Best Firewall For Small Business: Fortinet vs Watchguard vs Sonicwall vs Cisco

best firewall for small business
best firewall for small business

In the age of connectivity, it’s essential for any small business to have a firewall.  Firewalls are a critical part of any company’s security infrastructure, and they help to protect your business from online threats.

There are a number of different firewalls on the market, and it can be difficult to decide which one is best for your business.

In this article, we will compare and contrast four of the best firewalls for small businesses: Fortinet, Watchguard, Sonicwall, and Cisco. But first, let’s talk about what a firewall is.

What Is A Firewall?

A firewall is a security device that helps to protect your network from unauthorized access and attacks.

Firewalls can be hardware-based or software-based, and they can be used to protect a whole network or just a single computer.

Firewalls work by inspecting all incoming and outgoing traffic and blocking any packets that don’t meet the security criteria.

Let’s break down what each firewall is, and its pros and cons.

Fortinet Firewall

Fortinet is a comprehensive approach to network security. Its products provide a fabric of security that keeps all components of your network, from your servers to your data, protected from intrusions. At its heart is Fortigate, a firewall system designed to keep intruders out.

Fortinet vs Fortigate

Fortinet is the company that offers Fortigate, which is a firewall system designed to protect your individual computer or network.

Like most Fortinet products, Fortigate is scalable and comprehensive, providing protection from your network’s edge to its core. It can be deployed as an on-site appliance, virtual machine or in the cloud, providing you with the flexibility to meet your network configuration. Fortigate uses automation technologies to give you deeper visibility into the applications being used, your network users, and the network itself.

With threat intelligence services, Fortigate provides a security fabric that provides insights into your cloud applications, the Internet of Things connected devices, and an end-to-end topological view of your network. It can be enhanced by an array of other Fortinet services to strengthen your protection from the daily ongoing threats that are a harsh reality for businesses today. These services include:

  • Application Control: You can establish and apply policies in real-time to allow, deny or restrict access to apps or types of applications running on your network.
  • Web Filtering: This tool restricts access to hacked, malicious, or inappropriate websites via your network.
  • FortiSandbox Cloud: This advanced solution aids in threat detection by analyzing previously undetected malware, then feeds that intelligence back into your preventative controls to disarm the threat.
  • Antivirus: Industry-leading detection engines prevent new threats and existing but evolving threats from gaining a foundation within your system.
  • Intrusion Protection: These tools detect and block threats from reaching devices.

Pros and Cons of Fortinet Firewall

Pros

  • Scalable and comprehensive
  • Automation technologies for visibility
  • Threat intelligence services
  • Great user interface for ease of use with a single management pain
  • Easy to read dashboards that are highly configurable
  • Mobile management apps
  • Integrates with Active Directory

Cons

  • Higher price point than some other firewalls
  • Complex setup and management
best firewall for small business

Watchguard Firewall

Watchguard is a well-known firewall provider that offers a wide range of firewall appliances, software, and services. 

Their firewalls are known for their simple setup and management, as well as their low price point.

Watchguard offers a Total Security Suite that utilizes the same interface for all models, which makes it easy to learn and use. They also provide a number of features, including:

  • AI-Powered anti-malware: Utilizes a machine learning engine to protect against ransomware, viruses, and malware.
  • Web Filtering: Restricts access to hacked, malicious, or inappropriate websites.
  • Application Control: Establishes and applies policies to allow, deny, or restrict access to applications running on your network in real-time.
  • Intrusion Prevention: Detects and blocks threats from reaching devices.
  • E-mail Security: Protects your email from spam and malware.
  • Cloud sandboxing: Analyzes and tests previously undetected malware in a secure environment to aid in threat detection.
  • DNS filtering: Protects your network from malicious domains.

Watchguard firewalls are a great choice for small businesses who want comprehensive security without spending a lot of money.

Pros and Cons of Watchguard Firewall

Pros

  • Low price point
  • Simple setup and management
  • Same interface for all models
  • Many features

Cons

  • Some features are only available in higher-priced models

Cisco Firewall

Cisco is a well-known provider of both firewalls and networking equipment.

Their firewalls are known for their reliability and for their ability to be scaled up or down as needed.

They also offer a number of features, including:

  • URL filtering: Restricts access to websites based on content categories.
  • Cloud-based sandboxing and malware protection: Provides real-time protection against malware and zero-day attacks.
  • Application Visibility and Control: This allows you to see and control the applications running.
  • Network traffic analysis: This shows you information about network traffic, including top applications, sources, and destinations.
  • Email security: Protects your email from spam and malware.

