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Apr 21, 2023

Dos and Don’ts of Purchasing a New Firewall Solution


Your organization has decided it is time to invest in a new firewall solution. The IT team has considered software-based firewalls and hardware solutions. Management has looked into multiple vendors with potential solutions. Now what? Is it time to throw darts at the wall to determine what to do? No, it’s not.

Firewalls are a dime a dozen. Your organization doesn’t need just a piece of software or hardware. You need a comprehensive solution that will protect your network, grow with your organization, and enhance the user experience rather than hindering it. There is no one-size-fits-all solution that does all of this for every organization. Your organization’s needs are unique. You need a solution that works for you.

To that end, consider these dos and don’ts of purchasing a new firewall solution:

Don’t Rely Exclusively on Data Sheets

Firewall vendors are more than happy do offer data sheets showing performance stats. The data sheets do serve a valuable purpose. However, it is a mistake to rely solely on them to make your decision. Data sheets are prepared for sales purposes. They utilize data generated under ideal conditions. That data does not always reflect real-world performance.

Do Seek Organization-Wide Input

The IT team will exert a lot of influence on the decision-making process. But don’t forget everyone else. Stakeholders from every division within your organization have their own needs and concerns. They will all interact with whatever firewall solution you ultimately settle on. Their input needs to be considered, especially if a given firewall solution has a noticeable impact on user experience.

Do Look for a Scalable Solution

One of the most important components in a new firewall solution is its ability to scale. When firewalls don’t scale well, their usefulness is limited over long periods of time. Constant upgrades are necessary, with every subsequent upgrade potentially causing network-wide problems. It is just not worth it. A scalable solution offering your organization plenty of room to grow is a better choice.

Don’t Ignore Integration

Your organization’s firewall should fully integrate with current systems, at least as much as possible. Otherwise, you are left with an uncomfortable decision: do you do your best and cross your fingers or invest in new systems capable of working with a new firewall? Either choice leaves your organization chasing security rather than security enhancing your organization’s systems.

Do Practice Real World Testing

It goes without saying that a new firewall solution should be thoroughly tested before any purchase decision is made. Avoid the temptation of testing different aspects of the solution independently. Some independent testing is required, but real-world testing of the solution in its entirety is necessary to understand how it will actually function down the road.

A real-world testing scenario accounts for things like traffic patterns and volumes, local and cloud application integration, user experience, etc. Layering tests in order to mimic a real-world environment is the only way to fully understand whether a given firewall solution is a good fit.

Don’t Rush Into Things

Finally, your organization will be better off if you do not rush into things. While your organization cannot afford to delay investing in a new firewall indefinitely, it is still important for decision makers to take whatever time they need to get it right.

Firewalls are a dime a dozen. Choosing the best one for your organization means engaging in a thoughtful process that considers every angle and tests every possibility. The process can be long and daunting. But once you have the right firewall solution in place, all that work will have been worth it.