There’s no shortage of firewall options on the market, but which one is best for your small business? Depending on your needs, any of a number of firewalls could be a good fit. Keep in mind that not all firewalls are created equal; you’ll want to make sure the one you choose can meet the specific security needs of your business.
Want to make a well-informed decision? If so, we’re here to help! We at Solution Suggest take it as our responsibility to help you learn about the security measures as much as possible. So, in this article, we have rounded up cybersecurity experts’ recommendations for the best firewalls for small businesses that will protect your internal networks and sensitive data from cybercriminals. But first, let’s talk about a few important things.
What Is a Firewall and Why Do Small Businesses Need It?
A firewall is a network security device that helps protect the company’s network from unauthorized access and cyber threats. It acts as a barrier between the company’s network and the internet and examines all incoming and outgoing traffic to ensure that it meets the company’s security policies.
Small businesses need a firewall because they are often the target of cyberattacks due to their limited resources and lack of dedicated security personnel. A firewall can help prevent unauthorized access, malware, and other cyber threats, and can alert network administrators to potential security breaches.
For example, a small business might use a firewall to block access to websites that are known to contain malware or to restrict access to certain applications that are not necessary for employees to do their jobs. The firewall would examine all incoming and outgoing traffic and would block any traffic that does not meet the company’s security policies.
Additionally, a firewall can be configured to block access to the company’s network from certain IP addresses or geographic regions to further enhance the company’s security posture.
12 Best Firewalls for Small Businesses of 2023:
1. Perimeter 81: Next-Gen firewall as a service for businesses
Perimeter 81’s Firewall as a Service (FWaaS) is part of its cloud-based and hardware-free security solution for organizations that need to secure sensitive data and keep remote workers protected from external threats even outside the corporate network. The Perimeter 81 FWaaS is cloud-based, which allows the firewall to secure employees working remotely and cloud applications and resources. The lack of hardware provides a flexible scale-as-you-grow infrastructure model. As a cybersecurity analyst of a large network enterprise solution, this is absolutely essential.
What I really like about Perimeter 81’s FWaaS is the ease of configuration and the ability to create policies across the organization within a single platform. Another major benefit is the Zero Trust network access that is part of the Perimeter 81 platform, which allows me to define permissions according to employee user roles and greatly reduces the attack surface.
Perimeter 81’s FWaaS supports IPSec, mTLS, and WireGuard protocols between network sources and user devices. It offers advanced security features such as AES-256 bank-level encryption, two-factor authentication (2FA), DNS filtering, and role-based network access traffic rules from a single admin panel. An especially important feature when employees are connecting via public Wi-Fi at a cafe or outside location is Perimeter 81’s Automatic Wi-Fi Security, which ensures that employees are always secure wherever they connect.
Sivan Tehila, Cybersecurity Strategist @ Perimeter 81 and, Cybersecurity Professor @ Yeshiva University. During a 10-year career in the Israel Defense Forces, Sivan served as an Intelligence Officer, CISO of the Research and Analysis Division, and Head of the Information Security Department of the Intelligence Corps.
2. WatchGuard Firebox: Fastest UTM firewall for SMBs
In the past, dedicated firewall devices have been seen as something only large companies needed to worry about implementing. But in today’s world of ransomware, phishing, and advanced malware, a firewall is an essential part of any business Cyber Security stack.
While there are dozens of companies that offer firewalls in their product lines, a few stand out from the crowd due to their advanced feature sets, robust hardware appliances, and innovation in the constantly changing world of network security.
I’ve worked with devices from every major firewall player in my 15+ years in SMB IT, and my current firewall of choice is the Firebox series from WatchGuard.
WatchGuard Firebox appliances include all of the standard features and services you’d expect to see in a network security appliance (Intrusion Prevention Service (IPS), Gateway Antivirus, Application Control, etc.), but they also have more advanced features usually only seen on enterprise-grade firewalls. These advanced features include APT Blocker, Data Loss Protection (DLP), and Threat Detection & Response just to name a few.
The next big benefit that WatchGuard firewalls offer is their simplicity. All Firebox can support all of the available security features, meaning you don’t have to get a higher-end appliance just to have the ability to implement more advanced security. Simply select the appliance model you need for your use case (number of users, network speed requirements, integrated wireless AP, etc.), add a license for your desired features and you’re ready to install.
The simplicity continues into the configuration of the Firebox, where an initial setup wizard and GUI-based admin console make it easy for any technician to set up and/or troubleshoot the device configuration. This is in stark contrast to other network security companies, whose devices require an experienced engineer with product-specific training and certifications to do even a basic network setup.
