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KK
Network Associate at a wireless company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 10
Centrally managed, good antivirus and attack prevention capabilities, knowledgeable support

Pros and Cons

  • "We have between five and ten firewalls on-premises, and if we want to configure or push the same configuration to all of the firewalls, then the centralized management system is very helpful."
  • "The level and availability of training should be improved."

What is our primary use case?

We use firewalls to protect our private environment from the public environment. My IT group is in charge of protecting the environment and maintaining safe usage of the internet. This product gives us a better, safer solution for the users within our company. 

How has it helped my organization?

Using this solution saves us time because nowadays, there are many malicious sites, as well as other threats and viruses on the internet. As it is now, we are not required to do anything because we have the antivirus and regular updates from Check Point. That is very helpful for us because when new viruses emerge, we just install the new signature and it works to protect us.

What used to take me seven days to do, now takes me only five. However, this is not just a time benefit because it better protects our environment as well. I estimate a 20% to 30% reduction in the number of attacks, compared to before.

What is most valuable?

I like the antivirus, attack prevention, three-layer architecture, and data center management features.

The antivirus updates are quite frequent, which is something that I like.

Central management is a key feature. We have between five and ten firewalls on-premises, and if we want to configure or push the same configuration to all of the firewalls, then the centralized management system is very helpful. It means that we only have to push the configuration once and it gets published on all of the firewalls.

What needs improvement?

The level and availability of training should be improved. I have seen people that are not well trained on the Check Point firewall and the reason is simply that the quality of available training is poor compared to that of other firewalls on the market.

The command-line interface (CLI) should be more user-friendly.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Check Point NGFW for approximately four years, since 2017.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I work on the Check Point firewall five days a week and the stability is very good. In general, the updates to the software and antivirus are very stable. We have not faced any issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is very easy to scale and extend usage. We started with five firewalls and now there are approximately ten. There is not much effort required to scale and it is not very complex.

Directly or indirectly, there are between 2,000 and 3,000 people using it. Whenever their traffic is required to be sent to the internet from the office environment, the traffic passes through the firewall.

How are customer service and technical support?

We are very happy with our experience with technical support. They are very knowledgeable and the process for resolving tickets or problems is fast. We have had incidents dealt with quickly by their team. 

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

Prior to Check Point, we were using Cisco ASA and we are still using it today. The reason for implementing Check Point is that we wanted more advanced features. What we found was that after 2017, we needed better protection for our environment, and that is something that comes with advanced firewalls such as Check Point and Palo Alto.

I'm very happy with the Check Point firewall because it includes many features that are missing from Cisco ASA. Also, it offers a better and easier experience.

One of the significant differences is that Cisco ASA does not have a central management system. If we want to configure 10 firewalls with the same configuration, it is not possible to push them all at once. Instead, you have to configure them one by one. Apart from that, the antivirus and threat management need additional hardware because the functionality is not present in Cisco ASA. 

One of the positive points about Cisco ASA is that the training is very good, and it is available on the internet. This makes it easy to use for somebody who is new to the product. This is unlike the case with Check Point, where quality training is not available.

How was the initial setup?

We found the initial setup to be straightforward, as we have many experienced people in our team and they have worked with Check Point firewalls. 

We used the central management functionality a lot, and we initially configured five or six firewalls. It took between six and seven months for the complete deployment.

Our implementation strategy included the three-layer architecture, the centralized management system, the console, and the web UI. We followed the process that was recommended by Check Point.

What about the implementation team?

Our in-house team was in charge of the deployment. We have a team of seven people that work in shifts, and we did all of the work, with some support from Check Point.

Six or seven people in different shifts are required for maintenance. At any given time, we generally work with two or three people during the same shift. I think that two people working at the same time are sufficient.

What was our ROI?

We have seen ROI and when you consider the features like central management, antivirus, and threat management, it is a good investment.

We did have cost savings, moving to Check Point from Cisco ASA. We required additional hardware devices, such as an IPS solution, antivirus, and threat management. In addition, we needed too many resources because we had so many individual ASA firewalls. There was no central management system, so more staff were required.

Ultimately, with Check Point, we needed fewer people and we also saved on the cost of hardware.

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

The price of this solution is average; not too high and not too low. It is more expensive than Cisco ASA but cheaper than Palo Alto.

After the first package of licenses, we have not needed to purchase additional ones. When our license expires then we will purchase another one. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We also evaluated a solution by Palo Alto and we chose Check Point because it was more cost-friendly.

What other advice do I have?

The biggest lesson that I have learned from using this product is that it is good to see a company like Check Point is continuously working on the quality of their product, and we should learn from that. It is good to improve over time because it is very easy to get into the market, but it is not too easy to sustain. 

My advice for anybody who is implementing this firewall is to ensure that they are trained completely because it is not easy to use. Moreover, there is not much training available online, so you want to have trained with the device. This is a product with many features, which are pros, but these same features can become cons if you are not using it with complete knowledge.

