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Azure Firewall OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Azure Firewall is #19 ranked solution in best firewalls. PeerSpot users give Azure Firewall an average rating of 8 out of 10. Azure Firewall is most commonly compared to Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls: Azure Firewall vs Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls. Azure Firewall is popular among the large enterprise segment, accounting for 69% of users researching this solution on PeerSpot. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 30% of all views.
What is Azure Firewall?

Azure Firewall is a user-friendly, intuitive, cloud-native firewall security solution that provides top-of-the-industry threat protection for all your Azure Virtual Network resources. Azure Firewall is constantly and thoroughly analyzing all traffic and data packets, making it a very valuable and secure fully stateful firewall as a service with built-in high availability and unrestricted cloud scalability. Azure Firewall allows users to create virtual IP addresses and provides for secure DDoS protection for the virtual machines on your network. It also provides fast and efficient east-west and north-south traffic security.

Azure Firewall is a managed, cloud-based network security service built to protect your Azure Virtual Network resources. It is a fully stateful firewall as a service with built-in high availability and unrestricted cloud scalability.

Azure Firewall has two significant offerings, Standard and Premium.

Azure Firewall Standard works directly with Microsoft Cyber Security and supplies excellent L3-L7 filtering and threat awareness. The proactive real-time threat awareness will quickly alert you and immediately deny all traffic to and from any known problematic or suspicious domains or IP addresses. Microsoft Cyber Security is updated continually to protect against all new and known potential threats at all times. To learn more about Azure Firewall Standard, click here.

Azure Firewall Premium provides everything the standard version does, and additionally adds extra levels of data encryption, network intrusion detection, extended URL filtering, and Web category filters. To learn more about the added features of Azure Firewall Premium, click here.

Key Benefits and Features of Azure Firewall:

  • High availability - You do not need load balancers with Azure Firewall; it's already built in and ready to go.
  • Self-scalability - Azure Firewall is intuitive and will auto-scale as needed based on traffic flow to be ready for peak traffic times.
  • Threat awareness - Using Microsoft Cyber Security to filter traffic, Azure Firewall will deny any known problematic threats to keep your network safe.
  • Additional IP addresses - You can securely add up to 250 public IP addresses with Azure Firewall
  • Improved web category filtering - You can set up specific protocols to allow or deny categories within websites that are deemed inappropriate for use within your network. You have the ability to organize categories based on a defined set of descriptions.

What our real users have to say:

Many IT CEntral Station (soon to be Peerspot) users found Azure Firewall to be very user-friendly and easy to use. They liked that it offers seamless integration to the cloud and were especially pleased with the threat filtering options.

Regarding integration and threat intelligence, our users wrote:

“The most valuable feature is the integration into the overall cloud platform.”

The most valuable feature is threat intelligence. It is based on filtering and can identify multiple threats.”

I think that one of the best features is definitely the premium version, along with the IDPs in terms of the intrusion detection and prevention system.”



Azure Firewall Buyer's Guide

Download the Azure Firewall Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: January 2022

Azure Firewall Video

Azure Firewall Pricing Advice

What users are saying about Azure Firewall pricing:
  • "The licensing module is good."
  • "It is pay-as-you-go. So, you pay based on the usage. If I remember it well, there is a basic fee, and there is a traffic fee. It is not per month. It is per hour or something like that. It is not so expensive."
  • "Azure Firewalls operate on a pay-as-you-go model, similar to cloud services."
  • "The total cost of ownership is much less than Palo Alto, Cisco, or any other brand."
  • Azure Firewall Reviews

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    Senior Security Operations and Cyber Risk Analyst at a financial services firm with 51-200 employees
    Real User
    Top 20
    Good value for your money, good URL filtering, supports intrusion prevention, and is stable
    Pros and Cons
    • "I think that one of the best features is definitely the premium version, along with the IDPs in terms of the intrusion detection and prevention system."
    • "For larger enterprises, they need to adjust the scalability."

    What is our primary use case?

    We use it to protect the Azure space and to be the bridge between on-premise and the cloud.

    When I have had a site-to-site VPN set up and configured, and would use it to allow ordinary traffic from the on-premise device to the cloud and from other third-party suppliers to the Azure platform.

    We also use it to provide connectivity to various network security groups that have been created within Azure.

    How has it helped my organization?

    I would say that this solution is really good compared to other solutions that we have had before. We would have used the FortiGate firewall in the Azure space. 

    We find this process was quicker. It would get a faster turnaround time once we would generate and modify the firewall rules. Because of the visibility, we would have seen it. When compared to FortiGate, it would get a bit more visibility in terms of integration with the security center so that we would be able to review based on overall posture, see what needs to be fixed, or what changes need to be made. 

