Network Firewalls

The Top 11 Network Firewall Solutions

We take a look at the top network firewall solutions on the market, considering features, pricing and more.

The Top 11 Network Firewall Solutions For Business include:
  • 1. NordLayer Cloud Firewall
  • 2. Barracuda CloudGen Firewall
  • 3. Check Point Quantum
  • 4. Cisco Secure Firewall 4200 Series
  • 5. ForcePoint NextGen Firewall
  • 6. Fortinet Fortigate Next Generation Firewall
  • 7. Juniper SRX
  • 8. Palo Alto Networks VM-Series
  • 9. Sophos Firewall
  • 10. VMWare NSX Distributed Firewall
  • 11. WatchGuard Firebox M Series

Network firewalls act as a secure outer perimeter to your network, preventing malicious content from accessing your systems. They are a crucial tool in any organization’s defensive strategy, due to their effectiveness and robust security features. Network firewalls examine every file and access request to your network, ensuring that only known and safe traffic is allowed to enter. This enables them to identify and prevent the vast majority of harmful traffic, unauthorized access, data breaches, and malware. 

Firewalls enable you to prevent threats from gaining entry in bulk, rather than having to spend valuable time addressing individual threats. They achieve this by filtering traffic based on pre-set policies and rules that define what should be allowed in, and what should be blocked. They carry out deep packet inspection on inbound and outbound traffic, giving you certainty that dangerous content cannot reach, or be distributed from, your network. Rather than using fixed notions of safe and unsafe traffic, firewalls can investigate individual instances to effectively stop malicious traffic, without increasing the rate of false positive.

In this article we’ve identified the top network firewall solutions and broken down their key features and use-cases. This should help you to understand more about each platform, thereby helping you to select the right one for your needs. Our reviews are based on features, market presence, technical capabilities, and user reviews. 

NordLayer logo

NordLayer Cloud Firewall is a Firewall-as-a-Service (FWaaS) solution designed to protect private networks and cloud infrastructure from unauthorized access. This cloud-based firewall solution is suitable for businesses relying on hybrid cloud networks and using NordLayer virtual private gateways.

NordLayer Cloud Firewall offers several benefits including scalability, availability, and extensibility. With no hardware components, it can be easily deployed and integrates seamlessly into existing hybrid cloud environments. The cloud-based control panel simplifies operations and management, while automatic updates ensure optimal security.

With this solution organizations can maintain granular control over access to internal cloud resources. Firewall rules can be created on a virtual private gateway level, applied to single members or entire teams, and configured based on the source, destination, and service. This level of control enables organizations to securely manage remote worker access to necessary resources and deny access to all else.

In addition to access control, NordLayer Cloud Firewall offers DNS filtering to block malicious websites and filter out harmful or inappropriate content. Managers can select the types of content that should not be accessible to employees on company-managed networks, thereby improving data security and protecting team members from malicious activities and phishing websites.

NordLayer Cloud Firewall is part of Nordlayer’s Secure Service Edge (SSE) solution, which combines multiple network security solutions such as FWaaS, Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB), Secure Web Gateway (SWG), and Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) into a single cloud-native service.

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Barracuda Logo

Barracuda CloudGen Firewall is a comprehensive security solution designed to protect on-premises and multi-cloud networks from a wide range of cyber threats. With a focus on real-time network protection, this firewall effectively guards against various network vulnerabilities and exploits, including SQL injections, cross-site scripting, and DDoS attacks. The firewall can be deployed across multiple physical locations and is compatible with Microsoft Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud Platform.

Barracuda’s multi-layered security approach includes advanced threat signatures, behavioral and heuristic analysis, static code analysis, and a comprehensive sandbox, providing accurate detection and in-depth protection against ransomware, malware, and other advanced cyber-attacks. The firewall is part of Barracuda’s Advanced Threat Protection service which is connected to a global threat intelligence network, allowing it to gather threat data from millions of sources worldwide to ensure continuous improvement and defense against new threats.

Designed specifically for cloud and hybrid environments, Barracuda CloudGen Firewall offers easy deployment through templates and APIs. It also includes advanced Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN) capabilities, supporting connections among distributed sites, multiple clouds, and remote users. This eliminates the need for a separate SD-WAN solution, simplifying security deployment and management in cloud environments.

Check Point

Check Point Quantum is a Next Generation Firewall (NGFW) that offers advanced network security for endpoints, networks, cloud, data centers, and remote users. The platform is designed to provide superior threat prevention using SandBlast’s Zero Day protection and can scale on demand. With a lineup of 15 models for different use-cases, Quantum Security Gateway can deliver up to 1.5 Tbps of threat prevention performance.

Key features of Check Point Quantum include its integration with SandBlast threat prevention, unified management platform, VPN, and IoT security. The platform also offers sandboxing, anti-phishing, anti-virus, and anti-bot capabilities. It is compatible with third-party Network Access Control (NAC) systems and analytics for a more comprehensive and resilient security solution. Identity-based inspection and control support user groups thorough IP inspection and encrypted traffic inspection, with extensive configurations to ensure compliance with regulations.