In summary, this is a good product and they have been improving continuously, but there are still some areas to improve.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: IT Central Station 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.
IK
Security Expert at a aerospace/defense firm with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 5
Management platform and GUI are intuitive and user-friendly, but QA on releases needs improvement

Pros and Cons

  • "The management platform and the dashboard, the graphical user interface, is one of the best, if not the best, in the business. It's the most intuitive and it's really user-friendly in day-to-day operations."
  • "One of my issues with Check Point is the stability. There have been too many bugs, over the years, when I compare them with other vendors. Their QA team should do better work before releasing their GA versions."

What is our primary use case?

The reason we have the Check Point Next Generation Firewall is that it's our main perimeter firewall in all our branches around the world. It secures the IT infrastructure in all of our environments and our subsidiaries. We also use it to set up tunnels between all our sites.

We have multiple versions from the legacy R77 to the latest R80.40.

How has it helped my organization?

In today's world, there are a lot of risks related to infrastructure security, malware and more. The Check Point has multiple blades in the same product, which improve security in IPS, application control, and URL filtering. You don't need to buy multiple, separate products to achieve the best security.

What is most valuable?

The basic most valuable feature is the firewall itself.

The management platform, dashboard, graphical user interface, are one of the best, if not the best, in the business. It's the most intuitive and it's really user-friendly in day-to-day operations.

The VPN means you can communicate in an encrypted manner between sites. 

The application control and URL filtering are also very beneficial. They enable you to tighten security and decide which applications or websites you want to grant access to. In our company, we don't allow anyone to freely access the internet to surf all websites. Some sites may be sensitive and some of them may be inappropriate. It allows us to control the traffic.

What needs improvement?

Their management features are the best, from one point of view, but they are too heavy. For example, if you are looking at a configuration file, you can't just browse through it and see all the configurations like you can with other vendors, like Cisco and Fortigate. With those solutions you can just go over the configuration file and read all the objects and the policies, etc. 

Because of the Check Point architecture, the data file itself is huge if you're comparing it to the data files of other vendors. The difference is something like 3 Mb to 1 Gb. It's not so straightforward. 

The data process is also not so simple. You don't just load a text file which has all the configuration. It's a more complex process to restore it from a backup, when it comes to Check Point.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Check Point's NGFW for approximately 10 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

One of my issues with Check Point is the stability. There have been too many bugs, over the years, when I compare them with other vendors. Their QA team should do better work before releasing their GA versions.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

If you're looking for scalability and you need to add more power and performance and to scale up, they have a new solution, but I haven't used it yet.

In terms of the extent of our use, it's our main firewall. Everything flows through it.

We currently have four direct users and all of them are security engineers. I'm doing most of the deployment and the others are responsible for the day-to-day operations. In the overall company there are more than 10,000 users, and the traffic throughput is around 10 Gb.

How are customer service and technical support?

They have a very extensive Knowledge Base on their website, which is very helpful. But if you contact their technical support, not all of them have all the skills. If you open a ticket it may take a while to be resolved. It can take more than a month until they finally escalate it several times internally and then, finally, find a solution. But the first tier is not too technical.

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

The previous solution, Contivity, was before my time in this company and I don't think it even exists anymore. The Contivity was only a firewall and our company wanted more features and benefits. It didn't have next-generation firewall options, like URL filtering, user identity, and IPS. As risks evolved in the data security field, our company needed to adapt.

How was the initial setup?

The complexity of the setup depends on which branch we're setting it up for. If it's a new branch, we can spin up a new firewall in less than an hour or so, do all the configuration, and it's ready for production. But if we're replacing an existing solution, the migration process may take some time and the people involved need more extensive knowledge, compared to spinning up a new firewall.

If it's a complex environment and you're migrating from one solution to another one, or even from an older version to a new version within the Check Point platform, I would recommend not to do it by yourself. In those cases you should use a third-party partner or Check Point Professional Services.

What about the implementation team?

I did most of my deployments by myself, but in our headquarters, where there was an older version of a Check Point version, and they wanted to migrate to a new one, I used a partner. The partner I used was SafeWay, a company in Israel. They have quite extensive knowledge and they are very professional.

What was our ROI?

It's hard to measure ROI in financial terms, but our productivity has gone up with the new version of the R80 because we don't need to wait for one administrator to log out of the management system for another to be able to log in. Multiple administrators can now work simultaneously on the platform. That productivity increase can be seen as a form of ROI.

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

Use the basic sizing tool to do the correct sizing so you don't waste too much money, because it's not a very cheap solution when compared to other vendors. There are other vendors that are more affordable.

There are no costs in addition to the standard licensing fees, except maintenance.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We have not evaluated any other options.

What other advice do I have?

My best advice would be, if you are not as skilled, that while you don't really need to use the Check Point Professional Services, you should use a partner that has good knowledge of the device. If it's just a straightforward deployment without all the features, it may look simple but there are too many options. Eventually, you may use 30 percent of them. I don't think you will use 100 percent of all the features that are available.

Overall, I'm a little bit disappointed because of the numerous bugs that there are.

