internet access, so we use them as a firewall to hopefully protect our clients. We work with one of our partners, who is a certified WatchGuard engineer, and have come up with a fairly good plan to get these completely fired up and working. That makes a huge difference.

    We're now up to the 7 Series. We've gone through WatchGuard 3 Series, 5 Series, and 6 Series. So, we've gone through several different versions over the years.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Firebox's reporting and management features have been very helpful to us. Unfortunately, we don't always have them turned on at the right time. That's something we have to be aware of. However, once they're turned on, they seem to do really well in identifying things across the board for us. We can usually hunt down problems very quickly and go from there.

    The solution provides our business with layered security.

    We do most of our services now as Voice over IP services. We do not do computer services. We have been able to slowly pair down exactly what we need to program within Firebox to give us the best quality of service for our customers. 

    What is most valuable?

    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.

    What needs improvement?

    The pricing could be improved. It is definitely one of the more expensive products, though you can't really compare it to Ubiquiti or SonicWall.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    About 15 years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Its stability and reliability make it a good product for us.

    Over the last 15 years, there has been only one Firebox in which we've had any hardware problems and one box in which we have had a software problem. In both cases, WatchGuard overnighted a new box to us so we had it the next day, then we were able to repair or replace, as necessary.

    They seem to be fairly stable. Like anything else, it's an electronic device that can last for 10 minutes or 10 years.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    They have put together a good process where we can go in and see, based on the processor power of Firebox, which one we would want to use on what circuit size. They have it from very small to extremely large.

    We have four telephone technicians in the company who have had the training and capability to work on Firebox.

    For us, a large environment is somebody with 250 or 300 users inside the company.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Our partner has used their support. It's really good support. If they don't answer immediately, they get back to you very quickly, usually in less than an hour.

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

    We see cases where several of our clients are switching from a different firewall to WatchGuard. With Cisco, it depends on who's supporting it. SonicWall seems to give us a bit more problems when it comes to interfacing with IP telephone devices or if we're doing SIP trunking.

    How was the initial setup?

    Firebox stabilizes it so we know we get better support for the platform and user when it comes to Voice over IP. We find a lot of them don't give us the ease of setting it up. Now that we know we have it down to what we're doing so the platform stays stable, we can imply good quality of service for the customer and keep going on so they continually get good performance on their network.

    In the beginning to set this solution up, it takes four to six hours. That is to get a brand new one out of the box and make sure it's got all the latest and greatest revisions on it, then setting it up. That also depends on the size of the client that you are supporting with it.

    We have a template built for it. Once we upload the template, we go in and adjust it accordingly.

    We have a few Fireboxes deployed to distributed locations, not a lot. However, it does work well in a distributed environment. We have one customer who has five offices in five different states. He has Firebox for all of them and it seems to work pretty well.

    Deploying to distributed locations is easy enough. We have a template. We just get the IP addresses for the network and update the template, so it has the appropriate addresses. We can either have one of their folks do it because this happens to be a tech company, not necessarily IT. However, a tech company is knowledgeable enough. We can send it out there and tell them what to plug in where and turn it on. Then, if we're really lucky, it comes up without any problems at all because we've already set it all up before we take it out to them. So, the deployment becomes easy depending on how you want to address it. There have been times where we've gone out to deploy them in different locations. Most of the time, depending on the company, we can set it up to deploy, then just plug and play.

    What about the implementation team?

    Make sure you have a good, qualified, trained engineer to help you initially get it set up. I do not recommend you doing it on your own unless you're somewhat trained in the terminology and capabilities of the particular product.

    We have an engineering specialist, who has been certified by WatchGuard, secure attack vectors for us.

    Once we get done putting the solution in and getting it set, there are times that the local IT support may be different from ours. They may go in and make a few minor tweaks to it. We try to keep that to a minimum because it is just one of those situations where we would like not to have too many hands in the pot.

    What was our ROI?

    It saves us time in the respect that we now have the template built for it so we can get in and get it done. We've had much less problem supporting Voice over IP technologies from different companies. Because our client base has grown over the years, we're probably saving 20 to 30 man-hours a month now that we've got this on a good stable level.

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

    They license it. When we buy it, we buy it with a three-year license. That's the most cost-effective way to do it. So, if you're going to buy it, then buy it with the three-year licensing. Only the person buying it can determine which level of licenses they have. That's something to truly consider.

    There are no additional costs unless you choose their advanced licenses or different levels that they have for security. You can add on more security licenses with what you have in Microsoft today, but we have not been adding those on.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    Our experience has been that Firebox actually performs a little better than some of its competitors as far as throughput goes. However, it depends on how much of their security software you get loaded, because they have different versions.

