Cisco Meraki Firewalls - Costly but Potentially Worth It.
Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
February 23, 2017

Cisco Meraki Firewalls - Costly but Potentially Worth It.

Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
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Overall Satisfaction with Cisco Meraki MX Firewalls

We use a number of Meraki Firewalls across the entire organization. They provide gateway/firewall functionality for each facility location as well as site-to-site VPN connections between all locations. Additionally, they allow for client VPN which makes it possible for certain individuals to connect remotely to the organization's LAN.
  • Meraki's cloud management console is extremely intuitive and user-friendly.
  • The SD WAN capabilities are cutting edge.
  • The ability to combine the firewall, switches, and access points controls in one interface is quite valuable.
  • Meraki devices are highly expensive. This, combined with the fact that there are annual license fees, will make the devices impractical for many smaller organizations.
  • The interface stresses usability at the expense of functionality. In other words, it's very easy to use partly because the functionality is limited. We have noticed this especially in the area of non-Meraki Site-to-Site VPNs. It has, however, improved over the last few years.
  • We routinely have some difficulty in establishing VPN connections with organizations that use non-Meraki firewalls. It remains uncertain, whether this is caused by issues or limitations of the Meraki devices or the fact that many specialist are still unfamiliar with Meraki Firewalls.
  • Cost of purchase and maintenance is high. And it significantly increased, as expected, shortly after Cisco's acquisition of the company.
  • This is offset by the ease of use which has a positive ROI effect since staff spends less time configuring and monitoring the firewalls.
  • There is not, to my knowledge, a loyalty or hardware replacement program to encourage customers to stay with Meraki when hardware obsolescence requires fork-lifting new equipment.
  • SonicWall
We were using SonicWall firewalls (and a couple other vendors) prior to the Meraki firewalls. We selected the Meraki devices because we were impressed with the ease of use, smaller learning curve, and a somewhat more set-it-and-forget-it or automated approach to monitoring and notification. This was before Cisco purchased the company. After that announcement, we were concerned about increased cost and loss of unique functionality. The former has occurred the latter has not yet been a problem. Nevertheless, because of high costs and barring the existence of some type of customer loyalty program, I'm not sure we will be able to stay with Meraki when hardware replacements become necessary.
Meraki firewalls are excellent appliances for larger small or medium-sized businesses. They are easy to set up and manage and creating secure connections between peer devices within the same organization is virtually effortless. Notifications, constant software/firmware upgrades, new tools, and functionality on SaaS model, all make Meraki a great choice.

The cost of Meraki equipment will make its installation in smaller organizations unfeasible. This becomes increasingly apparently when one considers the fact that much of the benefit in a network is realized when switches and access points are also Meraki devices, and these are expensive as well.