A quality enterprise firewall should be a top priority for businesses building a secure infrastructure. These tools protect endpoints and monitor network traffic, blocking bad actors from breaching sensitive data and damaging networked assets.
Firewalls are responsible for processing a large amount of the incoming traffic on an enterprise network. Although they aren’t responsible for the security of the entire infrastructure, they’re a critical piece of network protection. To select a firewall that fits your organization, your team should consider the environments it supports, the flexibility of its security policies, and the performance requirements for your top applications and workloads.
Top Firewall Software
Fortinet, headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, is a leader in cybersecurity services, offering a long list of tools like physical and software firewalls, antivirus software, and a variety of other endpoint security products. FortiGate is Fortinet’s primary firewall product offering.
Fortinet offers multiple types of firewalls, including:
- Container firewalls
- Virtual firewalls
- Hardware firewall appliances
Fortigate is a sizeable firewall solution, but it’s not a massive security platform like Palo Alto or Forcepoint and won’t require a deployment as extensive. It’s a good solution for smaller enterprises that may not feel comfortable investing in a more extensive network security platform in their current position.
Fortinet also offers a seventh-generation network processor (NP7) for hyperscale data centers. This processor powers Fortinet’s NGFWs so they can support high-performance security workloads like sensitive data research. If your business is in the medical industry and does regular research on large volumes of data, consider Fortinet’s new hyperscale processor.
- Highly scalable
- Well-equipped to handle work-from-anywhere staffing structures
- Part of the centralized, coordinated FortiOS security package
- AI-powered enhancements
A Fortigate reviewer on Gartner’s Peer Insights page says, “Fortigate provides our company with a network security framework that is designed to provide threat prevention and performance while being simple to use. Its approach is efficient and has great capabilities. We implemented a unique security program that not only reduced our security posture but also provided that all of our actual, online, and cloud-based technology was appropriately protected, allowing our employees to concentrate on growing profits rather than worrying about protection.”
Fortinet was designated as a leader in the 2021 Gartner “Magic Quadrant” for network firewalls ranking.
For pricing, go to Fortinet’s quote request page.
Learn more about Fortigate.
2. Palo Alto Networks
Palo Alto Networks, headquartered in Santa Clara, California, is a leading cybersecurity brand focused primarily on high-tech firewalls and advanced security management. Palo Alto’s next-generation firewall is a core firewall offering by the company.
Palo Alto’s next-generation firewalls classify traffic by application, application function, user, and content. This highly specific classification increases security teams’ visibility for their network traffic.
Palo Alto allows businesses to deploy multiple types of firewalls, like container firewalls and virtual firewalls, in one enterprise environment. IT teams can manage every firewall from a single management console.
Through Panorama, the security management console, administrators can set role-based access controls for users. Controls for device group and template administrators include mapping access by access domains, which determine access to certain device groups. Each Panorama admin can have their own login.
- Deep AI learning capabilities to identify rogue zero-day attacks
- ML-powered NGFW that provides visibility across Internet of Things (IoT) and other connected devices
- Zero-delay signatures provide updates in seconds
“It is one of the best network security tools which provides all round protection to your network and endpoints,” says a reviewer at G2. “This is easy to deploy and manage, providing software and hardware together, which are all developed by PA. Having different planes for control and management is very helpful.”
Palo Alto Networks is a 10-time leader in the Gartner “Magic Quadrant” for network firewalls.
Fill out the contact form on the Palo Alto Networks Get Started page for information on pricing.
See more: How Firewalls are Used by Adventist Health, SNCF Réseau, Lisbon School Department, Hubo, and Terra Verde Services: Case Studies
Sophos, headquartered in Abington, U.K., is a prominent software and hardware company with a global clientele. The company provides a range of products developed for communication endpoint security, network security — including Sophos Xstream Firewall — email security, mobile security, and unified threat management.
Sophos Xstream is available in three formats: cloud, virtual, and hardware appliance. This is ideal for businesses that need to protect multiple environments with the same platform.
Xstream allows teams to view networked applications both on desktops and in the cloud, helping them identify potential threats from network traffic. Xstream identifies the host and user for any malicious traffic on the network.
Xstream’s application acceleration feature helps optimize the performance of critical applications by routing their traffic on the fastest track through the firewall. This is beneficial for businesses that need to ensure their most important workloads — for example, a big data processing tool or a large customer management database — take priority.