    We have used other products. We've used SonicWall, Ubiquiti, and Cisco PIX. My personal favorite happens to be WatchGuard. Also, if we compare WatchGuard against Ubiquiti or Cisco PIX Firewalls, its ability to add multiple IP addresses and ports is much simpler than those. I can run several different networks off of ports that come on the hardware device. Depending on the model, there are anywhere from four to eight ports on the device, so you can plug it in at different levels.

    What other advice do I have?

    It is a great piece of hardware.

    The learning curve for this solution depends on your background. If you have some technology background, implementing it will probably be okay. They have a WatchGuard academy. If you have no background at all, I wouldn't suggest you do it. In comparison, when you get trained with Cisco, there are several different classes to go through and each class is several hours long.

    I would rate it as a nine or nine point five out of 10.

    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller.
    Buyer's Guide
    WatchGuard Firebox
    June 2022
    Learn what your peers think about WatchGuard Firebox. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: June 2022.
    610,336 professionals have used our research since 2012.
    Scott Morin - PeerSpot reviewer
    Owner / CEO at Midwest Technology Specialists LLC.
    Consultant
    Top 5
    Enables us to drop a lot of traffic and reduce a lot of load on otherwise poorly performing Internet connection
    Pros and Cons
    • "As a whole, it has a very low requirement for ongoing interaction. It's very self-sufficient. If properly patched, it has very high reliability. The total cost of ownership once deployed is very low."
    • "The data loss protection works well, but it could be easier to configure. The complexity of data loss protection makes it a more difficult feature to fully leverage. Better integration with third-party, two-factor authentication would be advantageous."

    What is our primary use case?

    Our primary use cases are for the firewall and for limited routing for small to medium-sized businesses. 

    How has it helped my organization?

    I had a client that was saturated with RDP, remote desktop attempts, while using a standard low, consumer-grade firewall. Putting in WatchGuard allowed me to drop a lot of that traffic and reduce a lot of load on their otherwise poorly performing Internet connection.

    Reporting PCI and HIPAA compliance reporting, firmware updates, cloud-based firmware updates all make for visibility within the client site much easier. I can provide comprehensive reporting on user activity and user behavior which goes along with user productivity. It has excellent mobile SSL VPN capabilities that have allowed for very rapid deployment of remote workers during our current situation.

    As a whole, it has a very low requirement for ongoing interaction. It's very self-sufficient. If properly patched, it has very high reliability. The total cost of ownership once deployed is very low.

    It absolutely saves us time. All firewalls can be deployed with a very basic configuration in a reasonable amount of time. The uniform way in which WatchGuard can be managed allows for the deployment of much more comprehensive configurations more quickly. When it comes to troubleshooting and identifying any kind of communication issue, they use a hierarchal policy layout. It allows you to manipulate the order of precedence, simplifying troubleshooting by tenfold. Compared to a competitor, I spend less than 10% of the amount of time on WatchGuard that a similar task would take on a Meraki, a FortiGate, or a SonicWall.

    What is most valuable?

    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%.

    What needs improvement?

    The data loss protection works well, but it could be easier to configure. The complexity of data loss protection makes it a more difficult feature to fully leverage. Better integration with third-party, two-factor authentication would be advantageous.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using WatchGuard Firebox for fifteen years. 

    We mostly use the T series: T30s, T70s, some M3, and 400 series.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It is the most stable firewall I work with. The incidence of failure is very low, maybe once every two years.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    It's very scalable. Because it has the unified configuration interface and the unified tools, or the common tools that are used from the smallest to the lowest, a ton of time and configuration, and thereby money, is saved during an upgrade, for example. The time to take an upgrade to a new appliance is a fraction of the time it would be with a competitor because of the direct portability of the configuration from the prior firewall.

    We have one engineer and one part-time technician to maintain approximately 75 WatchGuards for limited, physical installations and onsite. It is very reasonable for one or two engineers to manage 200 to 300 WatchGuards. It's very reasonable.

    We have just a single location in which we do use the T70 box and WatchGuard is in place at 95% of our clientele. We do not replace viable commercial-grade solutions until such time that they are ending their licensing or whatever. We do not replace FortiGates or SonicWalls while they're still viable. However, when the opportunity to replace one arises, it is our first suggestion to the client.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    I do not or have not had to use technical support very often, but I find it to be excellent. They're very responsive and very knowledgeable. I get engineers from a similar time zone. They're very skilled engineers and very invested in end-user satisfaction. Even though they are 100% channel-driven, they take end-users satisfaction very seriously.

