Firewalls are an important part of your network’s security and are often seen as the first line of defense.
They sit at the edges of your network and analyze the incoming and outgoing traffic. Since the data travels in the form of packets, firewalls analyze their headers and sometimes, even their content.
This information is compared against a set of predefined security rules that you create or against a database of known threats, and any packet that matches these patterns is flagged.
As you can see, these firewalls are critical in detecting attacks like Denial of Service (DoS) and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) that typically send a large volume of data to exhaust the available resources within an organization. Sometimes, it can also help to detect malware and viruses as well.
Here is our list of the best firewalls available today for small businesses:
- Perimeter 81 – EDITOR’S CHOICE This is a Firewall-as-a-Service solution and so does not require the purchase of a physical device or the installation of any software. Run this system through a cloud-based console. Access a free demo.
- SonicWall TZ400 Security Firewall The TZ series of firewalls from SonicWall is designed for SMBs and branch locations, as it is simple to implement and at the same time, offers all the protection that SMBs need to secure their network from cyber-attacks.
- Ubiquiti UniFi Security Gateway This firewall combines security with high performance in a cost-effective way to give small businesses the protection they need from cyber attacks.
- WatchGuard Firebox T40 This is a powerful enterprise-grade firewall that comes with a host of threat management features for small and medium businesses.
- Cisco Meraki MX68 This is a cloud-managed appliance that deploys automatically in your SD-WAN network. It also analyzes packets to detect and neutralize malicious threats and attacks on your network.
- Sophos XG 86 The next-gen firewall designed to identify hidden threats and block both unknown and known threats. In all, it offers one of the most comprehensive protection for your network.
Firewalls for Small Businesses
If you’re a small business, firewalls are absolutely important because it is a cost-effective way to protect your network from possible attacks. Research shows that 58% of small businesses have been attacked in the last 12 months and can cost an average of $2.98 million for companies that employ less than 500 people! The cost goes up with more employees.
Further, hackers find it easy to target small businesses as many of them don’t have elaborate security infrastructure in place, so it is easier to penetrate the network. And unfortunately, these numbers are true as only 30% of small businesses use firewalls!
So, if you’re a small business, consider investing in a firewall today as it can save you from a catastrophic cyber attack in the future.
That said, you might wonder which is the appropriate firewall for you and how you can navigate through this crowded market to find the one you want. Thankfully, we have done the hard work for you, so read through this article, and by the end, you should know which one to buy.
The Best Small Business Firewalls
Let’s now do a deep dive into the features of each of these tools.
Perimeter 81 is a cloud-based package that provides a range of security solutions by offering individual tools that you link together into your preferred configurations to protect users, equipment, and software from malicious attacks. A Firewall-as-a-Service (FWaaS) is one of the elements available on the Perimeter 81 platform.
Here are some of the important features of the Perimeter 81 FWaaS.
- Cloud-based service This is a subscription service with a monthly charge rate that is calculated on a combination of the number of users and the number of gateways in your system. This offer means that the Perimeter 81 has almost no upfront costs, which makes it a lot more affordable than a hardware-based firewall.
- Policy-based filtering You create the firewall by entering your security policies into the setup screen for the FWaaS in the Perimeter 81 cloud-hosted console. This provides an opportunity to list all of the assets that you want to protect, which don’t all need to be on one site.
- Protection for hybrid systems The Perimeter 81 gives you options over the type of system protection that you want to implement and this is a good solution for businesses that provide services on a local network and also subscribe to cloud-based systems, such as Microsoft 365 or Salesforce.
Benefits for Small Businesses
The monthly subscription pricing model of Perimeter 81 makes this system a lot easier to afford than a physical network firewall that requires an upfront purchase. Other benefits include:
- Covers home-based and roaming staff as well as employees on your premises.
- Protects data held on cloud platforms as well as your network.
- Provides security for multiple networks in one account.
- Gives you the option to implement new security strategies for hybrid systems, such as Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) and Zero Trust Access (ZTA).
- Imagine all of the different systems that your business users as though they had an invisible wall around them, creating a forcefield that thieves can’t penetrate – this is how the FWaaS of Perimeter 81 operates.
- Essentials: $8 per user/month + $40/month per gateway, minimum of 10 users
- Premium: $12 per user/month + $40/month per gateway, minimum of 10 users
- Premium Plus: $16 per user/month + $40/month per gateway, minimum of 20 users
- Enterprise: Custom service with a negotiated price, minimum of 50 users
Although the essentials edition is in this list, it doesn’t provide the FWaaS of Perimeter 81.
Perimeter 81 is a great solution for the messy, uncontained, and dispersed group of services that small businesses tend to use. This makes Perimeter 81 our top pick for a small business firewall, particularly as it is an affordable subscription service with no upfront costs. This service offers a firewall but it also gives you the opportunity to implement application-level security with a Zero Trust Access model or a Secure Access Service Edge that binds together all of your scattered services into one protected virtual network.
