Firewall software is one of the primary lines of protection between an organization’s internal network and databases, and the open internet.
Firewalls are network security systems that can be configured to monitor outgoing and incoming network traffic for malicious data packets or indicators of an attack. At its core, a firewall stands as a protective barrier between your network and any unverified traffic sources.
The global network security firewalls market was estimated at $3.7 billion in 2020. It’s expected to maintain a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 17.6% over the analysis period from 2020 to 2027, reaching an estimated value of $11.5 billion by the end of it.
According to a 2020 report by Palo Alto Networks, close to 96% of companies use a firewall for infrastructure security, but between all the options available on the market, how do you pick the right firewall software for you?
Continue reading to learn more about the leading firewall software solutions on the market:
1. Sophos Synchronized Next-Gen Firewall
Sophos Group, based in Abingdon, England, is an IT security and data protection company that provides software and hardware security, networking, and communication solutions.
Synchronized Next-Gen Firewall key features
- Protecting enterprise-grade networks
- Filtering incoming traffic
- Enabling admins to trace and identify the source of malicious and suspicious activity
- Compatible with Sophos’ VPN options
- Doesn’t hinder users from connecting and working within the network
- Communicates with trusted outside sources
- A part of the company’s Ultimate, All-in-One Network Protection
- Ability to identify and intercept unknown threats, using deep learning and isolating any infected network segments
It’s highly rated by users on third-party review sites such as TrustRadius with 8.7 out of 10, and G2 with 4.4 out of 5.
One satisfied user, Gregory D. Head of eService Strategy at an Information Technology and Services company says, “The Sophos XG firewall appliance running UTM v9 software is an affordable way to achieve a very good level of perimeter security. The XG-210 model we use is adequate for SMEs, smaller sites and branch offices and does the job well.”
Giving it a rating of 4 out of 5 on G2, Gregory adds, “With two redundant and synchronized Sophos UTM firewalls, we’re able to efficiently protect the perimeter of our hosting sites and if one of the appliances were to fail, the other one would take over and continue to protect our servers.”
In 2021, Sophos Firewall received the Business Hardware of the Year title in the PC PRO Excellence Awards.
2. Palo Alto Networks Next-Gen Firewall
Palo Alto Networks is a Santa Clara, California-based multinational cybersecurity company. It provides network and cloud security solutions, endpoint protection, and various platform-based and cloud-delivered offerings.
Palo Alto Networks Next-Gen Firewall key features
- Affords network users security, visibility, and control over incoming and outgoing network traffic and applications
- Continuous packet scanning
- Protects against malicious attacks, viruses, spyware and data leaks
- Uses packet inspection on top of protocol and port number identification
- Distinguishes between honest and malicious incoming network traffic
Simon Webster, a Security Architect at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research says, “The WildFire reporting and Cortex XDR platform have huge infrastructures in the cloud that secures the network against threats. So, we have the potential on the system, specifically for users, where we take care of this since the user is the most dangerous.”
Giving it a 4.5 out of 5 rating on PeerSpot, Webster adds, “We get reports back from WildFire on a minute-by-minute basis, rather than a daily or weekly update like I used to with different AV vendors. These features can detect viruses and malware more quickly, which is super important.”
In 2021, Palo Alto Networks Next-Gen Firewall was named the Next-Generation ML-Powered Firewall category winner in the CRN Product of the Year Awards.
3. Fortinet FortiGate Next-Gen Firewall
Fortinet is a Sunnyvale, California-based multinational corporation that specializes in the development and selling of software and hardware cybersecurity solutions.
Fortigate Next-Gen Firewall key features
- Intrusion prevention systems (IPS)
- Web traffic filtering
- Socket layer inspection
- Complete visibility and protection
- Advanced machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities
FortiGate has overwhelmingly high user reviews on independent third-party review sites, such as Capterra with 4.8 out of 5, and TrustRadius with 8.7 out of 10.