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

    The complexity of configuring a Sonic Wall, for example, is much, much greater than that of a WatchGuard. Identical tasks can be completed in a WatchGuard in a fraction of the time as a SonicWall. When comparing similar models, the performance of Meraki is far inferior to the WatchGuard. Its capabilities are inferior to WatchGuard. It's a simple cloud interface. Meraki's simple cloud interface is probably more appropriate for a less experienced engineer. FortiGate lacks some advanced features that WatchGuard has, but my predominant issue with FortiGate is that when all the unified threat management utilities are enabled, performance on FortiGate is inferior. Although it has capabilities, when fully enabled it does not perform as well as WatchGuard.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup is very straightforward. I'm able to deploy a standard template after activating the device. The activation is very simple and takes just a few minutes. Then a base configuration can be applied once the firmware has been updated and a box can be prepared for initial deployment within 7 to 10 minutes after it boots. 

    It took 45 minutes to set up.

    In terms of the implementation strategy, I have an implementation baseline of minimum acceptable settings and then it is adjusted based on client needs.

    We deploy it to distributed locations in one of two ways. The device can be drop-shipped to the user or the endpoint and a cloud configuration deployment can be pushed to the box. My preferred method is to receive the box, perform a firmware update and a base configuration, and then ship the box.

    I would recommend working with a partner for an expert-level deployment. It greatly reduces the time to deploy it. An experienced engineer can then deploy the product very rapidly and can often provide instruction on how best to maintain the product. But otherwise, the deployment is very straightforward.

    What was our ROI?

    They are very low maintenance, they have a very high rate of my end-user satisfaction. I'm able to provide excellent levels of service to my end-users and my customers. I would say that they have a very high value and a good return on the investment.

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

    Generally speaking, I find the three years of live and total security to be the best option. By going with their total security, you do get the endpoint protection component of the threat detection and response. Typically the trade-in options, depending on your prior firewall, are options that they should request or pursue when dealing with their provider. Those programs are usually available, but they're not always offered by a provider unless you ask.

    What other advice do I have?

    I would rate WatchGuard Firebox a ten out of ten. 

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    FelixCheung - PeerSpot reviewer
    IT Director at Wise Ally Holdings Limited
    Real User
    Top 20
    Enables us to control what kind of applications each staff member and department is able to access, but UI is not user-friendly
    Pros and Cons
    • "Because we bought two firewalls... 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."
    • "The UI is not as user-friendly as the model that I had used before, which was from Check Point. The design of the Firebox UI is restricted and needs an experienced network guy to understand the format and settings."

    What is our primary use case?

    The purpose is to enhance the application control and internet access control of our company in our office and factory.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Firebox provides our business with layered security. Before implementing the firewall, we didn't have any control over application access. Now, by using the Firebox, we can control each staff member and department and what kind of application they're able to access on the internet, especially with the popularity of cloud SaaS systems. It has really reduced the degree of risk in accessing those unauthorized, and potentially risky, destinations. WatchGuard provides a pre-built database that can protect against gambling domains, for example. But the accuracy of that database still needs to be improved because, in many cases, the categorization of the website is not exact.

    It has also helped with productivity. It reduces the time our networking staff spends implementing things. It has saved about 20 percent of our time. We're also doing more control than before, so we have made some effort to configure the policies, which was something we'd never done before. Previously, we didn't have any control, so we didn't have to spend time configuring or troubleshooting application control policies.

    What is most valuable?

    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.

    What needs improvement?

    The reporting features are not as flexible as I thought before I bought it. You can retrieve some simple statistics from the centralized reporting server. But let's say I want to look at the volume of internet access among our staff. There are no out-of-the-box reports or stats or any unit of measurement that show internet access for particular staff. There is no report that shows how long they're on or the volume of traffic, especially in a particular period. It's not necessary that it have very modern BI analytics, but at this point I'm a little bit disappointed with the reporting. One of the purposes of implementing the firewall was to do more application control and reduce the risk involved in employees accessing the internet. We want to measure and know how much time of our staff spends accessing and browsing and using internet resources.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We bought WatchGuard Firebox last year and implemented it in our Hong Kong office and China-based factory. In the factory we have larger coverage and we use the M570. For our Hong Kong office we use the M370.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It's stable. So far, there have been no incidents.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Our case is quite straightforward. We only use two nodes. We still need to expand to one or two more factory locations, as well as our office. We will scale out the same solution.

    I do have previous experience in the retail industry. In that industry, where you need to implement many firewalls in multiple retail stores, I doubt the management tools of the Firebox would be able to scale out for that use case. But for our use case it's good.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    We haven't had any issues so we haven't contacted their technical support. It's been quite stable over the year since we implemented it.

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

    There was no application control in our old solution and we wanted to reduce the risk of being attacked from outside. So we looked for a UTM model and the cost-benefit of the WatchGuard Firebox was one of the best.

    I did a little bit marketing research locally and listened to recommendations from some partners in Hong Kong.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was quite straightforward. It's a typical UTM.

    Our implementation took about two months.

    In terms of our deployment strategy, we implemented one of the firewalls. We replaced our old firewall, enabling only the internet access and left the major email traffic access. Then we defined the control by defining more specific application policies. Once it was successful, we used the same method to deploy the other firewall to our China side.