3. Cisco Meraki: Best firewall for small businesses
Cisco Meraki firewall is an excellent choice for companies that need to have a secure network. It prevents intrusion into a network, incorporates anti-malware, and prevents employees from accessing malicious websites. You can also easily monitor the performance of a network within the Meraki appliance dashboard to find out where data might have a bottleneck.
VPN connections are crucial for any business and creating a site-to-site VPN connection with Cisco Meraki is not only very secure but also very easy to do. It sets the standard for creating secure VPN connections.
One of the best features of the Cisco Meraki is the ability to access it from a cloud platform, so you do not need to be on location to make changes to the firewall. If you have a complex configuration and need it restored, then all you need to do is connect the firewall to the network, and all settings will automatically be installed from the cloud backup. If you want peace of mind with your network, Cisco Meraki is the way to go.
4. Norton™ Small Business: Best host-based firewall
As an online privacy and security resource center, we take cybersecurity very seriously. As a business, we have been using the Norton for Small Business firewall for several years and are extremely impressed with its features and protection.
We have been particularly happy with the Exploit Prevention feature which protects all our devices from “zero-day” attacks that attempt to exploit undiscovered and unpatched holes or vulnerabilities in Windows applications or in the operating system itself. We have been impressed with Norton’s spam-blocking functionality that keeps mailboxes free of unwanted, potentially dangerous, and fraudulent emails that can steal your identity.
Working in cybersecurity, we understand the risks posed by the online community and therefore rely on the Norton Safe Web feature which alerts you of unsafe websites before you visit them. As a company that offers online security and privacy guidance to our users, it’s paramount that our own security is watertight.
— Heinrich Long, Privacy Expert at Restore Privacy
5. Truffle Lite: Enterprise-grade firewall
Mushroom Network’s small office firewall router, namely, Truffle Lite is an enterprise-grade firewall that packs useful features with a plug-n-play style installation, ideal for SMBs that may not have dedicated IT personnel.
By intelligently combining two or more ISP links and built-in dynamic QoS and advanced bonding capabilities, Truffle Lite sets the WAN network on auto-pilot by working around network problems. Truffle Lite’s algorithms monitor the networks and learn from data on an ongoing basis to further optimize the algorithms.
This translates into the optimal end-user experience as the applications are shielded from network problems such as packet loss, latency, jitter, ISP brownouts, and blackouts.
— Jay Cahit Akin, CEO at Mushroom Networks, a networking company that builds advanced routers/firewalls and appliances SMBs.
6. pfSense®: Best open-source firewall
For small business networks, a pfSense® firewall works well. The first response is to buy a home router, however, in practice, we have found these to have a variety of problems (the software is buggy and you never seem to get the full speed of your network).
pfSense is an open-source firewall (it’s free) that you can install on any system you have, or you can buy an appliance from NetGate (starting price is $179).
It is similar to a firewall you would find in a large organization offering a much wider set of features – VPNs, intrusion detection, robust rule management, and a decent user interface. All of which improve the security of your network, as well as maximize what you can do with pfSense.
7. SonicWall TZ Series: Best for SMBs with remote offices
Firewalls are only a small piece of the overall security picture for any organization but can help prevent outside attacks from coming into your business. There are several different products available in the market for firewalls and routers, but none of these products are the same. Businesses should consider using a next-generation firewall, which adds an additional layer of security on top of the hardware device.
One of the most reliable and versatile solutions on the market for the SMB space is the SonicWall TZ Series. In addition to being easy to deploy and install, the various models can grow and change depending on the business side. The license adds additional features to help keep your business safe and employees connected.
In addition, there is also an option to configure a VPN, or Virtual Private Network, which is an area all small businesses need to address with the Work From Home situation in place. The SonicWall TZ series allows for a single dashboard to configure and control things such as network security, content filtering, application inspection, and much more.
Hands down, SonicWall is the best we’ve used. Right now, I can honestly see a lot of businesses switching because this has VPN included.
That means that we can all share files without worrying that they will become compromised or accessed by outside entities in any way.
It solves a huge headache for us and enables us to work more efficiently in this remote setup.
— Sean Nguyen, Director of Internet Advisor
Do you know more than half of SMBs suffer data breaches, yet less than 30% have effective protection against cyberattacks?
Being remote-first, we have found SonicWall to be the best firewall for our small business. It provides us with network security and has simplified our internal processes. With its virtual private network (VPN)capabilities, our remote employees can easily share files and perform other functions on their internal network securely. There is no need for separate VPN software.