    The turnaround time turns off rules and any gaps that exist would increase the turnaround time for that as well. It would also help us to increase our response time and reduce our attack surface by 20% so far.

    What is most valuable?

    With the recent upgrade to the premium version, it facilitates IP Groups, URL filtering, TLS inspection, IDPs, and the Web Categories.

    Before using the premium version, a lot of our customers had concerns with the URL filter, where you would not be able to allow or block a specific URL. The feature set without a premium version would only allow you to do it via IP address, which is tedious.

    At times, many of these vendors would be using some kind of CDN solution. It would be the case where multiple IPs appear, changing behind the URL when it would be easier if you're using the URL feature. The URL maps onto the IP address and it would be the easiest way to do that.

    I think that one of the best features is definitely the premium version, along with the IDPs in terms of the intrusion detection and prevention system.

    Many other vendors, when you do not have the license for the IP at some point, then you would be left not being able to do any prevention. The fact that the premium version includes this is good.

    The TLS inspection allows you to decrypt the outbound traffic and encrypt data. Otherwise, we would have been using our third-party vendors, and whatever solution is within Azure.

    With the various business units, we will be reaching out to other solutions there are in the web category to reduce the attack surface to see if this is a category that is alone or not.

    The fact that Azure also ties into a security center is another good feature. You can also get rid of that visibility because of the tight integration with these Azure products.

    What needs improvement?

    We had an instance where it wasn't processing the rules and we had to engage Microsoft to resolve that issue. Microsoft Support needs to improve its response time.

    For larger enterprises, they need to adjust the scalability. This is the only issue that I'm have found that it attributed to the two weeks of downtime we had experienced.

    They need to offer either a scaled-up or scaled-out version or versions for larger enterprise companies.

    This would greatly improve the solution.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using Azure Firewall for approximately two and a half years.

    I have recently upgraded to the premium version.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Azure Firewall is pretty stable. 

    I believe that they listen to various sponsors, which is why they were able to release the premium version. It is a more established firewall that vendors now have. 

    I'm seeing where they have met up with the dynamics of the market, and I am expecting that they will be a leader sometime in the near future.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    They need to find a way to scale it out or scale it up a bit more. The scalability, it's okay, but it needs a lot more improvement. For a regular customer that's utilizing it, that's good, but for large enterprise companies, it is not as good.

    The industry is telecoms. We have millions of customers. For that type of environment, they need better and more scalability.

    We haven't totally assessed the premium version to see if the new features offer greater scalability. 

    We utilize it across the cloud estate. We plan to expand our subscriptions. Most definitely, we will increase our usage.

    Recently, we transitioned to the premium version, which will be extended to the other subscription once it has been rolled out across 32 countries, and with more instances, it will be rolled out across various continents.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    The turnaround time in resolving the issue where it wasn't processing the rules is an area that needs improvement. It wasn't resolved in a timely manner.

    Microsoft support took a bit of time to assist us in resolving that issue. It created a bit of downtime for us and it was longer than we expected. 

    I would say those would be the cons so far when utilizing it.

    I would rate the Microsoft support a five out of ten because they did not respond in a timely manner and the impact it caused in terms of the downtime it created for us. We were down for a week or two during a high-impact period.

    They were assisting us but it took a good amount of time to get it resolved when we needed to be putting out things daily. Two weeks is a long time for a fast-paced environment. 

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    Previously, we were using FortiGate Firewall. We switched because of the migrating of the Security Center and the ease of use. The cost was also considered.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was straightforward.

    We had another tool which was FortiGate. We migrated from FortiGate to the Azure Firewall.

    It was a straightforward migration.

    The deployment took approximately three to four weeks.

    The implementation strategy would include copying over rules, ensuring that all the services are able to run, and also ensuring that both firewalls were running in parallel. Until we are sure that the Azure Firewall can handle the workload, both firewall products will continue to operate.

    After that, we were able to power down the virtual appliance that was on the FortiGate Firewall.

    We had it running for quite some time, approximately a month and a half. Because there were no issues, we stopped using the FortiGate Firewall altogether, once that process was complete.

    We have a server team, a cloud team, and a network team to administer and maintain this solution. It's approximately eight to ten people, some are network security engineers, a network security manager, and network engineers.

    What was our ROI?

    There have been some cost benefits as well. When using another vendor in comparison where you bring your own license, the cost would have gone down. It's more cost-effective to use the Azure Firewall along with the premium version than using a third-party as an option from the marketplace. I would say that as well, where it gives you better spend in terms of OPEX. It's better value for your money.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    The licensing module is good. Pricing is one of the reasons we switched to this solution.