- TLS 1.3 decryption
- Deep packet inspection
- Application acceleration
A reviewer at Capterra says, “1) It protects the organization’s network from malware attacks. 2) It helps to restrict web and application uses. 3) It helps optimise bandwidth use. 4) Its load balancing feature helps to use both primary and secondary links simultaneously.”
Sophos Firewall was ranked as a Gartner Peer Reviews Customers’ Choice for network firewalls, 2022 and as a strong performer in the Forrester “Wave” for enterprise firewalls, Q4.
Pricing starts at around $500 for the XGS 87 and around $30,000 for the 6500, according to eSecurity Planet. Find out more at the Sophos pricing page.
4. Check Point
Check Point, headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel, provides a range of IT security hardware and software products, from cloud, mobile, and data security. Its Quantum Next Generation Firewall Security Gateway belongs to a unified security management platform.
Check Point’s Quantum series has a hyperscale solution that includes highly scalable network gateways. Implementing these gateways allows businesses to quickly increase their network throughput. Also offered through Quantum is a remote access VPN that allows IT and security team members to securely access the enterprise network.
Check Point’s Quantum IoT Protect uses zero trust profiling and segmentation to prevent unauthorized users from accessing IoT devices. It also identifies IoT devices and assesses the risks they present to the business. Enterprises with an IoT network will benefit from Quantum’s security features for one of the biggest network risks that businesses currently face.
Check Point offers a unified security management platform, R81, through which security teams can do admin work, like policy creation, on the organization’s NGFWs. R81 also allocates network resources based on current traffic demands.
- Unified security approach
- Zero-trust protection for IoT devices
“The solution is scalable and very easy to manage. Lower operation costs is a big plus compared to other vendors. Smart center is the best management platform. Problem analysis is very easy. It works well on local and cloud. We’ve been using it for more than 20 years,” says a reviewer at Gartner Peer Insights.
Check Point was designated as a Leader in the 2021 Gartner “Magic Quadrant” for network firewalls.
Learn about pricing by going through Check Point’s live chat feature or by setting up a demo.
See more: 5 Top Firewall Trends
Cisco has long been a leader in the network security space. The company, headquartered in San Jose, California, offers many enterprise and consumer-grade products related to networking, including Cisco Secure Firewall. This firewall is available as a stand-alone product or as part of the Cisco Umbrella unified security package.
Cisco’s TLS Server Identity and Discovery capability keeps TLS 1.3 traffic encrypted rather than decrypting it and potentially exposing the content to threat actors on the network. Businesses using Server Identity and Discovery can maintain Layer 7 OSI security policies without using the high processing power required to decrypt pieces of traffic. Administrators can still view the network traffic, too. This is a beneficial feature for businesses that use TLS 1.3 and are focused on intensive network security.
Through the Cisco Secure Firewall Management Center, IT and security teams can manage their firewalls as well as application control, URL filtering, and malware defense policies. This central console helps admins manage multiple parts of their network security in one place. Consider Cisco if your business needs to create policies for all your distributed applications, particularly ones that process sensitive data.
- Superior visibility into traffic and application environments
- Behavioral analysis for logged data from all Cisco Secure Firewalls on the network
- Key component of Cisco’s unified security package
A reviewer at Gartner Peer Insights says, “We have been using the Cisco Secure Firewall in our company for quite a long time now. It is a proactive threat defense tool that tops all attacks even before they spread through our network. This tool has solved many of our business problems such as it provides VPN remote access allowing employees to work at the home office and be able to even access the intranet. The customer support of Cisco Secure Firewall is just spectacular and absolutely top-notch. We are highly satisfied with the quality of support it provides us.”
Cisco was designated as a Leader in the 2021 Gartner “Magic Quadrant” for network firewalls.
Learn more about pricing on the Cisco how to buy page. The company also offers in-house financing.
The volume of options available for enterprise firewalls can feel overwhelming, but taking a methodical approach can help. To start, narrow your choices by eliminating options that are out of budget or require more time than you’re able to spend on training and onboarding. The best firewall software for you may not be the most well-known — it may be helpful to reach out to your network to learn about which firewalls are being used by peer companies.
To further compare NGFW options for your business, read Best Next-Generation Firewall Software Compared.