Assess Your Needs First
Assess Your Needs First Forewarned is forearmed, and when buying a firewall you should carefully consider the present and future needs of your organization. Think about how large your company is and how soon you project business and network growth. If you expect fast growth, look for scalable products.Administrators with less experience will need a firewall with a self-explanatory interface, such as that of the SonicWall SOHO3. More seasoned administrators might want command line interface access to the firewall through Secure Shellavailable in the ZyXEL product. It lets administrators configure the firewall remotely, without opening a Web port. Equally important considerations are whether the device has a built-in DHCP server and whether it has any backup for dynamic DNS, as with an outside DNS provider. If high availability and fail-over are important to your organization, a firewall with dual WAN ports and an additional serial port for an external modemsuch as the Symantec Firewall/VPN 200can ensure youre covered. Other firewalls, such as the SonicWall and WatchGuard products, provide fail-over but only with the purchase of an additional device. Keep in mind that your network applications must work smoothly with the firewall and vice versa. Being able to configure TCP and UDP port selections freely and segregate network traffic could be very important. For example, if you do videoconferencing, youll probably need a firewall that is capable of dynamically opening ports, such as those from SonicWall, Symantec, and WatchGuard.
Ease-of-use factors are important, too. What is the skill level of the person responsible for maintaining the device? Will that person be a dedicated administrator with security training or someone with much less experience? Even the simplest products can offer dizzying arrays of configuration options.