    For smaller businesses, they could probably put one or two features from premium into the regular standard versions. For example, that URL filtering is a pain point for many customers. 

    If they could find a way to scale down that URL and the IPs feature to include it in the standard version, then that would allow them to get more traction and more customers from the small to medium-sized business perspective.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We were using Check Point mostly. We had decided to move to FortiGate, and then we moved to Azure Firewall. 

    We did not go with Check Point because of the premium features such as the URL filtering, and the TLS inspection included with Check Point cost a lot more. This was the reason we chose the Azure Firewall.

    What other advice do I have?

    It's a solid solution. I would tell anybody to definitely give it a try, and consider it as one of the options when looking for a firewall to use in Azure space.

    I would say if they can go for the premium version upfront, rather than starting with the standard version, then trying to transition to a premium version. It addresses a lot of the issues and concerns in this space today. They should start with the premium rather than upgrade. Once they can afford it, go straight to premium.

    I would rate Azure Firewall an eight out of ten.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    Public Cloud

    If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

    Microsoft Azure
    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
    Flag as inappropriate
    Group Cloud Competency Center Manager at a transportation company with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    Scalability and centralized filtering reduce the management overhead, but there should be a consistent service speed worldwide
    Pros and Cons
    • "Network filtering is valuable. The scalability capability from the cloud-native service helps us a lot because it simplifies our day-to-day maintenance activity."
    • "It is a cloud service, but the lending speed for each region is not always the same. For example, in China, the speed is slow. They need to think about how to make sure that the service pace or speed is always the same in all regions. It would be a great improvement if they can provide the same pace worldwide."

    What is our primary use case?

    We use it to do the network traffic filtering between our private network and a public network. So, it is a boundary. Because of our IDS and IPS needs, the advanced features are enabled in Azure Firewall.

    There are two types of versions. In China, there is only the standard tier, but in the rest of the regions, there is the premium tier.

    How has it helped my organization?

    We have a centralized filtering capability because of Azure Firewall. So, our application teams don't need to take too much care of network filtering and network protection. It has helped a lot in reducing the management overhead for our application teams.

    It has helped us a lot with compliance. Because of our local cybersecurity law needs, we need to have firewall filtering capability. Before Azure Firewall, we didn't have too many choices. For example, we only had ACL, but Azure Firewall is a real firewall. It can protect us from a lot of traffic. So, it is improving our security and bringing satisfaction to the security team.

    From the viewpoint of our internal organization, it simplifies the work for our application teams. Because the Infra team has built a centralized shared firewall service, our application teams can have this kind of managed service from the Infra team. That's one of the benefits. It doesn't directly impact our customers or end-users outside our organizations, but it protects their personal data and information. It also improves their security level. So, overall, the end-users are getting served better.

    What is most valuable?

    Network filtering is valuable. The scalability capability from the cloud-native service helps us a lot because it simplifies our day-to-day maintenance activity.

    What needs improvement?

    It is a cloud service, but the lending speed for each region is not always the same. For example, in China, the speed is slow. They need to think about how to make sure that the service pace or speed is always the same in all regions. It would be a great improvement if they can provide the same pace worldwide. 

    It is still not at par with traditional next-generation firewalls. It is still behind other network and firewall vendors such as Palo Alto. There are other advanced and leading products in the market, and Azure Firewall is still a follower. So, they can consider investing more in this product and make it a market leader like Azure.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using it for more or less two years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    We had a few critical incidents, and we did the investigation together with Microsoft. It seems there were some bugs in Azure Firewall shared cluster. So, at the very beginning, we had a few outages or critical incidents because of the product bugs, but since then, especially in the past few months, it seems very good.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Scalability is a reason why we choose a cloud service like Azure Firewall. It can scale depending on the increase in your real traffic. In our case, we never reached the 20-gigabyte throughput limit, but we can have more instances in case the application or the network traffic grows. So, it can be scaled, and we don't need to take too much care of Azure capacity planning. 

    The Infra team is a direct user of this firewall. They take care of its day-to-day management. There are, at the most, 10 people on this team. They build the pipeline, monitor its performance, and based on the service requests, add and modify the JSON templates. In terms of applications, there are maybe hundreds of applications that rely on the service from Azure Firewall. We are implementing Azure Firewall worldwide. So, our footprint is extending.

    How are customer service and support?

    I would rate them a seven out of 10.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    We didn't have any cloud solution previously. We deployed it from scratch.

    How was the initial setup?

    Its initial setup was pretty straightforward. With its native portal and User Guide, you can very quickly do the implementation. Its UI is very user-friendly. 