I would rate it at seven out of ten because their management platform and the dashboard. It's the most intuitive and user-friendly in day-to-day operations, as long as you're not dealing with the bugs.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: IT Central Station 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.
Learn what your peers think about Check Point NGFW. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: December 2021.
554,529 professionals have used our research since 2012.
GG
Security and Platforms Engineer at a educational organization with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 10
You only need to use one rule for both the DMZ and the Internet

Pros and Cons

  • "The Check Point API let me make 100 net rules in just 10 minutes, which saved us time."
  • "I would rate the technical support as a seven out of 10. Sometimes, it's difficult to get them to understand what the issue is. Sometimes, the issue is not resolved, then we solve it by ourselves with Check Point's documentation, which can be useful. When you open a case with Check Point, they can be a little slow. Sometimes, they don't solve things."

What is our primary use case?

I am using this solution for perimeter security in the company. Our firewall security is centralized under one management. Also, we use this firewall to manage some of the VPN clients and the employees' access across the company. 

Each firewall is capable of using the VPN client, but we only use two. We have five in total, but we only use two for these issues.

I am using the firmware version for the operating system. The blades are firewalled for IPS and mobile access.

How has it helped my organization?

Last year, we used the Check Point Identity Awareness Software Blade. Now, we only use a normal firewall with IP address rules, address destination, and services. Then, we can filter by users. So, my boss has access to these things by user. Even if it's connected with the Active Directory, we can filter by user name, or in this case by server name, and it works perfectly. This is very valuable for our company.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features about Check Point are the API and automation process.

Using the GUI, you can add comments from your PC or the client server. If I want to check the firewall rules, I can send one line of command to determine if it is configured or not. 

Its implementation and integration with the rest of the network are better than its competitors.

What needs improvement?

The stability needs improvement for its version releases. They have a feature called Inline Layer as part of the R80.10 release. In the last version, it still had bugs and is not working very well. I would like the developers to release a version that is more stable, because if you start to use the latest release and try to use this newest feature, I'm not 100 percent sure that it will work very well. After six months of development, it might start working better. However, at the beginning, it's not a good choice to implement in your company with your first attempt. But one or two releases later, it might be better. 

If you only have one vendor and they are downgraded or no longer a leader in their industry, then you need to change the entire solution, making it more expensive. For example, Check Point's components are not interchangeable with other vendors.

For how long have I used the solution?

Around four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of the firewall is nice if you use the legacy mode, because the new mode is not good. Things worked in version 77, which is older. It was more stable. When they jumped from version 77 to 88, sometimes things didn't work that used to work in the earlier version.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability of the firewall depends on the model. In terms of the implementation, it's really easy.

We have about 25 users for the entire solution. We have two engineers who work on deployments and implementation. We have another 18 engineers who do support and operations. They have responsibility to monitor the firewall 24/7.

It protects the core network and ISP: the routing, switching, and APM backbone. This is around 8,000 pieces of equipment. 

We don't have plans to increase our usage right now.

How are customer service and technical support?

I would rate the technical support as a seven out of 10. Sometimes, it's difficult to get them to understand what the issue is. Sometimes, the issue is not resolved, then we solve it by ourselves with Check Point's documentation, which can be useful. When you open a case with Check Point, they can be a little slow. Sometimes, they don't solve things.

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

In the beginning, we used Fortinet, Juniper, and Cisco. Now, we only use Check Point for firewalls. 

Last year, we changed the Fortinet firewall to the Check Point firewall. The Check Point API let me make 100 net rules in just 10 minutes, which saved us time.

The administration is awful in Fortinet. They have the FortiGate portal on an HTTP portal. Therefore, if you want to make a change, you can make a change. But if you do the change, then it's directly applied on the network, and we don't want to do that. We configure and change the policy and routing. We only apply the changes in the night. However, with Fortinet, you need to configure and apply the changes at the same time. So, it's not useful for our operations.

With Fortinet, you need to duplicate the rules from the DMZ to the Internet and the Internet to the DMZ. In Check Point, you only use one rule, which works on both sites.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is really easy. You can do it in 30 minutes. Setting up an environment for a firewall and its management with a licensed demo took me an hour last week, and that includes the time for configuring the rules. The whole installation is 30 minutes and the configuration is another 30 minutes.

If you are implementing from another vendor, Check Point has a program called SmartMove. Then, all you need is the configuration of the previous firewall. Once you do some optimization, then you are ready for the integration. This might take a month overall.

What about the implementation team?

We consulted with one partner of Check Point, who is our provider. If the issue is really big, then we open a case with Check Point directly via the partner. My experience with them was really nice. It was the best experience that I had ever had.

They have amazing engineers. Their expertise is unbelievable. They do integrations really well. They could improve on routing and networking, but the product is what is important for me. 

What was our ROI?

The firewall is only for protection. It is not used to sell services.