The firewall also delivers an effective Intrusion Prevention System (IPS), application control, URL filtering, threat extraction, and threat emulation capabilities. The cloud-based threat emulation engine detects malware at the exploit phase, and quarantines files before they enter your network, while the threat extraction feature removes exploitable content from email and web, reconstructs files to eliminate potential threats, and delivers sanitized content to users, maintaining business continuity and efficiency.

Cisco Logo

Cisco Secure Firewall 4200 Series is designed to maintain network security by unifying policies across various environments and prioritizing vital aspects. The series offers superior visibility on security threats, enabling users to regain control over encrypted traffic and application environments. It also collaborates with Cisco Talos to improve security resilience and leverages billions of signals throughout the infrastructure.

The Secure Firewall 4200 Series enables collaborative work on security, providing license entitlement for Cisco SecureX. This additional tool assists with network security management and monitoring, increasing productivity across teams and hybrid environments. Secure Firewall also implements zero-trust policies, automating access and anticipating potential threats, while maintaining a smaller footprint through increased throughput and high-performance network interfaces.

With scalable features, Cisco Secure Firewall 4200 Series supports business growth by offering high-port density and clustering flexibility. It allows up to 16 firewall devices to function as a single, powerful unit, providing extensive visibility over encrypted traffic. Its zero-trust application access (ZTAA) feature goes beyond the traditional zero-trust network access (ZTNA) model, adding comprehensive threat inspection for applications and limiting risks.

Cisco offers other firewall series’ for different use-cases: the 1000 Series is ideal for smaller businesses and branch offices; the 3100 Series is designed for medium-sized enterprises with flexibility for future growth; and the 4100 Series is tailored for large enterprise, campus, and data center environments.

Forcepoint logo

Forcepoint offers a reliable next-generation firewall (NGFW) solution that has quickly gained traction among businesses. The solution features advanced capabilities such as built-in secure SD-WAN that enables organizations to adopt a Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) architecture, automated unified policy updates, and easy deployment, configuration, and use. The firewall is designed to be highly scalable and customizable, allowing for quick updates and changes when necessary.

The Forcepoint NGFW provides several key features, including 2FA/MFA support for remote end-users, customizable whitelists and blacklists for application traffic based on endpoint advice and granular endpoint contextual data, as well as blocking the exfiltration of sensitive information and data. This firewall solution offers centralized management with granular controls, scalable management capabilities, and the ability to manage a large number of firewalls from a single platform.

Additionally, Forcepoint NGFW integrates with Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), providing Secure SD-WAN, site connectivity to Security Service Edge over GRE and IPsec, and a built-in Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) app connector. Overall, Forcepoint’s next-generation firewall provides businesses with a flexible and secure network solution that is easily managed from a central location.

fortinet logo

Fortinet is a network firewall provider that offers scalable solutions for various locations including remote offices, branch sites, campuses, data centers, and cloud environments. Their product is built on the Fortinet FortiOS operating system, which provides deep visibility and security across different form factors.

The FortiGate Next-Generation Firewall features industry-leading threat protection and decryption at scale through a custom ASIC architecture, as well as secure networking with integrated features like SD-WAN, switching, wireless, and 5G. With FortiGate NGFW, users can converge their security and networking point solutions into a centralized management console powered by FortiOS, simplifying IT management processes.

FortiGate NGFW provides AI-powered security performance and threat intelligence with full visibility, security, and networking convergence. Key features include convergence through a unified operating system, acceleration with patented ASIC architecture for improved performance with reduced power consumption, and AI/ML security with FortiGuard global threat intelligence for automated protection against known and unknown threats.

FortiGate NGFW caters to various use cases such as protecting and connecting distributed edges with AI/ML-powered security. It offers visibility and protection at enterprise sites, deploying hyperscale security for data centers, providing segmentation capabilities, integrating public and private cloud protections, as well as extending protection to remote users with Secure Access Service Edge (SASE).

juniper logo

Juniper SRX Series Firewalls are a part of the Juniper Connected Security portfolio and aim to protect network edges, data center networks, and cloud applications. These firewalls run on the Junos operating system and are available in physical, virtual, and containerized form factors. To ensure unified management and consistent security policy enforcement, the firewalls are managed by Juniper Security Director Cloud.

Juniper’s advanced security suite enables users to deploy modern technologies that address the evolving needs of organizations and the ever-changing threat landscape, offering AI-driven protection to predict and prevent intrusions, malware, viruses, phishing attacks, and spam, among other threats. These firewalls provide real-time updates to constantly maintain security measures.