Rajesh Kumar, a System Administrator at Oman Methanol Company says, “We have been using multiple Fortinet FortiGate products. Fortinet 500D is a perimeter firewall that is on HA and protects our internal and external traffic from emerging threats.”
Giving it a rating of 9 out of 10 on TrustRadius, Kumar adds, “The throughput of the devices is completely appreciable and easy management, Remote SSO login, Web filtering, and Gateway antivirus security makes it different from others. Technical support is perfect and well trained to support you in any case.”
In 2019, Fortinet’s Fortigate won 3rd place in the Product of the Year in the Monthly IT in Administration.
4. Cisco Firepower Next-Gen Firewall
Cisco Systems is a San Jose, California-based multinational corporation that specializes in manufacturing and installing networking hardware and software.
Cisco Firepower key features
- Foundational part of Cisco’s security architecture
- Advanced threat detection and prevention
- Application control
- Endpoint malware protection
- Provides over 3,000 application-layer and risk-based controls
- Highly precise and reliable application visibility and control (AVC)
Matt Back, a Cybersecurity Practice Lead at Eazi Security says, “One of the nice things about Firepower is that you can set it to discover the environment.”
Giving it a 4.5 out of 5 rating on PeerSpot, Back adds, “If that is happening, then Firepower is learning about every device, software operating system, and application running inside or across your environment.”
In 2018, the Cisco Firepower Next-Gen firewall was awarded the Frost & Sullivan Market Leadership Award in the Global Network Firewall Market.
5. WatchGuard Firebox Cloud
WatchGuard Technologies is a Seattle, Washington-based network security platform that provides enterprise-grade, easily-deployable security solutions.
Firebox Cloud key features
- Enables users to extend their network’s security parameters to the cloud
- Offers server protection in public and private clouds
- Easy to deploy and use
- Enables control all traffic exchanged between internal networks and outside communications
- Allows for network interface configuration that’s separate from primary network
WatchGuard’s network security solutions are highly-rated on third-party review sites, such as G2 with 4.5 out of 5, and TrustRadius with 9.3 out of 10.
Zachary Coffman, Program Manager and Sales Coordinator at Allegiant Technology says, “We use WatchGuard as our primary firewall and utilize WatchGuard’s Multi Factor Authentication (MFA) company-wide to secure our internal applications.”
Rating it a 9 out of 10 on TrustRadius, Coffman adds, “We are also a Managed Service Provider and resell all of WatchGuard’s products to our customers all over the country. WatchGuard uses Best-in-Breed vendors to provide top-tier services across their product line.”
In 2021, WatchGuard was awarded the CRN’s Tech Innovator Award, named the best MSP/MSSP Platform.
6. Forcepoint Next-Generation Firewall
Forcepoint is an Austin, Texas-based multinational software corporation that develops and delivers advanced computer security and data protection software solutions.
Forcepoint NGFW key features
- Part of a unified software core, ensuring consistent capabilities through centralized management
- Enables users to configure just under 2,000 applications and cloud servers
On top of the standard features of other firewall solutions, Forcepoint’s next-gen firewall supports multilayer inspection, access control, and application identification with the flexibility to optimize your system’s security and performance.
Nick Erwin, Network Admin at Pacific Coast Companies says, “We are using IPS/IDS Firewall, router and SD-WAN capable network security appliance. We currently use the Forcepoint NGFW in our on-premises data center environment, Cloud DR solution, and at all remote locations.”
Rating it 9 out of 10 on TrustRadius, Erwin adds, “We utilize it as a security and routing appliance that can determine the best ISP link to use at any given time or to prioritize types of traffic over specific netlinks.”
In 2022, Forcepoint Cloud Network Firewall received a rating of AAA by the Cyber Ratings Organization.
When selecting a firewall software solution for your organization, there are multiple factors to consider, such as:
- The number of networks it can accommodate
- Ease-of-use and deployment
- Compatibility with your infrastructure
- Third-party effectiveness and trustworthiness ratings