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

The pricing and licensing are expensive. If you compare it with Fortinet, then it is cheaper on a yearly basis. However, Check Point is the most expensive firewall right now in terms of licenses and its appliance. My recommendation is if you want a long-term investment, then you should use an open server. If you use an open server, then the latency is really low. If you pay for a full appliance, it's more expensive.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Check Point's web administration is not complete. If you compare it to Fortinet's web administration, Check Point's web administration is not nice. However, Check Point's full solution, including SmartConsole, is better than Fortinet's solution.

What other advice do I have?

If you use Apple computers or Linux, the product may not be a good choice for you.

I would rate the solution as a seven point eight out of 10. They can improve some things. They can make it more flexible in terms of its software. It is a good solution, and I like it. For me, it's the best firewall solution.

Disclosure: IT Central Station 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.
AP
IT Infrastructure & Cyber Security Manager at a retailer with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Top 10
Enables us to identify attacks and communication with malicious sites and to remediate these issues

Pros and Cons

  • "The features that are important include: IPS, sandbox, SandBlast, Anti-Bot, and URL filtering."
  • "In terms of new features, maybe it would help if we could start to manage all the stuff in the cloud and not in the on-prem servers. The management side could also be faster when you install policies. But other than that, I'm satisfied."

What is our primary use case?

We have two clusters. We are using them as both perimeter firewalls and data center firewalls.

How has it helped my organization?

In the past few years, we encountered attempted attacks on our company and we succeeded in finding that we were those attacks, or that some user or workstation was communicating with malicious sites. Without the Check Point Next Generation Firewall, we wouldn't have had the tools to identify these things and to remediate the problems.

What is most valuable?

A firewall is a firewall. It's a Layer 4 machine that blocks or allows traffic for ports. That's the basics and we don't need a next-generation firewall for that. But the features that are important include:

  • IPS
  • sandbox
  • SandBlast
  • Anti-Bot
  • URL filtering.

A basic firewall is a basic firewall. You don't need Check Point and you don't need Palo Alto or the other vendors to block ports from source to destination. But we need the advanced features of this product to give us the visibility into, and the security and protection from, scenarios that are not the usual source-to-destination attacks. The solution needs to understand what the connection is, what the behavior of the connection is, and what the reason for the connection is. It can't be a stupid machine. It needs to know that if you're allowing port 53 from source to destination, that it has to check and give us the information that this communication is legitimate, and not something that is malicious.

What needs improvement?

We just upgraded to the latest software version of Check Point so we have a lot of new stuff to learn. The older version had a little bit of a problem with identity awareness and with HTTPS inspection with the visibility of the logs, and the implementing of rules. But as far as I can see now, with the new version, most of the problems were fixed.

In terms of new features, maybe it would help if we could start to manage all the stuff in the cloud and not in the on-prem servers. The management side could also be faster when you install policies. But other than that, I'm satisfied.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used Check Point NGFW firewalls for more than eight years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In all the time I've been using Check Point there have been no major issues or problems. It's a very stable environment and a very stable solution, in my experience.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have around 600 to 700 endpoints, workstations, points of sale, and mobile devices. We also have about 200 servers, a WiFi environment, and a networking environment that is not small. We have implemented it 100 percent but, because of the Coronavirus, the company itself is not 100 percent capacity.

For now, we have implemented everything that we wanted and the firewalls are working 100 percent. There are no plans in the near future to grow. Of course, if everything goes back to normal, maybe we will grow.

There are no problems for us in terms of scalability because we're not working at full capacity. We designed the new solution to give us the resources that meet our needs for the moment and for the future. There is no problem with scalability and we can add new firewalls, or replace what we have with bigger firewalls. Everything is okay in terms of scalability from our side.

How are customer service and technical support?

We continue using our partner for resolving problems and doing the changes that we need. That is the way that most vendors are working. First of all you need a partner and then the partner will open up a case with Check Point.

But one of the best things about working with Check Point, especially here in Israel, is that there is a direct line to the support, because we have such a good relationship with them, to speed things up.

The support is fast, professional, and thorough. Those are the most important things when you have a problem. If we need to call for support from either our partner or Check Point, we get a quick response and, usually, a fast resolution of the problem.

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

We migrated from Check Point to Check Point

How was the initial setup?

It was really pretty straight forward because we upgraded from an older Check Point product. The installation and the assimilation of the new firewall was very quick with almost no downtime and almost no problems.

We deployed four firewalls in two clusters and, all in all, it took about one day of work; half a day for each side. That includes the installation, the configuration, and the exporting of the configuration from the old system and, of course, all the fixes and patches.

On our side there was one person involved in the initial setup, just to make sure that everything was going okay and, after the installation, to do all the checks and verify that everything was working fine and as needed.

What about the implementation team?

We deployed it with the help of a partner, called Spider Solutions, here in Israel. Our experience with them was good. The technician that came here to install the firewalls was professional and thorough. Everything went according to plan, with no issues.

The whole initial setup was done by the partner and our role was more oversight to see that everything was okay and to give the information that was needed to proceed.

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

The pricing in this category is a jungle, but Check Point was very competitive. They were very forthcoming and agile for our budget needs.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I have checked a few other vendors and solutions but, in the end, Check Point is the best candidate for our organization. That's true technology-wise and because of the support. Because Check Point is an Israeli company, it's very easy to get help very fast. We speak the same language and that helps as well. Doing support in Hebrew is very helpful for us. 