Official Site: https://www.perimeter81.com/demo
OS: Cloud based
2. SonicWall TZ400 Security Firewall
SonicWall TZ400 Security Firewall is an advanced system that protects your network from possible intrusions, malware, and ransomware attacks. It is simple to set up and is cost-effective, and at the same time, offers enterprise-grade security mechanisms.
Here’s a look at the important features and benefits of SonicWall firewalls.
- Centralized Management and Reporting Many times, SMBs can’t afford to have a dedicated staff for security. This is why a simplified monitoring system that is easy to track and maintain is the key to adoption. The good news is SonicWall TZ400 fits this bill perfectly. This unified firewall management system supports centralized management and reporting, so users can find all the information they want through a single dashboard.
- Deep Memory Inspection This firewall leverages the patented Real-Time Deep Memory Inspection algorithms to determine deeper levels of threat and shares this learning and intelligence for future use. It does all these at lightning speeds and without compromising on performance in any way, and hence, can proactively detect large-scale attacks.
- Easy to Set Up A salient feature of this firewall is its easy setup process. You can connect to it from virtually any operating system and support a Zero-Touch Deployment. It can also scale well as your network grows. Further, this firewall can detect and remove threats even through a VPN connection.
Benefits for Small Businesses
The SonicWall TZ400 firewall offers the following benefits for small and medium businesses.
- Its integrated gateway security solution saves time and money
- Reduces complexity, so you don’t need a dedicated technician to handle the firewall
- Ensures business continuity with failover protection
- Leverages the latest technologies and patented algorithms to offer the highest levels of security
Pricing: Contact the sales team for a custom quote.
3. Ubiquiti UniFi Security Gateway
The UniFi Security Gateway extends the UniFi Enterprise System to cover the security and routing for your network. In particular, it combines high performance with reliable security – an ideal combination for small businesses.
Let’s now take a detailed look at what this firewall offers.
- VLAN Support This firewall adds to the convenience of using a VLAN. It has the capability to segment virtual networks for better network traffic management and to reduce the chances for malicious data packets to pass through. Needless to say, this segmentation boosts security and brings down the possibility of cyberattacks.
- Voice and Video Traffic Often, firewalls slow down the movement of packets because it has to check the packets’ contents and compare them against a set of predefined rules. Voice and video traffic are the most affected by this process because they are time-sensitive and even small lags can impact performance. The UniFi Security Gateway speeds up the inspection process without compromising on security and hence, the voice and video traffic are not impacted. This leads to clear calls and a latency-free video streaming experience for end-users.
- User Experience This software is designed to enhance the overall user experience. Its centralized dashboard provides all the information you want and it is easy to find the information you need for sound decision-making. Also, important network information is organized logically to improve employee efficiency. It is also ideal for small businesses because you don’t need a dedicated technician to scan and analyze the dashboard for any sign of attacks. It can be done by anyone with some basic training.
- Detailed Overview and Analytics A salient aspect of this firewall is its detailed and comprehensive overview of information. The analytics section expedites troubleshooting while the sorting capabilities make it a lot more efficient. It also provides a bird’s eye view of your network’s health and availability, so you can make decisions on the fly.
Benefits for Small Business
This firewall is ideal for small businesses due to the following reasons.
- It provides comprehensive and detailed information about the network, so no additional tools are required.
- This is a cost-effective solution as the tool is priced competitively and does not require any add-ons.
- The UniFi Controller comes with a ton of features that you can leverage for your network’s improved performance and efficiency.
- It can manage multiple sites and this particularly works well for organizations that have many branches within a region.
Pricing: This tool has a one-time fee of $139.
4. WatchGuard Firebox T40
WatchGuard Firebox T40 is a next-gen firewall solution designed to handle fast Internet speeds. It is also well-suited for small and medium businesses as it offers enterprise-level security at affordable rates.
The features of WatchGuard T40 are as follows.
- Ideal for Small Branches This firewall is renowned for offering enterprise-grade security even to small branch offices located in remote locations. This is possible because these appliances are small and can fit well into any infrastructure.
- Enterprise-grade Security These firewalls come with many advanced capabilities such as search, AI-powered anti-malware, DNS filtering, and more. As a result, these devices can identify packets that contain both malicious headers and content and can flag them based on the security rules implemented within your organization.
- Additional Features The Firebox T40 firewall goes over and above the basic firewall protection and provides advanced threat protection. In particular, it offers content and URL filtering, anti-spam, cloud sandboxing, intrusion protection, and more. All these features greatly reduce the chances of a cyberattack for organizations.