    We have one person who maintains the Fireboxes, but it's really less than one because he does other administration and is not only dedicated to firewall administration. We have about 100 people in the Hong Kong office and on the factory side there are 400.

    What about the implementation team?

    We had one internal staff member and an external consultant from BARO International for the deployment. Our experience with BARO was good. They understood our requirements and were able to translate them into an actual solution and deploy it.

    What was our ROI?

    We have seen ROI using WatchGuard.

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

    We needed a firewall to control our internal network and the external access and we needed to implement load balancing and failover as well. Going with WatchGuard "increased" our budget.

    WatchGuard had a very competitive price. It was only 10 to 20 percent more than a single instance device but with that extra cost it provided a second load balancing device and the licensing scheme didn't charge double. They only charge for one license, unlike other brands whose method of hardware and software licensing would have doubled our cost. That was a major consideration.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We looked at Juniper, Check Point, and one more that was the most expensive.

    The usability of the Firebox is good. But the UI is not as user-friendly as the model that I had used before, which was from Check Point. The design of the Firebox UI is restricted and needs an experienced network guy to understand the format and settings. When I used the Check Point a few years ago, the UI usually guided me on how to define a policy from the source to the target, and what the objects were, and how to group objects, and everything could be seen from a simple, table-based web UI. 

    The interface of the Firebox is clumsier. The settings are like a tree structure, and you need to drill down to each node in order to get to the property. It serves the same purposes, but I won't memorize all the settings. A more user-friendly user interface would reduce the number of things I need to memorize and guide me in configuring policies. It's quite good, but is not the best I have seen.

    The other brands provide more professional features for reporting, the application control, and the scalability. But the strong point of WatchGuard is their all-in-one features that are suitable for our size of company and our budget.

    What other advice do I have?

    WatchGuard is not the best. We already knew that, but it comes with most of the features we need. Although it's not the most user-friendly, we sacrificed that to keep the core features to increase our control while maintaining our budget. Honestly, there are no particular features of the WatchGuard that impressed me to say, "I must choose a WatchGuard." But when I needed several things to come together, then I really had no choice.

    I would rate WatchGuard Firebox at seven out of 10. It's good, it's better than a six, but from the management point of view, it has not totally satisfied my expectations so it's below an eight or nine.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    Marlon Sealey - PeerSpot reviewer
    I.T. Co-ordinator at National Lotteries Control Board
    Real User
    Top 20
    Allows us to manage VLANs and to review and determine what traffic we want to allow or deny
    Pros and Cons
    • "Two of the functionalities we use most are the traffic monitoring and the full panel dashboard. Those are two things that are very useful for us... In addition, it provides us with layered security. It allows us to determine what types of access, to which networks, we want to allow or deny."
    • "I would like to have a little more control over access points and the ability to see the bandwidth that is passing through a specific access point. We are not able to see that. We can see what traffic is passing through the Firebox itself, but we can't identify if it is coming from a particular access point or not."

    What is our primary use case?

    We use them for perimeter security and also to manage virtual LANs.

    How has it helped my organization?

    The main benefit for us is the ability to manage the VLANs. It allows us to monitor types of traffic and to actually review and determine what traffic we want to allow and deny. It also allows us to modify the categories of restrictions that need to be applied.

    It has also simplified some of the processes that we have. For example, we were having some issues in identifying where most of our bandwidth was being used up, which devices and which users, and what they were using the bandwidth to do. Were they watching videos or were they looking at some other bandwidth-intensive site or application? We have been able to determine user behavior on the network.

    We are quite happy with the Firebox. It really helps us with the ease of managing firewalls at other locations. It has really helped us save time by not having to go to other locations. We have devices at two smaller offices, where we don't have IT staff. It has allowed us to remotely manage and update the firewalls at those locations. It's saving us at least four hours a week.

    I don't think it has helped improve productivity in terms of efficiency, but it has enabled us to improve the security of the network. We don't have to worry as much about where the users are going. And if a user was blocked, it will let us know why they were blocked, what category of trip was being blocked, or what policy it was blocked under. Even if our staff is going to a legitimate site, but the site is under a wrong category, it allows us to put that site on our exemption list to allow it.

    It has also really helped us with our management and to monitor internet usage. Our department is just three people and it has made it very easy for us to manage.

    What is most valuable?

    • Two of the functionalities we use most are the traffic monitoring and the full panel dashboard. Those are two things that are very useful for us.
    • It's very easy to use. The interface does not present a challenge for the user. It is a great device for small businesses with up to 500 users. It allows easy management of all devices from one central device and updates are very easy as well.
    • The performance is also very good. The throughput is excellent. I've not had any issues with that so far.
    • The reporting and management features are excellent. They're easy to navigate and very intuitive, and reports are easy to read.
    • In addition, it provides us with layered security. It allows us to determine what types of access, to which networks, we want to allow or deny.
    • We also like the site-to-site VPN that allows us to connect to and securely access devices at other locations.