Other vendors were either more expensive or, to get some of the features, we would have had to upgrade to a bigger, stronger, and more expensive machine. But with Check Point, that wasn't the case.

What other advice do I have?

Check this solution and see how it fits with your organization. See how easily you can manage and control the environment. The visibility and the management provided by the product is one of the most important things, other than the security features that the product has. And check the sizing carefully. Check that the machines you're going to buy are sufficient for your current needs and the future needs of your organization.

Disclosure: IT Central Station 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.
reviewer1692963
User
User
Top 20
Scalable with seamless failover capabilities and excellent logging functionality

Pros and Cons

  • "The failover from one device to the other has been seamless and we find that we do not lose ongoing SIP calls or Teams chats."
  • "We find the GUI to be wrong and the CLI doesn't always show all of the connections."

What is our primary use case?

We needed to replace our external firewall solution as we were having issues with the HTTPS inspection on our previous solution and the level of support being provided was terrible, leaving us with an issue that could not be fixed for over six months. 

We had already deployed a new internal firewall solution but needed something that would protect that from external factors. We also needed a new solution to replace our client VPN solution. The Check Point solution gave us that as one whole solution instead of having to manage multiple services.

How has it helped my organization?

Our policy is to deny all outbound traffic unless we allow it, which can generate a lot of work to build a rule base that allows everything we need to get out. 

This solution has made managing connections out to the web much better due to the categorisation and app control that is available. Being able to say certain apps and services are allowed out, instead of finding all the relevant IPs, has massively reduced the workload. The ability to manage the Client VPN and relevant rules for that in the same location has also improved the way we work. Having links into AD for group membership recognition and having rules based around this has been very useful in improving the way remote users can access the network.

What is most valuable?

Logging has been excellent. Being able to see all logs from all the various firewalls at different sites in one window has made fault finding much easier. We can see how the traffic is moving through the sites and on which firewall. 

It has also been easy to see machines that may have had infections as we can report easily on devices trying to talk out to sites and services that are known to be dangerous. We have these set up as an HA pair on our main site and we have a lot of audio and video services that go out over the web. 

The failover from one device to the other has been seamless and we find that we do not lose ongoing SIP calls or Teams chats. 

What needs improvement?

The functionality of the S2S VPN service has been temperamental for us at times and is not always simple to manage or check the state of. 

We find the GUI to be wrong and the CLI doesn't always show all of the connections. 

From a general usability point of view, if you have not used Check Point before, the learning curve is steep. Perhaps managing and configuring the devices could be streamlined for people with less experience so that they can pick it up quicker. There needs to be extra wizards for the out-of-the-box builds.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used the solution for six months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

On the firewall side and content filtering side of the solution, it has been faultless. There has been no real downtime to note and the access to the web via relevant rules has always worked as expected.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have a fairly small setup in the grand scheme of things, however, from what we have seen, the ability to add in new firewalls or increase the hardware spec seems very good and it would be easy to transition from older to newer hardware when the time comes.

How are customer service and support?

Due to the support model we signed up for, we don't deal directly with Check Point support. We deal with the vendor first and they will deal with any 1st/2nd and even most 3rd priority issues. They would then go to Check Point if they need more assistance on our behalf. The level of support and responsiveness of their support has been excellent. We're always getting at least a response within a few hours, even on a P3/P4 issue.

How would you rate customer service and support?

Positive

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

We did have another solution, but due to an issue with the HTTPS inspection that the manufacturer was not able to properly rectify or fix for 6 months, we lost faith in their ability to provide adequate support going forward for any issues we might come across. 

How was the initial setup?

The setup was complex due to the nature of the Check Point firewalls and us having to make some config setup in one portal and others on the CLI. We also had to arrange the rule base via the management console. There could be 3 different places you need to make various changes. We also used private microwave links as redundancy for VPN connections and that had caused significant issues in getting set up as the link selection did not cooperate at first.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented via a vendor and I have to say their level of expertise was brilliant. Every question we threw at them, they were able to provide an answer to. 

What was our ROI?

It was not the cheapest solution to go for, but the amount of admin time that has been saved by the use of Check Point firewalls has definitely given us a great return, giving us more time to work on other aspects of our network. Also, being able to consolidate 2 solutions (Firewall and Client VPN) into one solution has saved more money and admin time. 

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

We found that Check Point was very flexible with its pricing. We were looking at a spec of hardware in other solutions. We found that Check Point did not have a direct competitor, but to help with the bid, they managed to reduce the costs of their higher-spec hardware to make it competitive with the other solutions we were looking at. It's not our fault they did not produce the hardware of a similar spec. It's up to them to try and provide a solution that would make it a competitive solution. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at several other solutions in including Palo Alto at the top of the market and Sophos XG further down.

What other advice do I have?

