Cisco Meraki MX Series Review
Updated July 31, 2017
Cisco Meraki MX Series Review
Score 10 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with Cisco Meraki MX Firewalls
Like many organizations after time your firewalls eventually become outdated and outgunned by current gen threats. We found ourselves in this situation a couple of years ago and after doing some research settled on the Cisco Meraki MX Firewall series. As of right now we only have one but we are looking at possibly adding them to our other facilities as they age. I highly recommend purchasing the Advanced Security License as that adds content filtering, anti-virus scanning and intrusion detection. We saw a huge drop in virus and malware infections right after upgrading our license. We've been very happy with the purchase overall.
- Easy to set up and maintain. The Cisco brand brings you the reliability you know while Meraki created an interface that is very easy to manage. You don't have to be Cisco certified to operate this firewall. Push of the button to download the latest firmware and install.
- Always connected. Your Meraki is always connected to the Cisco network and coupled with the Advanced Security License it adds an extra layer of protection. You can also access all of your firewalls easily from anywhere. It makes managing multiple locations a breeze. Very fast and easy to setup site-site VPN between multiple Meraki.
- Slick Dashboard. The dashboard has a great layout and allows you to see what is happening even down to the individual devices. Easy to read reports page, security page and bandwidth usage.
- Control/Security. Very easy to set up rules to block sites, throttle bandwidth and even block suspicious connections to a machine.
- Fast VPN setup. It takes seconds to setup a user for VPN.
- Lots of easy to setup features. You can tie into your Active Directory, DHCP for smaller offices, traffic shaping and packet capturing etc.
- Easy to setup Content Filtering, AMP (Anti_Malware Protection) and White/Black lists.
- The only real issue we've ran across was a PAT routing issue that wouldn't allow us to connect to a state agency. I would talk to a Cisco rep in case you have any specialized VPN connects. It's not an issue as 99.9% of folks wouldn't run into this as it was very specialized situation.
- Cisco certified users may dislike not having command line and granular control like other Cisco Firewalls. It's designed for easy of use and modern interface.
- Internet connection. The dashboard you access through the internet even if you're on the same network. There is a local interface but it for the initial setup not for managing the box. It hasn't been an issue for us but if your internet connection is of poor quality it might be frustration to manage.
- Yearly costs. We paid several years in advance for the security license. Some may not like having a yearly fee but think of it as a maintenance plan. It is well worth the money.
- Can't drill down like you can with an ASA product with FirePOWER/FireSIGHT as the primary focus of the Meraki is easy of use.
- Cisco's Content Filtering is decent but sometimes blocks legitimate sites that you have to white list.
- It lowered our malware infections first with the basic license but almost non-existent with the Advanced Security. Less time dealing with cleaning up machines and more time to solve other IT issues.
- Saved us a lot of money from paying outside vendors or specialized staff to manage our firewall.
- Saves time. Changes take seconds instead of minutes or hours with traditional command line operations. Frees up time to focus on other things.
- Increased security. Most mid to small range businesses just hope that their firewall is doing what it is supposed too but with the Meraki line you can know in seconds.
We have various Cisco firewalls both large and small as well as a few Dell Sonic firewalls. The biggest selling point for the Meraki is the ease of use and quick management. Great for managing multiple remote locations and user access. Perfect fit for business with limited onsite staff. If you need a firewall that you want to spent less time managing then the MX is what you are looking for. If you have to have your command line then look at Cisco's many other offerings.
[It's a] great firewall for small to mid-size businesses that have limited IT staff. The Meraki MX series really shines when you have multiple locations you have to manage or tie together. It would alleviate a lot of headaches if you have satellite offices that you have to mess with. You could do site-site VPN in seconds and manage VPN access for users also in seconds. You can hit your dashboard to see all your sites, monitor security, make changes and update firmware. It could make life much easier for your business and save you time.
Using Cisco Meraki MX Firewalls
The Cisco Meraki MX series is very easy to use. Setting up user VPN access, site to site VPN to tie multiple locations together and managing all your devices. You can even download the latest firmware and install without ever leaving the dashboard. Meraki is the very definition of easy to use.
Like to use
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Quick to learn
Feel confident using
- VPN access for users
- Content Filtering
- Site to Site VPN setup
- Rules for specific users or devices
Yes - The dashboard works in any web enabled browser. Works fine on a tablet or phone. The dashboard adjusts to function well with modern tablet and phone browsers like Chrome etc. There are many video demos of the Meraki dashboards on the internet that you can easily find and Cisco even has page you can sign up for a demo so you can try it out for yourself.