It’s easy to use and provides layered protection from intrusion, malware, ransomware, and other sophisticated threats. It offers swift“zero-touch deployment” options for fast setup. Plus, it provides a complete end-to-end backup and recovery solution.
8. Cisco ASA 5500-X Series firewalls
We use Cisco ASA for our firewall solution. I wanted something that would be comprehensive, so hardware for the entire office and software for individual devices. Endpoint protection was also very important, and Cisco has been great for that. It’s been easy to manage, such that even employees who aren’t trained network professionals can at least maintain it if need be.
We’ve also recently found it useful because it provides a remote VPN, something invaluable while we’ve all been working from home due to COVID-19. We handle a lot of client data, and it’s imperative that data is protected across a variety of networks.
— Dan Bailey, President at WikiLawn
9. Cujo AI Smart Internet Security Firewall
I was very scared recently because I have an SEO team that always visits random websites for link building and my team always wanted to have a firewall because many websites are nowadays scamming people to hack their PCs after huge research I went for Cujo AI Smart Internet Security Firewall.
Now I have been using Cujo Firewall for a few months. It has an AI antivirus that blocks all remote access to the PC.
You can buy a Cujo firewall from Amazon.
— Majid Fareed, Digital Marketer at Angel Jackets
10. Zscaler Cloud Firewall: Best cloud-based firewall
As a remote working team, we had to find a cloud-based firewall at a low cost and were recommended to use Zscaler.
Zscaler Cloud Firewall is a software-only firewall that uses deep-packet inspection to identify malware being sent to your IP address.
And because you deploy it via the cloud, you can access the controls for your firewall and supervise your business network security remotely.
We’ve had a really good experience with Zscaler and would recommend it to small business owners looking for an easy-to-use and low-cost option.
11. Firebox Tabletop Appliances
WatchGuard’s Firebox Tabletop Appliances are ideal for small businesses and branch office locations. These are high-performance, total security tabletop appliances with built-in PoE+, and Wi-Fi optional.
eMazzanti Technologies has been a dedicated WatchGuard partner since the beginning. We spent a lot of time studying the market and what is available to the small to medium business out there and chose to partner with WatchGuard for the following reasons:
- WatchGuard has accomplished leadership positioning in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant of Multi-function Firewalls
- The company offers incentives for upgrading existing equipment and converting from similar class competitors
- Its products comply with regulatory compliance and security standards
- Built-in layered defense technologies with unique layer 7 content inspection
- A friendly end-user interface makes it easy to adapt
- Outstanding support and partner programs
eMazzanti Technologies partnered with WatchGuard to provide a unique approach to security to its customer base. This allows us to offer best-in-class, enterprise-grade security to all organizations regardless of size or technical expertise. Similar products from other competitors would translate to costly, inadequate, and hard-to-manage solutions with marginal efficiency.
Almi Dumi’s business, eMazzanti Technologies, is a top-ranked NYC area IT security consultant and MSP that has made the Inc. 5000 list eight consecutive years, is a New Jersey Business of the Year, and a 4X Microsoft Partner of the Year.
— Almi Dumi, CISO, has been with eMazzanti for 12 years. He holds numerous certifications including ITIL IT Service Management, PCI-QIR, WatchGuard Certified System Professional, Lean Six Sigma, and several Microsoft Professional certifications.
12. Cisco Meraki MX and SonicWall TZ 600
Cisco Meraki MX and SonicWall TZ 600 are probably the best two options for small businesses.
We implemented the Meraki MX firewalls for many customers. It includes features like cloud management and VPN connectivity and has good usability for multi-location security for non-IT specialists because it is easy to set up and maintain. Meraki created an interface that is very easy to manage. You don’t have to be Cisco certified to operate this firewall.
On the other hand, the SonicWall TZ firewall is a good solution for IT specialists who have prior experience implementing and managing firewalls for businesses. The web application firewall allows you to control permissions and preferences for each computer application that accesses the internet. That means better security and customization for your business.
SonicWall also offers load balancing to help you balance incoming requests between your servers. Also, the software creates VPN tunnels, allowing remote employees to share files on the internal network securely, without needing to run individual VPN client software. Those features will help you simplify your small-sized business’s internal processes and will ensure top-notch network security.
— Mihai Corbuleac, Information Security Consultant at StratusPointIT – providing professional IT support, cloud and information security services to SMBs across the United States since 2006.
I hope you liked the list of the best SMB firewalls. The purpose of this article was to help you make a well-informed purchase decision. These affordable firewall solutions are best for small and medium-sized businesses looking to protect all their devices from cyberattacks.
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Have another Firewall solution you love? Share your recommendations by leaving a comment below.