I would say as good as the solution is, if you are looking to get the most out of it, you should look to get a company or consultant who knows the Check Point solution inside out to assist with the setup. We found a partner who specialized in Check Point and we would not have been able to get it to the stage we have without them.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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MP
Network Security Engineer at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 10
Good support, granular policy configuration options, and a good VPN that facilitates remote working

Pros and Cons

  • "There are many useful features including the Office VPN, which provides us with a seamless connection for users who are working remotely."
  • "The study material for Check Point needs to be improved, as well as the cost for certification."

What is our primary use case?

The purpose of using the firewall is to protect the users from the external network, internet. Apart from that, we have set up IPsec tunnels between two different sites, and for internal usage, between two different zones, we use these firewalls as well.

Our environment consists of a 3-tier architecture, which is recommended by Check Point. We use the central management system to manage our 3-tier architecture, and we use the Smart Console as well.

How has it helped my organization?

This solution has improved the way our organization functions in multiple ways. For example, during the pandemic situation, things completely shifted. People who are working from the office are now working from home, and it is our responsibility, as network security engineers, to monitor the home users. We do not want them to access any blacklisted sites and we want to make sure that they are protected from threats and risks from the internet.

With the Office Mode VPN, it would not be possible to manage work from home because the security would not be in place. We have more granular security options with this firewall.

What is most valuable?

There are many useful features including the Office VPN, which provides us with a seamless connection for users who are working remotely. This is helpful for our employees that are working from home, as they get the same office environment as if they were on-premises. It is also helpful for us as an organization because we have good control and visibility over their data, including network traffic packets.

What needs improvement?

There are two major areas that need to be improved.

The study material for Check Point needs to be improved, as well as the cost for certification. One of my friends recently completed the certification and it was costlier than other firewall security certificates.

The reports are generally good but there is not much control. We would like to have more filters. Essentially, we want more granular reporting.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Check Point NGFW since 2018.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There are no issues with stability that we have found. It is a good brand, and it is one of the oldest and finest firewalls on the market right now.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is not a problem. It has both UI and CLI-based options to configure it, and it is not difficult to extend or scale. We have between four and six deployments and we plan to continue using it in the future. As we are growing, we will continue to expand its usage.

We have about 12 people working directly with Check Point NGFW. There are approximately 4,000 users who are indirectly using it, as their traffic passes through the firewall. It is used by the entire organization.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have support available from the Check Point TAC team. Our experience with them has been pretty good. We haven't had any issues or problems communicating with them or getting a solution from them.

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

Prior to Check Point, we were using Cisco ASA.

The problem with Cisco ASA is that it is a purely CLl-based firewall. Check Point is not only UI and CLI-based, but it is also a next-generation firewall. It has many different and more advanced features, compared to Cisco ASA.

For example, in Cisco ASA, we can use only two gateways in active-active mode, but with this product, we can use five gateways at a time. Another difference is that the Cisco ASA policy configuration options are not as granular as Check Point.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup process was very straightforward.

Our deployment took between seven and eight months, which included replacing our Cisco ASA firewall. It began with the planning, then implementation, followed by validation, and then we replaced the existing firewall. It would have been a little complex for us, but we did it all in a very straightforward manner.

What about the implementation team?

We have a very good in-house engineering team that does the setup and configuration. We did not require any third-party assistance because we have had full training on it.

Our deployment included seven or eight people who were working in different shifts. Similarly, we have three to four network security engineers working in shifts who maintain it. This includes things like dealing with tickets for updating policies.

What was our ROI?

We are happy with the return that we are getting from this firewall.

Rather than money, this product is saving the security of our organization. This is the first thing that we were looking for, before deploying this firewall in our organization. We know that ASA is cheaper than Check Point, but our concentration was making the environment more secure.

Cost-wise, it is more expensive than Cisco ASA, but the returns include better security and more granular options. We are happy with that. We were not looking to save money but rather, providing a safer environment for our users.

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

The price of this product is not too costly and you do not need to pay for all of the features. It is more expensive than Cisco ASA, yet cheaper than a similar product by Palo Alto. The cost varies, depending on the service. For example, we have opted for Geo Protection, which is something that costs extra, but we wanted that feature.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did not evaluate other options. We only compared the differences between our existing Cisco ASA implementation and Check Point.

What other advice do I have?

The biggest lesson that I have learned from using this product is that the TAC team is very knowledgeable and supportive. If I want to understand something or if I have doubts, then usually clear it up and make sure that I understand the logic. I have learned a lot from them.

This is a product that is rich in features and my advice for anybody who is deploying it for the first time is to learn about them in advance. It is a little bit different than a CLI-based firewall and I recommend learning about all of the features before deploying it.

At this point, we are happy with the results that we are getting from Check Point, and are not looking to replace it. It works as we were expecting before it was deployed.

