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Comparing network security vendors and devices

Charudatta Kulkarni - PeerSpot reviewer
Head - UICT and Associate Professor at MIT Pune

I work in a small organization in the educational sector. 

We would like to extend firewall licenses, So we need to evaluate vendors. On what criteria/basis should we compare vendors and devices?

PeerSpot user
1010 Answers

Nawaaz Toonah - PeerSpot reviewer
Real User

In the educational sector, the main challenge is to have control over all content that students or educators will be accessing.
We have many vendors that offer this service, a few examples will be Fortigate, Sonicwall, Cisco, and Sophos.
Now it will depend on what aspect of firewall that you want to focus on if you want content filtering I would recommend going for Sophos.
With Sophos, everything has been made simple to manage and not really need to be an expert to maintain this nice piece of technology.

Brad Nawrocki - PeerSpot reviewer

I support about 100 employees with a WatchGuard Firebox. There easy to configure and support is great if you do need help. They make many models to fit you business.

Cari Lahoz - PeerSpot reviewer
Real User

For vendors, I think there are more options in the US but I would like to know how their support and expertise is in case you need assistance in configuring the firewall and pricing.

For devices, I think it depends on what your needs are because there are very basic firewalls and there are ones that have lots of modules. I would also consider the user interface and ease of configuring. Also, consider the cost of license renewal.

Adriano-Simao - PeerSpot reviewer
Top 5LeaderboardReal User

As per you description situation, you can consider at least the following aspects.

Financial Aspect: What amount do you expect to spend for this device. If you have online payments, if the availability is one of your constraints so you will need two for failover and load balance;

Support Aspect: Its difficult to evaluate this point as allmost all vendors says that they have a good support methodology and expert teams, so you need to consider all aspect of the SLA, regarding what you company can pay;

Cybersecurity Aspect: So, if you need firewall means you have mail and web services at least. At this point you need to take a look at what vendors say about this ourdays problems, our they face it, where is the vendors on Gartner Quadrant. Most of the expensive one are not good enough but visionars and chanllenger can be considered. Of course you kind of service and kind of data your dealing with is one of aspects you must consider too.

You can design a table/check list with all aspects you need to consider, like throughtput you need, No. of VPN/Branch office and some other features you need to safe you environment and put values on it and some assumptions that you need to consider and at last you decide and i believe you will do the best.

ChandanaPiyaratne - PeerSpot reviewer
Real User

There are more than half a dozen of reliable vendor options are available for small organization.

Evaluation criteria need to align with the identified requirement; such as if the requirement is for.
* Secure the network from outside attacks?
* Control outgoing traffic?
* Remote network access?
* Integration with End devices?
* Network visibility?
* Added features such as; spam filtering, Data leakage prevention etc?

Once the requirement is identified, as with any other networking procurement evaluation, following criteria can be looked at for evaluation.
* How long the vendor has been in the industry
* Reviews by 3rd party evaluators such as Gartner
* Customer references related to the same industry
* Capacity criteria such as; number of interfaces, total throughput, session capacity
* Cost aspects such as; TCO for 3~5 years, warranty and replacement service levels, technical support levels

Stanley Honour - PeerSpot reviewer

I second those observations.

Stanley Honour - PeerSpot reviewer

First, research the quality of the device, reputation and reviews. Generally speaking they don't fail often except for power surges. Second, licence terms and service options. Third, is local service support available? Review the service dept history, quality of employees and turnover. Generally, local support is better, you can go to their office and get in their face. Hmmm, Education eh? student hackers are always a possibility. Prepare questions to the vendor about security features, reverse hacking and spying. Nothing more satisfying than catching the gremlins red handed.

V for Reviewer - PeerSpot reviewer
Top 5LeaderboardReal User

What is your current firewall infrastructure?

Basic is the budget... Apart from the amount of money, some of the following are mandatory to think about:
1. How many concurrent users internal (on-premise)
2. How many concurrent users through VPN?
3. How many Firewall devices?
4. IPS, URL filtering, antimalware, AV
5. UX/UI, easy-going management
6. Type of warranty & support
7. Advanced security licenses
8. Google SafeSearch and YouTube for Schools (MX Meraki option)
9. Integration with AD
10. Cloud management

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