Meraki MX Appliances are awesome for small to medium-sized business
September 24, 2019

Meraki MX Appliances are awesome for small to medium-sized business

Jane Updegraff | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Cisco Meraki MX Firewalls

We use Meraki MX appliances as the primary firewall at each of our 15 locations. Meraki MX appliances are not just firewalls, they are a way to create a network "mesh" without having to know arcane engineering skills like you would need for most advanced firewalls. Meraki MX firewalls are a really good choice for a small to medium-sized enterprise that has limited engineering staff, because even a moderately experienced generalist can deploy and maintain these devices without the need for very advanced networking skills.
  • Meraki MXs are simply great at being easy to setup, deploy and maintain without advanced skills. They are so simple to use that one can just plug them in, give them a few IP addresses and ranges and they work.
  • Meraki MX appliances are compact and fit in a single rack unit (1U) space, and they consume less electricity and generate less heat than similarly-sized (as far as capacity goes) devices.
  • Meraki MXs have a cloud control panel (like other Meraki devices do) that is very easy to understand. If you don't understand it, their support and customer success account managers are right there to help.
  • Meraki MXs are not inexpensive. They cost quite a bit more than your average sonicwall or watchguard.
  • Like all Meraki devices, if you stop paying the subscription (which is their entire license model) you can no longer manage the device. For Meraki, subscription is equal to use license.
  • Meraki MX can't do everything that a full-blown Cisco ASA can do and that's because the user can't program every feature that they have. For some very advanced firewall features you might have to open a ticket with Meraki support and have them add a configuration setting for you using the command line, which users do not have full access to. Even then, we have found that there are some advanced settings that they simply can't do. Steer clear if you have a very large, complex environment that needs and advanced firewall. For that you'll need a Palo Alto or a large FortiGate, something like that.
  • We have definitely saved money in the area of network administrative payroll expense. We don't have an advanced network engineer on staff and with a Meraki network powered by MX appliances, we don't need one. I'm going to guess that save an entire engineer's FTE per year just because of that.
  • We have saves a great deal of time in setup and deployment. These devices are so easy and fast to configure and deploy that, for instance, we can now add a new;y-acquired manufacturing plant to our network in about three days.
Meraki MXs do more, and deploy more easily, than the comparable small firewalls than a small business is usually going to shop for. They cost a little more but they are just so simple to setup and that was the deciding factor for us. Sonicwalls are not nearly as easy to configured and you have to know a lot more about creating ACLs and rule sets, same goes for the similarly sized FortiGates. The Meraki MXs are just very easy to use.
I haven't ever had a bad experience with Meraki support. On the few occasions where I wasn't understanding the UI or needed some clarification about what a setting actually would do, I contacted them and they were very quickly able to provide help.

Returns are simple and fast, too. We had to return a defective device one time and they shipped the replacement before we had even un-racked the one that was faulty. Unlike many other vendors, they didn't ask use to a do long list of scripted diagnostics, they just took my word for it that the device was broken and sent out a replacement immediately.

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Meraki MX appliances are a great solution for very easily creating a "mesh" network for a small to medium-sized enterprise. They are just as secure and cal do the same kind of traffic shaping, access control, layer 3 routing, etc. as any other small to medium firewall. It is NOT for a very large, complex networks because it is simply not designed to do everything that would be required.

Meraki MX appliances are also very well-suited for companies that do not have an advanced network engineer on staff. This is because they require less technical expertise to deploy, configure and maintain. Don't get me wrong, you have to know something about networking, but you don't have to be a CCIE or anything. A somewhat knowledgeable network administrator or experienced generalist can handle it. But again, if you need very specific redundancy features and very complex rules and policies, this is not your firewall.

Cisco Meraki MX Feature Ratings

Identification Technologies
Visualization Tools
Content Inspection
Policy-based Controls
Active Directory and LDAP
Firewall Management Console
Reporting and Logging
High Availability
Stateful Inspection
Proxy Server