I would rate this solution a ten out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: IT Central Station 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.
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CL
System Architekt at a financial services firm with 1-10 employees
Real User
Top 10
Prevents users from accessing things on the Internet that they are not supposed to access

Pros and Cons

  • "The firewall feature and DDoS Protector, when turned on, keep away attacks from the outside. They also prevent users from accessing things on the Internet that they are not supposed to access."
  • "It depends whether the problem is known to Check Point. If they are aware there is a problem, quite often it will then depend on which tech you finally land on if it's easier or harder to get to the root cause. The last issue was in India so that was pretty bad. It's easier if you get directly through to Tel Aviv or Ottawa, but you can't choose. Once they know what the issue is, it's pretty good. It pretty much depends on the engineer that you get. There are pretty good engineers and there are many engineers who are at just the starter level at Check Point who are not really into the stuff. Sometimes it's hard, sometimes it's easy, depending on the problem and the tech engineer you get."

What is our primary use case?

We use it as a normal firewall for perimeter security, using some of the Next Generation features, like Anti-Bot and Antivirus. 

We have two ISPs. We have a different firewall system in front of the Check Point Firewall. We also have normal Cisco switches combined with the Check Point solution. Then, our internal network is with Cisco, which is about 300 servers and 1,500 clients.

How has it helped my organization?

Since we are an insurance company, the solution is a necessity.

Two-thirds of our employees are working at home at the moment, so we use the VPN feature more than we used to. Of those two-thirds, only 100 or 200 are using the remote client from Check Point. The other employees are using other technologies, like NetScaler from Citrix. 

What is most valuable?

We use the basic firewall functionality, plus the VPN functionality, a lot.

We have about 100 remote sites, which is where we use the VPN functionality. For private lines, we prefer to do further private encryption on the line. It is very convenient to do it with Check Point, if you have Check Point on both sides. It is convenient and easy to monitor.

The firewall feature and DDoS Protector, when turned on, keep away attacks from the outside. They also prevent users from accessing things on the Internet that they are not supposed to access.

What needs improvement?

The Threat Emulation definitely needs improvement. A couple of years ago, we did a comparison with other companies, e.g., Lastline, offering threat emulation and threat detection functionalities, and Check Point was lacking. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Check Point for 22 to 23 years. I have been using Check Point NGFW for 15 years, since 2005.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We used to have more problems. For the past five years, unless we have had a bug, which happens like once a year, it has been pretty stable. We did have a bug for the last three months, which has just been fixed. Before that we had another two or three major bugs. However, when there is a bug and it's not known to Check Point, they need quite a while to get it fixed. If they have a fix already, then there is a pretty quick turnaround to get it fixed.

There are three people working on firewalls, but not at 100 percent. We have the equivalent of one person doing firewalls 100 percent of the time using three people.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

For our requirements, it's scalable enough. We have a 1 gig uplink to the Internet, which is easily doable with open servers. 

We used to have some problems with the performance, then we upgraded the license and the scalability has worked well since.

There are 1,200 to 1,500 users.

How are customer service and technical support?

It depends whether the problem is known to Check Point. If they are aware there is a problem, quite often it will then depend on which tech you finally land on if it's easier or harder to get to the root cause. The last issue was in India so that was pretty bad. It's easier if you get directly through to Tel Aviv or Ottawa, but you can't choose. Once they know what the issue is, it's pretty good. It pretty much depends on the engineer that you get. There are pretty good engineers and there are many engineers who are at just the starter level at Check Point who are not really into the stuff. Sometimes it's hard, sometimes it's easy, depending on the problem and the tech engineer you get.

To the next manager, it's pretty easy to escalate an issue, if needed. Though, it depends on the manager. 

Our current sales staff isn't too good. Though, the one before was pretty good. So, you can escalate on that process well. As an escalation path, it works most of the time.

How was the initial setup?

Once you do it for over 20 years, it is straightforward. If you have done it a couple of times, then you know what to do. However, even if you are a beginner, Check Point is more straightforward than Palo Alto or something like that. Once you get the idea of how a firewall works, Check Point does it that way.

There is a central location where we deploy upgrades, which normally take one business day since we have several clusters there. 

When deploying the solution to remote locations, we have several models to choose from.

What about the implementation team?

When we tried Threat Emulation, we have received professional services from Check Point. However, for the normal setup, we don't involve any professional services.

What was our ROI?

It is like insurance for us.

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

The pricing and licensing are pretty steep. They know that they are good, so they are pricey.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We are also using Forcepoint, which is a little bit different on the OS and focused more on IPS/IDS. It is a good practice to combine two different firewall vendors in case one of them gets hacked.

We also evaluated Palo Alto, like five years ago, but that doesn't make much sense for us. 

What other advice do I have?

Since we are trying to get our customers to do more self-service, we should see more inbound traffic. So, the usage will increase in the next two years.

We get more attacks from the outside these days, so it has become more important to use systems like Check Point. When I started with security 25 years ago, it was still something not everybody was aware they needed. Today, it's common sense that everybody needs to protect their perimeter.

Plan first, implement last. You should first be aware of what assets you want to protect and what are your traffic patterns. You should plan your policy and network topology ahead of time, then start to implement a firewall. If you just place it there without any plan of what it's supposed to do, it doesn't make too much sense. I think planning is 80 percent of the implementation.

