By: Shawn Brown, COO, Snap Tech IT
If you are working within the domain of the firewalls, we recommend the more affordable options that are still very good with security and performance; those are Sophos and Fortinet. These two are best in class for organizations with under 10,000 members. Sophos has a bit of an edge on functionality and their synchronized security with their various other security products is compelling. Fortinet is working hard to do a similar thing, but as of now, their endpoint protection is weak by comparison with Sophos. Either way, Fortinet and Sophos are competitively priced with each other and both incredible firewalls. However, for businesses with over 25,000 members. We highly recommend Cisco and Palo Alto, which are high class commercial grade firewalls.
Generally, the hardware for a firewall will start somewhere in the $700 range for a very small business and can easily get into the $10,000 range. However, most business sized 15 to 100 users can expect the hardware of the firewall to cost between $1500 and $4000.
All commercial grade firewalls also have significant additional costs in security feature licensing. So, you can expect to pay more for the security licensing over the use of the firewall than the cost of the hardware itself. When licensing security features of firewalls you typically license for 1 or 3 years and need to renew and re-purchase the security feature licensing when the term ends. The cost of that licensing is usually between 2 and 3 times the cost of the firewall hardware. So, a small firewall that cost $700 can expect about $1500 in cost for 3 years of security features licensing.
The last cost to consider in your firewall is the labor cost. Lots of IT professionals can unbox a firewall, mount it up and get your Internet working through it. The problem is most IT professionals are not competent to configure the security features of the firewall. Be very careful to ensure that you have true experts setting it up. One way to tell if they are expert is by the amount of time they take and the questions they ask you. A single firewall is normally going to take about 10 billable hours to properly configure. Anyone who drops in and an hour later tells you it’s set up, did not configure the security setting thoroughly. Also, larger firewalls, or more complex networks could have additional setup time. So, your cost to setup a firewall correctly is likely around 10 hours of billable time from your IT Provider or a firewall expert. Again, IT generalists are typically able to get them on the Internet, but not considered experts in the security setting configuration.
I hope this blog has helped you understand the major difference between popular firewalls, helped you understand what good firewall brands are and what they cost to implement. Please reach out to us if you have further questions and we’d be happy to help.