Key components of the SRX Series Firewalls include advanced security services, content security, intrusion prevention system (IPS), and EVPN-VXLAN support. The IPS controls access to IT networks and protects systems from attacks by inspecting data and taking precautionary actions. With EVPN-VXLAN support, security is automatically embedded across the entire fabric, enabling the firewalls to be fully fabric-aware; this facilitates faster threat response and minimizes potential damage.

juniper logo
Palo Alto Logo

Palo Alto Networks VM-Series firewall is a security solution designed to enhance safety in VMware NSX, enforce consistent security for Software-Defined Networks (SDNs) and virtual machines, deploy policies, and scale automatically. It is compatible with various environments, including VMware, Linux KVM, Nutanix, and Cisco, promoting unified control in virtualized data centers and simplifying security measures. With VM-Series, businesses can create comprehensive policies that can be automatically provisioned during the development lifecycle, maintaining security and compliance without constraints.

The VM-Series firewall focuses on network perimeter security by defending against known and unknown threats in north-south traffic, while URL filtering and DNS security disrupt command-and-control attacks. Lateral movement prevention is achieved with policies that combine segmentation and threat prevention. This allows the virtual firewall to locate critical applications in trust zones. Additionally, the Intelligent Traffic Offload service can be added to increase performance and further streamline the security process.

By using Panorama alongside VM-Series deployment, security management can be centralized, providing consistent protection across various cloud environments and simplifying daily operations.

Sophos logo

Sophos, a British IT security company, offers a range of powerful and scalable firewall solutions suitable for various deployment options, including cloud, virtual firewalls, and on-premises. These firewalls integrate seamlessly with other Sophos products and can be managed from a single, user-friendly console, streamlining IT operations. New users may experience a learning curve, which can be addressed by Sophos’ efficient support team.

Key features of Sophos Firewall include Xstream Protection for optimal threat prevention and traffic management, TLS 1.3 decryption and deep packet inspection, and a single high-performance engine for stream scanning protection across multiple areas. Further capabilities encompass Xstream Network Flow FastPath for intelligent acceleration of trusted traffic, centralized management, zero-touch deployment, and an automatic response to active threats.

Sophos Firewall, along with the XGS Series appliances equipped with dedicated Xstream Flow Processors, aims to consolidate network security in a hybrid environment. Comprehensive features such as full next-gen firewall capability, integration with Sophos MDR and XDR, extensive SD-WAN capabilities, support for cloud-delivered network security solutions, built-in ZTNA for secure remote access, and cloud management via Sophos Central provide a well-rounded solution to protect businesses against various threats.

VMWare Logo

VMware NSX Distributed Firewall is a software-defined Layer 7 firewall designed to secure multi-cloud traffic across virtualized workloads. It targets the growing need for effective cybersecurity as enterprises face an increasing number of dynamic workloads, and large volumes of east-west (internal) network traffic. Traditional appliance-based solutions are less effective in the face of these modern challenges, making the NSX Distributed Firewall a valuable option for addressing internal network security needs.

The NSX Distributed Firewall provides stateful firewalling with intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDS/IPS), sandboxing, network traffic analysis (NTA), and network detection and response (NDR) capabilities. It simplifies security architecture by distributing the firewall to each host, making it easier to segment networks and stop the lateral movement of attacks, while providing complete coverage and visibility across network flows.

Further capabilities of the VMware NSX Distributed Firewall include simplified operations through the NSX+ console and elastic throughput that scales with workloads. Additionally, the firewall offers superior workload context, scalable traffic-flow analysis, and malicious IP address filtering that is powered by VMware’s global threat intelligence network, VMware Contexa. Add-ons for threat prevention or advanced threat prevention further enhance security features, integrating firewalling, IDS/IPS, sandbox, NTA, NDR, and encrypted traffic monitoring capabilities.

Watchguard

WatchGuard’s Firebox M Series firewalls are part of the Firebox security platform, which offers a comprehensive suite of unified security controls for small and mid-sized businesses. Their features include URL filtering, intrusion prevention, application control, and ransomware prevention. The WatchGuard Firebox platform is designed to deliver best-in-class security services, without the expense and complications of multiple single-point solutions.

The integration of WatchGuard Firebox and AuthPoint provides multi-factor authentication directly through the Firebox, eliminating the need for a separate RADIUS server. This ensures secure VPN access for users. WatchGuard Cloud offers full visibility into the network, allowing for informed decisions regarding network security. With over 100 dashboards and reports, users can quickly identify trends and anomalies as well as access detailed information.

Firebox M Series appliances come with empty bays for adding network modules, enabling customization of port configurations to meet various networking needs. This allows for easy adaption as the network evolves. RapidDeploy, a cloud-based deployment and configuration tool, simplifies network expansion, requiring only an internet connection to configure remote appliances. This is especially suitable for businesses with smaller IT teams or less technical staff.

WatchGuard’s security technologies are designed to be easy to manage and deploy in small and midsize organizations, whilst delivering enterprise-grade security.

The Top 11 Network Firewall Solutions