    What needs improvement?

    I would like to have a little more control over access points and the ability to see the bandwidth that is passing through a specific access point. We are not able to see that. We can see what traffic is passing through the Firebox itself, but we can't identify if it is coming from a particular access point or not.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We have used WatchGuard Firebox for seven years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The Firebox is very stable. We have not had a failure over the seven years we've used them.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    In terms of scalability, we would need to add another device to the M300 that we have right now. I know there are models of Firebox that you can actually add hardware to, to get them scaled up and for additional portals. But the one that we have, in terms of subscription, is very scalable in terms of features, and it integrates with WatchGuard's central interface where it can update our firmware as the updates come out.

    What we want to do is put in some more redundancy in our network access. We want to have a second Firebox at each location. We have two ISPs at each location, so instead of both ISPs going to one Firebox, we want to split the ISPs between the two Fireboxes and have load balancing through the internet on firewalls.

    We have 100 employees at our head office, and we have 10 employees at our sub-offices. In terms of devices, we probably have about 150 devices, including printers and computers at our head office, and about 12 devices at each of our sub-offices.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    We used the technical support once, when we had some issues with employees trying to access legitimate sites. That is when we learned about setting exemptions for certain sites. A company might be a travel site, for instance, but due to the amount of advertising they do, it might be flagged as an advertising site. To resolve that issue, when it's a legitimate site that does a lot of advertising, you can go to support for help in figuring that out, and also for help in putting necessary exemptions in place. 

    The support was very professional. They were very patient, and they explained the issues and the solutions fully.

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

    I don't have a lot of experience with other firewalls. There was a Cisco Certified office that I was exposed to before we moved to the WatchGuard Firebox. It felt like the WatchGuard was a lot easier to use, and easier to set up than the Certified Office device.

    The primary reason that we went with Firebox was its cost. It is very economical and it provided us with all the security functions that we were looking for at the time. And the throughput was more than what we required, so it was a very cost-effective device to deploy on our network.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup of Firebox was straightforward. It was not complex.

    For our deployment we configured all three access points at one location, our head office, and tested them in that one environment. Then, at the various offices, it was just a matter of changing the IP address. We had one technician go to one office and another technician go to the other office to install the Fireboxes and connect them to the network. As they were plugged in, they connected and it provided the service that we wanted from day one. We didn't have to do too many reconfigurations. The policies that come with it out-of-the-box provide adequate network protection, and we just had to put in special policies to allow various types of traffic, either both ways or one way, to various ports on the firewall. We didn't have many problems in getting them up and running at each office.

    Deployment took one day at each location. Overall, we were able to prepare the Fireboxes and test them in less than a week. We prepared everything at one location, did the testing on the second day, and on the third and fourth days we went to the other two office locations to install them.

    What was our ROI?

    With the Firebox solutions we have had a lot more accessibility, in the network, to our third-party vendors and suppliers. Prior to that, we did not have a direct connection to those companies, but with the Firebox we were able to configure a DMZ, and that allowed us to apply the granular restrictions that we really wanted. It allowed us to reduce the number of devices that we have on one desk, at certain workstations. Instead of having the supplier's computer and our computer, we were able to use just one computer, and connect to the supplier.

    What other advice do I have?

    Going with the Firebox is a no-brainer. It provides the necessary security, out-of-the-box, for your configuration of the policies. It's very easy to use and it also gives you a reporting dashboard that can be customized. It makes a lot of sense out of all the data. It's very easy to read. We use a 40-inch display in our office and have it connected to the Firebox so that we can see what's going on on the network. We can look at it and see how the traffic is going through it.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    ICT Manager at a maritime company with 11-50 employees
    Real User
    Easy to deploy and it provides useful data on threats
    Pros and Cons
    • "All of the features have been valuable. There's nothing on my M270 that I'm not using. If you have remote access, you can see how many users are coming from the outside world to be connected to the systems, through the virus systems that we have behind the firewall, in order to gain access to their files and do their work. We can also see how long they stay online and whether these connections are closed forcefully or for any other reasons, such as a glitch or some kind of misbehavior, to see if internet traffic is optimized and if that particular traffic is under company policies, concerning which websites were visited."
    • "There's always room for improvement, especially if the threats are getting more sophisticated and the IT department cannot sufficiently meet this kind of sophistication with their own knowledge and experience. Knowing that this solution can get up to the level of addressing a lot of these threats is something that everybody wishes for. If we look at the dark web and the lawful web, they are two opposites, and if these two good and bad collide in the world of the internet, you want the best possible product—especially if you cannot get to that point of knowledge. I am just an individual and end user, with limited knowledge of usage. That's why I say there's always room for improvement, from their side and also from mine, because by knowing exactly what they can achieve and the knowledge that they can get on an everyday basis, and the portion that is understandable to me, it's an improvement for them as well."

