WatchGuard Network Security if you value your time as much as your companies' security
September 28, 2022

WatchGuard Network Security if you value your time as much as your companies' security

Rolf Lobker | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review

Overall Satisfaction with WatchGuard Network Security

WatchGuard Network Security firewalls help secure networks by offering in-depth content filtering, decent integration with external directory services, and great monitoring for traffic. What sets them apart from other vendors is their method of changing policies incredibly fast through their System Manager software which allows for very quick changes to be made offline and then sent to either production or to be scheduled. Their Management Server offering allows us to quickly manage lots of firewalls in convenient and secure central management. Their cloud services allow for the effective storing of historical data. The latter is web only, though, so for now, scripting is not possible, which is a miss. Hopefully, they will keep extending their REST services to allow for every aspect, including specific firewall configuration, to be done programmatically.
  • Easw of management
  • Central management
  • Consistent line-up
  • Very good customer support
  • Cloud services offer very limited API
  • No way to programmatically retrieve (cloud) (dimension) logs (ie, query-based through REsT)
  • Not all settings are available on all types of management (some require SSH, some require web interface)
  • SSH CLI could use spruce up, not very convenient to use, and interactions do not always adhere to 'common' expectations
  • Greatly lowers cost of operations and (change) management
  • Pleasant to use management tools increases willingness to use and configure systems
  • Managing many firewalls in a convenient manner means they are much more likely to be up to date
  • Downside for a management provider is you get to bill less hours for tedious management and labour
We are a reseller and implement Watchguard solutions for our customers. Ranging from complete management to managed by customer, supported by us. In the few cases we had to contact Watchguard our selves for either technical or customer support, we have found them to be very willing to assist in a speedy and efficient manner.
WatchGuard Network Security offers varied methods of implementation. Their devices are very easy to set up manually, and for a more automated setup where many devices need to be deployed, they have different offerings like RapidDeploy (prepopulate a config for a specific device in the portal), registering the device's serial number to manage it through cloud services on first boot (including the option to populate a USB stick with basic interface setup if required) and the ability to run your own Management Server and register to be deployed serial numbers, so the device connects to your own hosted management server on first boot.
WatchGuard Network Security offers a simple-to-understand line of products, which is consistent throughout their entire range. Their smallest devices offer almost the same feature set as their largest ones, which means they are suitable for many different use cases while all being managed in the same manner with the same consistent convenience.
Most 'UTM' or Layer-7 firewalls share the same feature set. They mostly offer the same security layers like Web filtering, basic packet inspection, proxied layer 7 inspection, anti-malware, and some integrated portal. Basic VPN features, et cetera. What sets WatchGuard Network Security apart is its ease of use, the offline configuration management through a very convenient (Windows) application (WSM). The way WatchGuard Network Security presents the network policies in a horizontal manner in their WSM software allows for very fast, efficient management and a very quick overview. Unless your use case requires a specific feature that WatchGuard Network Security does not offer, I would recommend them over their competitors specifically for the non-frustrating method. Where others may require you to use a slow web interface, which can become very annoying if you have to set up many policies and have to keep switching pages, WatchGuard Network Security removes this tedious, frustrating work by offering very pleasant management.
Microsoft 365 Business Premium, Veeam Backup & Replication, Cisco IOS, Cisco Catalyst 3850 Series Switches, Ivanti Workspace Control (powered by RES)

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WatchGuard Network Security firewalls are very suited for when you need a stateful firewall and use its additional security features (UTM) like Webblocker, APT, Anti-malware, HTTPS DPI, and client en branch office VPN. The way WatchGuard Network Security firewalls are managed makes it very easy to get an overview of the policies and easy to understand. It's not complex where it does not have to be while still offering advanced features where needed. WatchGuard Network Security firewalls, like other 'UTM' layer 7 firewalls, are not worth their money if they are only used as a router. In some scenarios, a (Cisco) router or Layer 3 switch would make more sense. This is true for most technologies; there is no "one solution fits all." If you need (fast) internal routing and only require basic ACL, a layer 3 switch that does stateless inspection is more suited. For connecting remote offices, WatchGuard Network Security firewalls make setting up VPNs easy, but if all they do is full tunneling and routing, a dedicated router should also be considered for value.

WatchGuard Network Security 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

Using WatchGuard Network Security

Like to use
Relatively simple
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Well integrated
Quick to learn
Feel confident using
  • Managing firewall policies
  • Updating the firmware
  • Managing multiple devices
  • Getting insights
  • Dimension cloud has no API
  • Cloud managed firewalls currently lacking in features
WatchGuard Network Security firewalls have a very convenient way of managing them. Their live logging makes it very easy to quickly monitor traffic and see what's going on and what changes might be needed to be done to get something to work. In most cases, it was the WatchGuard Network Security logging that helped us find an issue when getting the device to work with a competitor's device (i.e. setting up VPN) because the other side lacked easy-to-understand yet detailed debug information.