I would rate this solution as an eight out of 10. It would be better if the support was quicker in the cases we had. Apart from that, we are happy with the functionality.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: IT Central Station 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.
Basil Dange
Senior Manager at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Good support, flexible, scales well, and provides centralized policy management

Pros and Cons

  • "It provides access to the Internet for corporate resources in a secure manner."
  • "The firewall throughput or performance reduces drastically after enabling each module/blade."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use is to protect the organization from any kind of attack. It is able to isolate, secure, and control every device on the network at all times. Solutions should have the ability to block infected devices from accessing corporate data and assets.

It provides access to the Internet for corporate resources in a secure manner. Our resources are used to host applications and services that are accessible to end-users over the Internet.

It is used to provide required/limited access for third parties who want to connect to our corporate network. Access is granted based on application type and should be independent of port or protocol.

It provides next-generation protection including IPS/Web Filtering/SSL decryption and more. 

It offers centralized policy management capabilities for all firewalls.

How has it helped my organization?

This solution was able to provide access to our internet-based resources using our application/FQDN.

The license offers different modules for NGTP and SNBT. It provides multiple functionality or blades, which can be enabled on the firewall depending upon organizational requirements.

Other than stateful packet filtering with the NGTP license, it provides blades such as IPS/URL/VPN/Application Control/content awareness/Anti-Bot/Anti-Virus/Anti-Spam. With SNBT, it provides additional security using the SandBlast Threat Emulation and SandBlast Threat Extraction for Zero-day attacks in real-time.

Any file, before it reaches an endpoint, is executed in a virtual environment for analysis. Based on the verdict and configured policy, a decision will be made as to whether it should be delivered to the endpoint or not.

What is most valuable?

It provides the flexibility to use any module with the NGTP and SNBT license. Depending upon the requirements, the blades/module can be enabled on the firewall security gateway and it can be deployed easily.

In case SSL decryption or IPS need to be enabled on any security gateway, it is simple to do. We can go ahead and enable the module/blade and then create a policy, deploy it, and it will start to work.

It has a default five-user license for Mobile/SSL VPN, so the organization can check the solution any time or can even provide access to critical users on an as-needed basis, without getting the OEM involved, all on the same box.

For smaller organizations with the correct sizing of the appliance, they can use the full security solution on a single box. It will provide financial benefits along with reducing the cost of purchasing additional solutions or appliances. 

For example:

  • URL Filtering Module: It can replace the proxy solution for on-premises users with integration of application control and the Identity module. Active Directory access can be provided based on the User ID and the website or application.
  • SSL VPN or SSL decryptor, and more. 
  • Core assignment for each interface, which can be done using the CLI. If the administrator determines that a particular interface requires more compute, he can manually assign additional cores accordingly. This is done by enabling hyperthreading on the firewall. 
  • The policy can be copied from any security gateway and pasted onto another one.

What needs improvement?

This is a zone-based firewall, which differs from other firewall solutions available on the market. It changes the way the admin manages firewall policy. The administrator has to be careful while defining policy because it can lead to configuration errors, allowing unwanted access.

For example, if a user needs to access the internet on the HTTPS port, then the administrator has to create a policy as below, rather than using NAT for assigning the user's machine to a public IP.

Source: User machine
Destination: any
Port: HTTPS
Action: allow (for allowing the user's machine access)

This has to be done along with the below policy:

Source: User machine
Destination: Other Zone created on Firewall
Port: HTTPS
Action: block 

The two policies, together, mean that the user's machine will not be able to communicate with any other L3 Network created on the firewall.

The firewall throughput or performance reduces drastically after enabling each module/blade.

It does not provide for standalone configuration on the security gateway. Instead, you need to have a management server/smart console for managing it. This can be deployed on a dedicated server or can be deployed on the security gateway itself.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using the Check Point NGFW for more than eight years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This solution is very much stable and does not require frequent changes in architecture. The patch frequency is limited and it does not require frequent maintenance windows in terms of downtime.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This firewall is very much scalable. The introduction of Maestro has changed the concept of hyperscaling.  

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is excellent. The center is located in major cities in India along with the Check Point presales team.

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

We did not use another solution prior to this one. We have been using Check Point for a long time.

How was the initial setup?

During the initial setup, support is excellent. It is a well-known OEM and they have people ready to resolve any issue that should arise.

What about the implementation team?

Our in-house team deployed it with support from the OEM.

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

Cost-wise, it cheaper than industry leaders such as Palo Alto. The licensing is straightforward; there are only three types of licenses that include NGFW, NGTP, and SNBT, so the organization can choose its license according to their requirements.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We have evaluated solutions by Juniper, Cisco, and Palo Alto.

What other advice do I have?

Before implementing the security gateway, you need to be sure about the license and modules that you are going to enable. This includes determining the proper size, as it can affect throughput drastically after enabling each module. This is especially true for SSL decryption.

The architecture needs to be studied before finalizing, as the configuration is done remotely using the centralized smart console. All of the security gateways need to be connected to the management server for any policy configuration, and they should be available at all times.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Hybrid Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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