    What is our primary use case?

    We primarily use WatchGuard Firebox like a typical firewall, to protect ourselves from outside and inside threats. 

    I have the WatchGuard Firebox M270, deployed on-premise. 

    How has it helped my organization?

    WatchGuard Firebox improved our organization by acting as a firewall, with all the specific components of one. If you have an antiviral solution, you can see how many were blocked; from where they were blocked; what the statistics are on the areas that the attacks came from; and if there are attempts, or if they do get through the firewall, where they came from and where they went. You know exactly what to look for, to see if there is any kind of penetration inside your system, or if anything has been compromised, and you can take any measurements against these threats. 

    What is most valuable?

    All of the features have been valuable. There's nothing on my M270 that I'm not using. If you have remote access, you can see how many users are coming from the outside world to be connected to the systems, through the virus systems that we have behind the firewall, in order to gain access to their files and do their work. We can also see how long they stay online and whether these connections are closed forcefully or for any other reasons, such as a glitch or some kind of misbehavior, to see if internet traffic is optimized and if that particular traffic is under company policies, concerning which websites were visited. 

    What needs improvement?

    There's always room for improvement, especially if the threats are getting more sophisticated and the IT department cannot sufficiently meet this kind of sophistication with their own knowledge and experience. Knowing that this solution can get up to the level of addressing a lot of these threats is something that everybody wishes for. If we look at the dark web and the lawful web, they are two opposites, and if these two good and bad collide in the world of the internet, you want the best possible product—especially if you cannot get to that point of knowledge. I am just an individual and end user, with limited knowledge of usage. That's why I say there's always room for improvement, from their side and also from mine, because by knowing exactly what they can achieve and the knowledge that they can get on an everyday basis, and the portion that is understandable to me, it's an improvement for them as well. 

    Most of the features that I have right now are more than okay with me, but something like a better interface is always worth suggesting. Also, things like computer-based training on firewalls and specific solutions—especially in things that have been deployed on every new version—is usually something that we need to see in order to understand what, exactly, these people have created for us. 

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been a WatchGuard user since 2004. 

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    This solution is stable. 

    I am the only one who maintains the firewall—we don't have a team to handle it. 

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    This solution has been scalable to the level that my company wants. 

    Behind the firewall, we have 60 users. On a daily basis, there are approximately 40 to 45 users in the office: they are people from the purchasing department, technical department, accounting department, operation department, etc. 

    How are customer service and support?

    In general, their support is okay, and nothing fancy. We have had a few chats and a few cases on several things that I wanted to do by myself, but needed some guidance on. The speed is not the speed of light, but we are getting through to what we want to have within a day or so. 

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

    I don't have any comparison to make with a solution that's on the same level as WatchGuard Firebox. We had some experience with all of the Cisco firewalls, but they didn't have the same level of security that we have with our existing firewall. Those were quite old, so I cannot really compare that old technology with something that is so new. 

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was quite straightforward because we are a small company. We have 50 people working at this company, so it's a rather small installation with no fancy or complex configuration. The deployment took an hour or so, but from that point on, there have been numerous hours of work to get up to the point we're at now with our firewall solution. 

    It's quite easy to deploy because the initial installation doesn't involve many fancy things. Out of the box, it's quite clear that it has features that need to be blocked, and these features have already been blocked by default, to help anybody deploying this solution. It's like having 35%-40% of your configuration ready, so you only need to add another 25%-30% to reach approximately 70% of your full configuration, which takes no more than a couple of hours. The additional 30% are the small, exact things and the prediction correction, the things that are usually done on a firewall solution in the following hours, days, months, years by the users of the device. However, you can reach the level that you personally believe in, 100%, within a matter of days if you know exactly what you need to do. 

    What about the implementation team?

    I implemented this solution all by myself, since I was lucky enough to have basic firewall knowledge. Our implementation strategy was to get to the level, as fast as possible, where I could meet the minimum requirements of the company, concerning its firewall policy. 

    What was our ROI?

    I have definitely seen a return on investment. To be exact, you cannot really value the return of investment on this kind of product because an IT product usually delivers services that cannot really be measured in money. Rather, it can be measure in things that we can do and things that we cannot do. So, money-wise, you cannot really measure it, but if I'm measuring it on things that I wanted to achieve with a device, there was a 100% return back. 

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

    The licensing contract we have is on a three-year basis. There aren't any costs in addition to the standard licensing fees—usually, every three years, we just purchase or renew the same license and we are okay. Every six years, we completely change the firewall, but that's the usual schema. So after three years, we just renew the licenses for another three years, and then after that particular period of time, we just purchase another firewall equivalent to the ones that we currently use.