- Easy Deployment As this tool is geared specifically for small and medium businesses, its deployment is simple and easy. There is not much time and effort involved and no specialized technical knowledge is required either. This tool uses cloud-based deployment and configuration, so all that your employees have to do is simply connect the device to a power source and the Internet. That’s it! The cloud configuration kicks in automatically and starts protecting the network.
Benefits for Small Businesses
This firewall helps small businesses in the following ways.
- Uses Power over Ethernet (PoE), so no separate cables are required for peripheral devices.
- Supports core automation to improve employee productivity.
- Integrated with SD-WAN for network optimization
- Comes with advanced features to enhance your network’s security.
Pricing: The base cost of Firebox T40 with one-year standard protection is $717.60 while with three-year support, the cost increases to $904.80. If you want Basic Security Suite protection, the cost for one-year and three-year support increases to $873.60 and $1,392.30 respectively. For the Total Security Suite, the cost is $1,220.70 and $2,230.80 respectively.
5. Cisco Meraki MX68
Cisco Meraki MX68 is a security and SD-WAN firewall that can support up to 50 users, thereby making it a good choice for small branch offices. Its unified management helps with the security of not just WAN, but also IoT and MDM devices.
The features of Cisco Meraki MX68 are as follows.
- Ideal for Branch Offices Cisco Meraki MX68 is a good choice for small branch offices that have less than 50 users. It comes with web caching to speed up the process of searching and accessing past content and its load balancing reduces the chances for failovers. Further, it comes with smart connection monitoring to automatically detect layer 2 and layer 3 failovers and outages, so the same can be addressed right away.
- Quick Deployment All the configurations are handled in the cloud, and hence deployment is super quick. All that users have to do is plug the device into a power source and the Internet to secure their network. No additional time or effort is needed.
- Easy Management This Cisco is easy to manage as well. It comes with an intuitive web-based dashboard that provides all the information you need in a centralized location. Also, no additional expertise is required even if you have to manage IPSec VPN devices and services.
- Reporting and Compliance Cisco Meraki MX68 can generate reports on the user, application, and device usage, so you can know which users or applications consume the most bandwidth. Accordingly, you can change your policies. It also supports role-based configuration and administration, including the sending of email alerts. All these help with compliance with leading industry standards.
Benefits for Small Business
Cisco Meraki MX68 is a good choice for small businesses due to the following reasons.
- Simplified deployment and management that does not entail additional time, effort, or expertise.
- The cloud settings scale well from small deployments of tens of devices to more than thousands of devices.
- Provides a glance into the health and performance of all applications across LAN, WAN, and application servers.
- COmes with advanced malware protection and intrusion prevention systems that provide enterprise-grade security for small businesses.
Pricing: Click here to start a free trial and customer support will reach out to you to give a custom quote.
6. Sophos XG 86
Sophos XG 86 firewall uses an innovative approach to identify hidden threats, send instant notifications, and block both known and unknown threats from entering your network. This firewall leverages the latest technologies such as Xstream to provide high levels of visibility and performance.
Here’s a look at some of the salient features of Sophos XG 86.
- Deep Packet Inspection This firewall leverages Xstream technology to quickly analyze large amounts of traffic. It can inspect the header and contents of packets at lightning speeds, and hence, offers excellent protection without compromising on end-user experience.
- Protection Against Ransomware Sophos XG 86 offers some of the best protection against ransomware and other zero-day threats. It identifies and blocks threats through emails, downloads, spam, and phishing. It also analyzes both static and dynamic files and uses advanced machine learning models to capture even the latest attacks before they truly impact your system.
- Supports Security Policies A salient feature of this firewall is that it supports user-identity policies to streamline role-based access and permissions. Further, it also helps you to identify insider threats and attacks before they impact your organization.
- Complete Visibility and Control One of the key requirements for small businesses is complete visibility and control, so the technicians and network admins have a clear understanding of all that transpires within the network. Understanding the limited resources of small businesses, this firewall comes with a centralized dashboard and reporting to enable users to find the information they want in a single location.
Benefits to Small Businesses
Some of the benefits offered by Sophos XG 86 for small businesses are:
- It has a zero-touch deployment, so businesses save time, effort, and resources. All the configurations are managed in the cloud.
- This firewall not only identifies the source of malicious packets but also blocks them automatically, so they cannot enter your network.
- Its cloud-managed dashboard is simple to navigate and comprehensive, thereby giving users all the information from a single pane.
- Sophos XG 86 comes with many modules, so you can choose the ones you need. This flexibility helps small businesses to get custom solutions at affordable rates.
Thus, these are some of the best firewalls for small businesses.
To conclude, firewalls are important for businesses of all sizes, especially small businesses, as they tend to be easy targets for hackers. Due to the limited budgets and the nascent infrastructure of small businesses, the solutions presented above are both comprehensive and affordable.
We hope this information helps you to pick the appropriate firewall for your business. Make sure to check out our other guides too!