    We made it an enterprise shared service for our use case. We studied and designed the cloud-native Azure Firewall service from scratch and packaged it as a standard service in our environment. We wanted to maintain the Azure service like the DNAT network rule and application rule. We wanted it to be always manageable in its lifecycle. So, we chose the infrastructure mode to manage our service. We have a delivery pipeline, and we also use the DevOps mode to maintain the Azure Firewall configuration in its lifecycle. For this part, the API is good, and the native Terraform and Ansible have relevant predefined modules. It is working fine. So, for this part, it is very good. It doesn't matter whether you are a junior technical guy or an advanced technical guy. You can always find a comfortable way to deploy, manage, and maintain it.

    Its deployment is very quick. It takes a few minutes. In order to make it the deployer pipeline, you need to spend some time because you need to think about the integration, such as how to integrate with GitLab CI, and how to make Azure Workbook so that it can monitor the usage and user performance. We wanted it as a managed service. So, the duration also depends on your use case.

    What about the implementation team?

    We did it ourselves. For its deployment and maintenance, we have less than five people. They just monitor and respond to all instances. They also accept a service request to implement a new rule or modify the older version of a rule. We don't have to do any upgrades.

    What was our ROI?

    We pay based on the usage. So, it makes sense that at the very beginning, we know very well how are they charging. We use and pay for it. So, it is not a CapEx expense. It is an OPEX expense, so it is not the same logic as ROI.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    It is pay-as-you-go. So, you pay based on the usage. If I remember it well, there is a basic fee, and there is a traffic fee. It is not per month. It is per hour or something like that. It is not so expensive.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We evaluated Palo Alto. If you want to have a Palo Alto firewall in the cloud, you need to deploy it as a virtual appliance. This part is not that easy because it requires two types of tech stack. You need an Azure computing license for the Palo Alto virtual appliance. In addition, scalability is your responsibility. It is not the responsibility of your core service provider. So, for maintenance, you need to spend more time and effort.

    Azure provides a unified API or interface, whereas if you want to have a traditional firewall appliance implemented in the cloud, you need to take care of the API or interface so that it can be managed in an automated way.

    What other advice do I have?

    You should have a clear understanding of Azure Firewall. You should understand how Microsoft packages it as a service. If you don't understand how is it composed and how it works, it will bring some unexpected issues during your day-to-day operation. This is a major service from Microsoft, so the quality of Microsoft's product will directly impact the service you want to offer to your customer or users. If you understand it well and test it well, it will give you fewer surprises in the future.

    I would rate Azure Firewall a seven out of 10.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    Public Cloud

    If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

    Microsoft Azure
    Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
    Flag as inappropriate
    Learn what your peers think about Azure Firewall. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: January 2022.
    563,780 professionals have used our research since 2012.
    Cloud Architect at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    Meets industry-level standards and compliance requirements, supports native load balances, and is comparably priced
    Pros and Cons
    • "It's auto-scalable, which is a great feature."
    • "It would be much easier if the on-premises, firewall rules, had some kind of export-import possibility in place, which is not the case right now."

    What is our primary use case?

    The use cases are related to internet-based traffic restriction. Generally, when it comes to gaining access to web applications hosted on Azure from the outside world, and the traffic restriction between the internal supplements.

    What is most valuable?

    We're still looking into the features. I can't evaluate much of it right now because we're still exploring. The requirements that we are looking at on the firewalls have been met, and we have begun running the operations. We are also looking forward to the next level of firewall features.

    It's auto-scalable, which is a great feature. It also meets industry-level standards and compliance requirements, which have been verified by our security team.

    It supports native load balances, and routable can be easily configured, which is another added feature. When we look at any other firewalls, and they were difficult to configure, which came in handy with Azure Firewall.

    Layer four security is to be expected. In contrast, with Azure Firewall, you can extend it to the other Wi-Fi layers.

    What needs improvement?

    I'm not sure if that is still supported because we haven't yet explored all of the features, but it was on our future roadmap to integrate all restriction traffic and anything with our ITSM tool, most likely ServiceNow. So that an auto ticket can be generated for the ingenious, remediation and fixing can be done. Any type of automation can come into play there as well. Those are on our to-do list. But we're still looking into it. It is yet to be discovered.

    It would be much easier if the on-premises, firewall rules, had some kind of export-import possibility in place, which is not the case right now.

    As I previously stated, the same integration, most likely ITSM tool integration, is one of those features we'd like to investigate to see if it exists or not, so we can have a more forward-thinking perspective on it.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We implemented Azure Firewall approximately three months ago. 