    What other advice do I have?

    I rate WatchGuard Firebox an eight out of ten. 

    This is a solid device and it delivers what it says. It doesn't do fancy or extraordinary things, but it does delivery exactly what it's supposed to deliver. 

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    Flag as inappropriate
    Network Administrator at Niedersächsischer Turner-Bund e.V.
    Real User
    Visually able to see what policies are most in use and which traffic was blocked
    Pros and Cons
    • "The solution simplifies my business. Normally, for administration, we are using NetApp System Manager on Window since it's easy to create new policies. In a short amount of time, you can create new policies based on new requirements. For example, in the last few months, many requirements changed due to the coronavirus, adding the use of new services, like Office 365, and eLearning tools, like Zoom."
    • "Sometimes I would like to copy a rule set from one box to another box in a direct way. This is a feature that is not present at the moment in WatchGuard."

    What is our primary use case?

    We use it to protect our web stations and service. 

    We established a branch office VPN to our branch office. Since last month, we have added Mobile VPN tunnels to our headquarter.

    How has it helped my organization?

    We have the ability to use it for connecting to our terminal services, then to the Fireboxes, so we can create user-based policies, which are very important at this time. We can control who has access to management servers and machines that are not for general use by users.

    We use a normal packet server. We are also using a proxy service and IPS, so all features are possible with these devices. We have seen many attacks from specific IP addresses that were all blocked. Most times, these were IPS traffic port scans. All this traffic is normally blocked from our side.

    The solution simplifies my business. Normally, for administration, we are using Watchguard System Manager on Windows since it's easy to create new policies. In a short amount of time, you can create new policies based on new requirements. For example, in the last few months, many requirements changed due to the coronavirus, adding the use of new services, like Office 365, and eLearning tools, like Zoom.

    With Firebox, the monitoring is good. On the Dimension servers, I can see where the IP addresses send and receive a lot of the traffic so I can analyze it. I am also able to see where attacks are coming from. It's good to see visually what policies are most in use and which traffic was blocked. Its easy to visualize policies. The dimension server shows which policy is used and the data flow through the firebox.

    What is most valuable?

    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. 

    What needs improvement?

    Sometimes I would like to copy a rule set from one box to another box in a direct way. This is a feature that is not present at the moment in WatchGuard.

    I'm missing a tool by default, where you can find unused policies. This is possible when a) you adminstrate the firebox with dimension, or b) you connect it to Watchguard's cloud.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We have been using this solution for a long time (for more than a decade).

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The stability is very good. I normally only do a reboot of a Firebox when I upgrade the boxes with new software, so they run sometimes two or three months without a reboot.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    It is scalable to many environments. With all our locations, we found this solution works.

    For the moment, we have around 80 users total at all our locations. The traffic at our headquarters per day is 300 gigabytes.

    Our number of Fireboxes has been constant over the last few years, as we don't have new locations. We are a sports organization, so we are not expanding.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    WatchGuard's support is very good. Over the years, there have been only one or two tickets that were not solved.

    When you start as a new customer, you should start with a bit of support from your dealer so you have some training on the boxes and how to manage them.

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

    Before using WatchGuard, we had a Linux server with iptables. We switched to Firebox because it is much easier to administrate. It has real boxes with a graphical interface, instead of command line administration.

    How was the initial setup?

    It is relatively easy to set up a new box. In my experience, you have a basic rule set. When you start with a new box, you can quickly make it work, but you always need to specify the services that you need on the boxes. You need some time to create the right policies and services on the box. This is the process for all Fireboxes that you buy.

    When you have a small branch office with a small number of policies, you can make them active in production in one or two hours. With complex requirements at your headquarters where you have several networks with servers, web servers, and mail servers which can be accessed from the outside, the configuration will need more time because the number of policies is much higher.

    What about the implementation team?

    The implenetation was done by the vendor. For us the solution was ok. At this point my knowledge about firewall was not on the level I have today.

    What was our ROI?

    It saves me three or four a month worth of time because it stops malware. I don't need spend time removing malware from the client.

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

    I think the larger firewall packages are much better because a normal firewall is not enough for these times. You need IPS, APT, and all the security features of a firewall that you can buy.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We evaluated some other solutions.

    What other advice do I have?

    Administration of Fireboxes is only a small part of my job. I have been the network administrator since 1997. While the solution does make less work, I still need a little time to monitor all solutions. 

    I would rate this solution as a nine (out of 10).

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    Technical Support at a tech vendor with 11-50 employees
    Real User
    Well priced solution for Firewall and VPN features
    Pros and Cons
    • "The features that I have found most valuable are the FireWall features. The management side of WatchGuard is quite easy because it supports two ways to manage it - by the web and the other one they call WatchGuard systems manager. I used to be familiar with WSM only, but they improved their GUI in the web browser and now it is much easier to do it within the web browser."
    • "In terms of what could be improved, I would say their web blocker feature. It is still quite a confusing setup, especially when you want to filter out a particular category for granularity. For example, you do not want to filter Facebook but you do want to filter Facebook games only. It can be done, but the process to do it is very confusing."