Cisco firewalls are a great choice for businesses that need a reliable and scalable firewall.

However, they can be expensive and can be difficult to set up and manage.

Pros and Cons of Cisco Firewall

Pros

  • Reliable
  • Can be scaled up or down
  • Many features

Cons

  • Expensive
  • More difficult to set up and manage

Sonicwall Firewall

Sonicwall is a well-known provider of firewalls and networking equipment.

Their firewalls are known for their simple setup and management, as well as their low price point.

Sonicwall firewalls use the same interface for all models, which makes them easy to learn and use. They also provide a number of features, including:

  • Email security: Protects your email from spam and malware.
  • Analytics and Reports: Provides insights into network activity and security threats.
  • Wireless Network Security: Protects your wireless network from attacks.
  • Sandboxing: Analyzes and tests files for malicious activity before they are allowed to run.

Sonicwall firewalls are a great choice for small businesses who want comprehensive security without spending a lot of money.

Pros and Cons of Sonicwall Firewall

Pros

  • Low price point
  • A well-known brand for security
  • Simple setup
  • Same interface for all models
  • A plethora of features

Cons

  • Some features are only available in higher-priced models
best firewall for small business

Which Is The Best Firewall For Small Businesses?

All of the firewalls listed above are great options for small businesses and most have cloud sandboxing as a feature, which is a great asset to have in your firewall.

What Is Cloud Sandboxing? 

When there’s a suspicious file that’s caught in a filter or looks like a phishing attack, the firewall allows it to be tested in a “sandbox”, or a virtual environment that mimics your actual computer network and systems.

In the sandbox, you can execute the file and see how it behaves and interacts with other files and systems, confirming whether it is indeed malicious and, if so what damage it could do. The sandbox feature is a powerful way to isolate and examine potential threats.

The best firewall for your business will depend on your specific needs and budget.

  • Fortinet is a great choice for businesses that want a comprehensive and scalable firewall.
  • Watchguard is a great choice for businesses that want a low price point and simple setup and management.
  • Cisco is a great choice for businesses that need a reliable and scalable firewall, but are willing to pay more for it.
  • Sonicwall is a great choice for businesses that want comprehensive security without spending a lot of money.

If you’re still trying to decide between two, in particular, this breakdown of some of the more requested comparisons might help.

Sonicwall vs Fortinet FortiGate

When comparing Fortinet vs Sonicwall, both of these products provide broad network firewall protections designed to keep harmful attacks on networks. Both are built for use with the latest Internet protocol standards and include priority queuing of network traffic and deep packet inspection to ensure bad actors and the tools they can implant is detected and destroyed.

Fortinet FortiGate and SonicWALL offer anti-malware and anti-bot detection services, VPN services and protection, and on-appliance reporting. Features in each product allow for application control, policy-based routing, IP address blocking, email spam filtering, and SSL decryption tools. Each offers deployment as an on-premises hardware appliance, a virtual appliance, or a cloud solution. They both operate on multiple operating systems.

With so much commonality in the product, it’s important to understand how to tell them apart and choose the best option for your company’s unique needs.

Fortinet FortiGate vs Cisco

At a basic level, there is a lot that’s the same between these two products. Both provide anti-malware and anti-spam capabilities. Both offer VPN configuration and deployments, policy-based routing, decryption tools, and application control. These are basic features found in many similar products and are difficult to use to determine what sets one product apart from another.

Overall, FortiGate has broad functionality and tools that set it apart from Cisco firewall products and is our preference.

Watchguard vs Fortinet FortiGate

Both FortiGate and WatchGuard offer next-generation firewall (NGFW) protection for small and medium-sized businesses. At its fundamental level, these protections are designed to offer traditional firewall protection for computer networks, along with other network filtering tools. These additional safeguards, including intrusion prevention systems and deep packet inspection services, provide multiple layers of protection. They’re designed to offer a broad blanket of tools that envelop your company’s system and keep your servers, data, users, and devices protected from outside threats.

Other tools included in both FortiGate and WatchGuard are standard tools that most NGFW providers today offer, including website filtering, bandwidth management, antivirus tools, and identity management protection.

Takeaway

Determining the best firewall for your small business can be difficult, but with a little help, it can be easy to find the best product for your specific needs. At GlobalQuest,  we offer Fortinet, WatchGuard, Sonicwall, and Cisco firewall products to best meet your security needs.

We can assist you to implement and manage your firewall to provide the utmost network security. Contact us today to learn more about which product is best for you and how we can help!

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