    I have been working with Azure Firewall for two to three months.

    I am working with the latest version.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The stability is excellent. As of now, we have not been faced with any issues, and we are keeping our fingers crossed that it remains that way.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    It is auto-scalable and highly available.

    The number of people using this solution in our organization is quite limited as it is restricted as of now. We currently have three people who are working with this solution.

    We may get one or two people on board, but for the time being it is restricted because it is a security device and we don't want to expose much of the admin privileges to the users or administrators, which is why it is restricted.

    How are customer service and support?

    We get enterprise support as well as Microsoft support with our premium version.

    Technical support is also fine. It is sufficient in my opinion. We have a Microsoft solution architect aligned with us as well, and if any new services, or deployment, as well as configuration, are required, he comes into the picture and we can get support from him. Aside from that, we have technical support for case-by-case scenarios such as severity A, B, and C for Microsoft. So far Microsoft support has not been an issue. I have been working with Microsoft for the past 10 years, I don't see much of an issue from Microsoft on support, at least from my point of view.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    We have Barracuda, FortiGate, and Check Point as well.

    As a comparison, it would be difficult because it is managed by a completely different team from an on-premises perspective. Before deploying Azure, we were looking for what parameters actually made the point, The security team was able to identify that it was good enough for our security parameters to meet our company's requirements. This is why we are using it, and how we deployed the Azure Firewall, subject to security approvals.

    The rest of the firewalls on-premises are managed by a different team.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was pretty easy. 

    In terms of configuration, we haven't faced much of an issue.

    The deployment and configuration took two to three hours.

    The maintenance parameter is supported by Microsoft. Being a cloud product is very simple in terms of maintenance; we don't need to worry about any kind of patching activity or anything else. On other products, we must check the vendor and follow the OEM recommendation. This is an area that Azure has simplified.

    What about the implementation team?

    Microsoft assisted us during the deployment. We had a solution engineer from Microsoft.

    The deployment was straightforward, on the other hand, from a configuration standpoint we had some help to avoid any issues or misconfiguration. A Firewall is something that is very important from a security point of view. You cannot have any loopholes on that parameter.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    We purchased the premium version for our enterprise support and it was quite good.

    There isn't much of a pricing licensing model in Azure. Azure Firewalls operate on a pay-as-you-go model, similar to cloud services. So far, the best estimate we've found for our enterprise solution is around 90,000 INR rupees in India. So that's what we discovered. And because we are using three different subscriptions and managing it from a hub network, we divide it and it comes to around 30,000 in INR fee subscription. That is a suite comparison that we have also done with regard to the licenses of other products. And we discovered that it is also comparable in terms of pricing.

    What other advice do I have?

    When it comes to firewalls or any other type of security device, it is more of an analysis done by your security team to determine whether or not it meets your security requirements. If we are only talking about product and features, I would recommend it because from a cloud perspective, and specifically, if you are using Azure, it is quite easy from a manageability, operations, and configuration standpoint, with respect to the PaaS services.

    Whereas if you deploy other vendors on Azure, managing the PaaS services would be difficult because Azure uses service tags, which you can simply configure in Azure Firewall for your PaaS services and other, even VMs. However, if you use other product vendors, there will be some kind of IP address restriction.

    If you're in an Azure environment, I'd recommend Azure Firewalls. If it is any other type of environment, we will most likely have to reassess it.

    As of now, it is pretty easy to rate it as nine. I won't rate it as 10 because we haven't searched much of the features. I would rate Azure Firewall a nine out of ten.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    Public Cloud

    If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

    Microsoft Azure
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    Flag as inappropriate
    Network Administrator at a government with 201-500 employees
    Real User
    Top 5
    The features are so limited that it's pretty much a protocol-filtering product
    Pros and Cons
    • "Azure's cost-effectiveness is its major advantage."
    • "Azure Firewall definitely needs a broader feature base. It should be able to go all the way up to layer 7 when looking at applications and things like that."

    What is our primary use case?

    When we started using Azure Firewall, we learned quickly that it couldn't do much. As I remember, it was essentially a layer 3 or layer 4 firewall that couldn't distinguish recognized applications and things like that. But it was inexpensive compared to the Palo Alto stuff we were looking at, so we wound up staying with the firewall. Mainly it was just inspecting ports between virtual machines.

    What needs improvement?

    Azure Firewall definitely needs a broader feature base. It should be able to go all the way up to layer 7 when looking at applications and things like that. It needs to be comparable to what you would get from Cisco, Palo Alto, Checkpoint, or any of those guys. If it's going to be a firewall, it needs to be competitive. From a security standpoint, it's not any better than loading an IP table in a Linux box. In fact, Linux may even be better in that sense

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've been using Azure Firewall for probably about a year.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Azure Firewall wasn't scalable at all, but it did what it's supposed to do.

    How are customer service and support?

    I honestly don't remember interfacing a lot with Azure support. I think that we were dealing with a third party, maybe. But I've been dealing with AWS for the last year, and it's a totally different experience in a good way. Their support is outstanding.

    How was the initial setup?

    Setting up Azure Firewall was easy because all you were doing was configuring source, destination, port, and action. However, there was something weird. You have to number your rules set, and depending on your numbering system, that's how you would have to apply the filtering of the logic of the policy. And in that sense, it's a little bit quirky. I don't think that most firewalls work that way. It just reads the policy, and the algorithm is based on it filtering down through the policies until it hits a truth or a match. And then it makes a decision based on that.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    Azure's cost-effectiveness is its major advantage. 

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    Each company will prioritize what it wants to work on. Azure may outperform AWS in some areas, but after working with the two platforms for roughly the same amount of time, I've found AWS friendlier and more sophisticated overall. AWS just seems to be a better platform for me, honestly.

    What other advice do I have?

    I would rate Azure Firewall one out of 10. I give it the worst rating because security is so important. However, it depends on your security goals. But you have to look at what's out there and what you typically get out of a box. Even for a cheap application for your computer, Azure Firewall just isn't delivering. It doesn't have any personality at all or functionality even. I definitely wouldn't recommend it to anyone, but I would have to go back and visit it because it's been a year now. The features are so limited that it's pretty much a protocol-filtering product. 

    Honestly, I think any serious security-minded entity will bypass Azure Firewall and look at some of the images from the third parties. I guess it's suitable for small outfits that aren't serious about security but want some basic protection. By the time I walked away, I  had spent a lot of hours on it, and I spent more time in my job trying to find a solution and pick the right one. I did everything to learn the firewall's feature set. I finally talked with someone at Microsoft who said, "We know what you want and what you're trying to do, but we're just not there yet."

    They just told me to stay tuned. I got the impression Azure Firewall is a very immature product that would probably improve over time. But, at that moment, I didn't think it was unready. It's just that products are trying to achieve different things. You can't have all the horses in all places. It's one of those things where I felt like it would have to be some acquisition or complete outsourcing of the security component to somebody specialized in the area who can sell it as a firewall.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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    Vladimir Jirasek
    Founder & CEO at Foresight Cyber Ltd
    Real User
    Top 5
    Easy to set up, good integration, and the technical support is good
    Pros and Cons
    • "The most valuable feature is the integration into the overall cloud platform."
    • "Currently, it only supports IP addresses, so you have to be specific about the IPs that are in your environment."

    What is our primary use case?

    Azure Firewall makes up part of our security solution. We use it internally but we are a consulting company and also advise our customers on the use of it.

    What is most valuable?

    The most valuable feature is the integration into the overall cloud platform. The orchestration is very easy using automation with APIs and scripts.

    What needs improvement?

    Currently, it only supports IP addresses, so you have to be specific about the IPs that are in your environment. They could add specific instance names, such as an instance ID to be specified or a resource group.

    Tagging is supported but not on the instances, which is something that could be improved.

    The selection of the internal resources into the ruleset could be improved.

    Support for layer-seven application filtering should be added because it is not there yet, at all.

    It is capable of filtering on the fully qualified domain name (FQDN) but it cannot do the more advanced features that Palo Alto or FortiGate can do, where you can grant or limit access to Facebook but you don't need to specify the domain name because it knows about Facebook as an application. You should be able to simply say "Allow Facebook", but also have it block Facebook Chat, for example. Having control over those specific application protocols within the traffic would be an improvement.

    The documentation from Microsoft could be slightly improved, although it could be related to the fact that the product is quickly changing. It may be a case that the documentation updates are of a lower priority than the product itself.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using the Azure Firewall for about one year.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The stability is excellent.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The scalability is very good and you don't have to think about sizing, as in the case of a traditional firewall where you have to think about the throughput. With Azure Firewall, it scales automatically.

    We have customers ranging in size from small to enterprise-level organizations. One of them is a large company with 40,000 users on Azure Firewall.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    We use the customer support that our customer has access to. If they have enterprise support then we use it, whereas if they do not then we use standard support.

    Personally, my experience with Microsoft support has been very good. Their professionals are very quick to respond and they have good feedback. They also have very good support forums and the documentation is fairly good. 

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    I have experience with similar solutions by Palo Alto and Fortinet. With the inclusion of more advanced features, Azure Firewall will be on par with these products.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup is straightforward and very easy.

    What other advice do I have?

    My advice to anybody who is considering this solution is to be clear about your requirements. It is critical to know what the capabilities of the firewall are, as well as what is nice to have when it comes to filtering and protecting the environment.

    There are different threat profiles when it comes to protecting user traffic. For example, in a VDI environment, where the users are in the cloud, generating traffic and browsing the internet on virtual machines, Azure might not be the best fit. On the other hand, to protect the workloads on servers like application servers or database servers, it's a perfect fit. So, it is important to be clear about the use cases in order to determine whether it is suitable.

    This is a relatively new product but Microsoft is really fast in their development and you never know what they are planning. In perhaps six months, I might rate it a ten out of ten. Nonetheless, at this time there is still some room for improvement.

    I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    Public Cloud

    If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

    Microsoft Azure
    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: partner
    ThomasZebar
    Senior Azure Solution Architect at a tech company with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    Top 5Leaderboard
    Integrates nicely with Azure, and the SaaS deployment means you don't have to worry about patching or upgrades
    Pros and Cons
    • "In terms of the reporting, it's beautiful. It integrates with Azure monitoring and with Azure policies. That piece is a big help. You can set governing policies and you can use the application firewall, as well as the Azure Firewall, to enforce those policies."
    • "It needs a lot of improvement, especially on intruder detection. They are working hard on that."

    What is most valuable?

    There are a lot of competitors to Azure Firewall. Microsoft figured it out, that they needed a firewall for their Azure platform that can integrate with their services. That's why they came up with Azure Firewall. It really has a pretty nice integration with Azure services. 

    In terms of the reporting, it's beautiful. It integrates with Azure monitoring and with Azure policies. That piece is a big help. You can set governing policies and you can use the application firewall, as well as the Azure Firewall, to enforce those policies. If you use the Azure platform, it is the best choice. And they're working on integrating it with many more Azure resources.

    The configuration is much easier because Microsoft already provides you with a tool that belongs to Azure. You can set one rule instead of setting 100 rules. That makes the administration of Azure Firewall much easier. For example, when it comes to DNS tags, services tags, and URL tags, you don't have to go URL-by-URL and tell it to open this or that port.

    In addition, it's a SaaS service. You don't have to worry about managing a virtual machine and things like patching and upgrading.

    What needs improvement?

    It needs a lot of improvement, especially on intruder detection. They are working hard on that.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I am an experienced Azure architect. I have more than 30 years in this field. I don't do operations anymore, although I know how to configure things.

    I have just done the design on a project for General Electric, with Azure Firewall.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It's very stable. Microsoft will not put something out there that is unstable.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Another big benefit of Azure Firewall is the scalability. You can grow it to meet the load of traffic. With a virtual appliance-based solution from Palo Alto or Cisco, you need to add another one to scale.

    How are customer service and support?

    Their tech support is great. They are very helpful. They can be involved in the design.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup is a piece of cake. You just provision it. You need to know your requirements because there are two versions, Standard and Premium, which affect your costs.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    One of the benefits of Azure Firewall, while it is not mature yet, is that the total cost of ownership is much less than Palo Alto, Cisco, or any other brand.

    When people look at the cost of Azure Firewall, they think, "Oh, it's pretty expensive." But when you base it on the total cost of ownership over a period of time, you have to look at the scalability and the fact that, if you already have Microsoft support, it is included for Azure Firewall automatically. When you add in the integration and the management, it comes out to much less than virtual appliances.

    What other advice do I have?

    I would highly recommend it if your design needs Azure Firewall. It might not need it. It might be that you could use an application firewall and that the application gateway will be more than enough.

    They're working on a distributed solution so that it's not that you just have a virtual network and one firewall. They really want to have more than one entry point into your environment, with ways to orchestrate it, with the IP coming from a client to different firewalls. They are moving at the speed of light to realize a lot of strategic initiatives for Azure Firewall. It is one of the strategic items that Microsoft is working on.

    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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    Owner at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Real User
    Top 5
    Recently added features such as SD-WAN have greatly simplified operations
    Pros and Cons
    • "Great security and connectivity."
    • "The interface could be improved, it's not very user friendly."

    What is our primary use case?

    We are currently working with Microsoft, trying to develop a new solution which is based on VeloCloud. It's an SD-WAN solution. This product has not been launched in China yet and we still have some work to do. I'm the company owner and five of my team use Azure Firewall. It's a startup team and I work with Microsoft directly.  

    What is most valuable?

    The most valuable features of the product are its great security and connectivity. 

    What needs improvement?

    The interface could be improved, it's not very user friendly. They are now trying to compete with a new Chinese domestic public cloud provider which has more features. It's difficult to find the ports on the current interface, but it's easier with this new provider. 

    We're looking to provide a better routing, or something like an SD-WAN solution that can improve the user experience. I think that's something Azure can do as an additional feature. There are five Azure clouds: Two belong to the US government and one is worldwide. Then there is Germany Azure and China Azure. China Azure is barely able to communicate with the rest of the world, and that connectivity issue needs to be looked at in detail and a solution found.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've been using this product for three years. It's an online platform so you're always getting the latest version. 

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It's a stable product. I've recently spent a lot of time on Palo Alto Firewalls and compared to that I would say that Azure Firewall is still a better firewall. They provide more and more features like SD-WAN or the cloud standard box feature.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    I'm satisfied with the technical support overall. I generally chat with the Microsoft team on the phone. 

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    I'm still using Palo Alto, Cisco ASA, Fortinet, Check Point and Juniper. Basically I use all of them. For small businesses with one standard, though, I would recommend Azure Firewalls. It's quite simple and easy to implement the whole security policy. For medium and large enterprise companies, however, they already have their on-premise firewall devices implemented. Users are trying to centralize their firewall security management and they prefer it to using virtualized firewalls like Checkpoint Virtual Firewall or Fortinet Virtual Firewall. That way, they can leverage their user technology capability, and try using a single interface to manage those devices. 

    How was the initial setup?

    From the virtual machine perspective, it's quite easy to set up. You can choose the image file from the public market, and then you can setup. However, the account, the Microsoft Azure identity, the whole creation process was very complex and it is not that user friendly. Users usually use their Azure ID, as well as sometimes providing the live ID. That's a second ID, and it confuses people.

    What other advice do I have?

    The network firewall is a complex project, you have to review all the requirements. It's possible that sometimes the Azure Firewall won't be able to support some things because they customize their applications and they may not meet with the Azure Firewall's features. Each user has unique requirements on shaping or manipulating network traffic. I wouldn't recommend any product without doing the research.

    I would rate this product an eight out of 10.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    Public Cloud
    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: partner
    Geo Thomas
    Network Security Engineer at Diyar United Company
    Real User
    Top 20
    Good threat intelligence, scalable, and good support
    Pros and Cons
    • "The most valuable feature is threat intelligence. It is based on filtering and can identify multiple threats."
    • "The reporting, logging, and monitoring features, as well as the flexibility of the policies, need to be improved."

    What is our primary use case?

    I have deployed Azure Firewall for a couple of my clients. They primarily use it for protecting their workloads and limiting incoming connections.

    I also have a subscription but I use it primarily for testing.

    What is most valuable?

    The most valuable feature is threat intelligence. It is based on filtering and can identify multiple threats. It can easily detect threats and I have customers that have experienced this.

    The malware signatures are updated automatically, which is helpful for new customers.

    What needs improvement?

    Compared to FortiGate and Palo Alto, Azure Firewall is not very flexible. There are multiple options for VPNs and the other features, and most of my clients are implementing third-party products that they are getting from the marketplace and other vendors.

    The reporting, logging, and monitoring features, as well as the flexibility of the policies, need to be improved.

    The visibility is much less with Azure Firewall than it is with other products.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been working with Azure Firewall for two years.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    This is a firewall that I implement for my SMB customers. For example, one of my recent deployments was to a user base of between 300 and 500 people. In fact, it was their DR site, so there was no regular user traffic. The real-time users enter that site typically for maintenance.

     My enterprise clients normally choose to implement SonicWall NSV.

    I have not had the opportunity to fully test the scalability but I can't see any limitations to it at this time.

    How are customer service and support?

    I have opened a couple of cases with Azure and the technical support was fine. There were no issues with it.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    I have experience with several other firewalls including FortiGate and Palo Alto.

    Another product that I have sold to my enterprise customers is SonicWall NSV.

    How was the initial setup?

    Compared to other firewall products, the setup is complex. I have faced problems setting up the DNAT, and there are some issues with setting up the certificates. I have also had trouble with service tag issues.

    The basic deployment takes one day or two days at the maximum. The fine-tuning, where we have to monitor and identify the proper traffic, takes place over two or three weeks. Fine-tuning is an extensive part of it. It is important that the configuration is set up correctly.

    What about the implementation team?

    We deploy this solution for our customers but they are responsible for the fine-tuning to their environment. I deploy it for our clients but I have another colleague who does it, as well.

    What other advice do I have?

    Overall, this is a good product and we will continue working with it.

    I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    Public Cloud

    If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

    Microsoft Azure
    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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