    What is our primary use case?

    Actually, we do not use WatchGuard Firebox, we just sell and sometimes deploy and install it for the customer. We usually set up a few basic policies then give it to them to continue on.

    What is most valuable?

    The features that I have found most valuable are the FireWall features. The management side of WatchGuard is quite easy because it supports two ways to manage it - by the web and the other one they call WatchGuard systems manager. I used to be familiar with WSM only, but they improved their GUI in the web browser and now it is much easier to do it within the web browser.

    The other feature is the side to side VPN. We have a bank client and they use a WatchGuard device for their headquarters and other WatchGuard devices for their branches. Setting up those IP's and VPN's was quite easy because the relay was at the branch office where the VPN resides. So that was quite handy to set up.

    What needs improvement?

    In terms of what could be improved, I would say their web blocker feature. It is still quite a confusing setup, especially when you want to filter out a particular category for granularity. For example, you do not want to filter Facebook but you do want to filter Facebook games only. It can be done, but the process to do it is very confusing.

    We have seen other products like Sophos, Checkpoint and Palo Alto that were much easier to set up their web built setting than it is with WatchGuard. So aside from all other features, including the VPN security policies, the only feature that is quite confusing is the web block feature.

    They could make the web blocker much easier to set up.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    In terms of scalability, they have models like the 5,000 series and 6,000 series. We have not reached that yet. We are only a small company and our customers are only small and medium businesses. So no enterprise companies yet. But I think if we need a bigger box, we would go with the 5,000 series.

    Right now we're only at about 200 hundred users. Sometimes we are trying to push for the 300 series or 500 series, but not yet.

    We require a staff of one or two for deployment and maintenance.

    How are customer service and support?

    I think technical support is okay. When I log a case, they usually respond within a day. Then, if they need to do some things for the client, they are quite flexible and do it based on the client's schedule. So no problem with the support. They are good. So far all our issues we have raised, and we have large cases, have been resolved. So their tech support is quite good.

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

    We switched because WatchGuard is cheaper. An old product that we previously sold was quite expensive, especially the security renewal after every year, but WatchGuard offered quite a competitive price and in a bundle that was much easier to understand. Cyberoam, for example, was quite complex to set up under licensing. Cyberoam was bought by Sophos. So we switched to WatchGuard for the price.

    The main highlight is price. The client has quite a tight budget so we can offer much more with WatchGuard.

    How was the initial setup?

    Setup was easy because the manual was there and it was quite easy to connect to a particular port. It's very understandable. Setup was very straightforward, nothing complex.

    Deployment could take only a few minutes or up to an hour and we can already set up a few basic policies. But the thing that drags longer is teaching the client to use it and to set up their own security policies. Sometimes they don't have enough experience at setting up WatchGuard, it's still new to them. But maybe after a few hours of lectures from us they get it. We still continue to support them after initial set up, for example if if they want to set up a policy we can assist them with that.

    What was our ROI?

    I have seen a return on investment, especially for the client. They have less problems in the bandwidth because the users are not going to unnecessary sites. So productivity should be better. Clients would not be tempted to browse unnecessary sites, games, download movies, because there is a firewall with restrictions in the policies. So therefore, the users would be performing at their best.

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

    The box costs 180,000. One third of the price of the box goes to the yearly renewal fee, around 50 or 60, for the basic. There is the advanced feature which is half of the box, but the basic is quite enough for most of our brand, which is why we have not used the TDR yet.

    And the response comes free for the advanced features and advanced licensing.

    What other advice do I have?

    The advice I would give to anyone considering WatchGuard Firebox is that it is a good product, despite what they say about it not being in the Gartner quadrant leaders. It performs well. It's fast. The only downside would be the web filtering side of things. If the client wants a good web filtering device, they have to go to another vendor, but just for Firewall IP and VPN, I think WatchGuard will be good.

    I'm not saying that the web filtering for WatchGuard is really bad, just confusing. Some clients don't want to do something that's confusing for them, they prefer something easy, but if they can live with a little confusion, then it's okay. But it is good to have a good partner, someone like us, in case the client has a problem setting up their policies, especially in the web filtering, we can help.

    Speaking on behalf of the client, I think they are okay with the solution. They are still continuing to use it past a year already, and they continue to renew. They are satisfied with its performance and what it is capable of doing.

    On a scale of one to ten, I'll give WatchGuard Firebox an eight.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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    Buyer's Guide
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    Updated: June 2022
    Buyer's Guide
    Download our free WatchGuard Firebox Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions.