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Ifeanyi Onyiaodike
Network security engineer at Fidelity Bank
Real User
Top 5
Cisco dominated the African market until Check Point came along
Pros and Cons
  • "Check Point has a really cool GUI."
  • "The end-user VPN could be improved. It could benefit from some modification."

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution for permissions regarding access ports and services. We also use Check Point Remote Access VPN as an endpoint VPN. We use it for site-to-site configuration. 

All of the traffic that comes through our sites passes through our firewall. Basically, everyone, including our staff and clients, passes through our firewall. In other words, we have thousands of users using this solution.

How has it helped my organization?

The NGFW has helped our compliance to regulations authorities such as PCIDSS. It has has helped the bank create secure connections to vendors and third party service providers as well as remain stay protected from attacks and intrusion attempts.

What is most valuable?

The management of services, including forming access lists with the services we have, connecting servers to servers, permissions between servers and users — this is all great. In addition, Check Point has a really cool GUI.

What needs improvement?

The end-user VPN could be improved. It could benefit from some modification. 

The VPN timeout feature needs to be improved. When we try to connect to the VPN, it times out before we can even enter our user name and password. If you can't prove you are who you say you are within seven to ten seconds, it just kicks you out.

For how long have I used the solution?

1 year +

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Check Point has actually failed twice within the last year. The first failure was a disk failure. Check Point offers a software solution, they don't actually offer hardware. They will only provide you with the software and licenses. Because of this, when our disk failed, we had to wait for them to ship in some new hardware for us to fix the issue.

Aside from the disk failure issue, a month ago, our Check Point device froze. We don't exactly know what caused it to happen. It caused the entire organization to go down for about two to three hours until we found out that Check Point was not allowing anything to pass through. Our Check Point is clustered, so primarily it's supposed to have a failover feature. For some reason, the failover feature didn't work. When the primary gateway went down, it affected everyone.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We've not tried to expand Check Point. We have two sites. We have a primary site and a secondary site that is off-prem. For this reason, we planned big. We planned for a high amount of availability for our two sites. We use clusters of four gateways: two gateways are in one cluster, and another two gateways are in another cluster. If one goes down, it switches to the other. If the second goes down, it switches to the other DR site. We've got backups of everything. 

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is very responsive. We have a vendor that acts as a buffer between us and Check Point. In our country, these companies all have a local vendor that pushes their product.

When we contacted our vendor, our vendor called Check Point and as they were talking, Check Point shipped the hard disk, to fix the issue I mentioned earlier. They just placed the order immediately, while we were still talking. We think that they knew that delivery was going to take about five days — it was actually very fast.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup and deployment were straightforward. We deployed it with RADIUS servers;  it was not complex at all.

What about the implementation team?

From scratch to finish, deployment took about a month. It took this long because we had to convert all of our existing configurations from Cisco Firewall to Check Point. We had to get help from our vendor to do this. He had to manually convert each and every command from our existing Cisco device to Check Point — that took a while. This was the main reason that deployment took so much time.

The end-user VPN didn't take much time to deploy. Neither did the site-connecting with the VPN — that took a day or two to deploy.

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

I think our licensing is on a yearly basis, but it could be every three years. Either way, it's not more than three years — that I am certain of.  

The pricing was actually what made us go for Check Point. Palo Alto was much more expensive. Check Point offers the same applications and features as Palo Alto for roughly a third of the price.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Palo Alto, Cisco (which we were using), and we also evaluated Check Point — which we ended up with.

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend Check Point to others. We are still learning as we're just about a year into using it, but so far, the support and the solution in general has been good. I'd recommend Check Point, especially to users that are looking for an affordable solution. 

Check Point also has a great community. They have this community where users can go to share ideas. They also have great networks. 

Overall, on a scale from one to ten, I would give this solution a rating of eight. Cisco dominated the African market until Check Point came along. 

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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IT Manager at a comms service provider with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 20
Great mobile access with good security and excellent stability
Pros and Cons
  • "The AntiSpam/Mail blade was also one of the main reasons we went with this product since we hosted our email server locally. This was an extra layer of protection on top of the existing solution."
  • "It would be ideal to manage everything from one central place."

What is our primary use case?

It's our main firewall and the first line of protection from the outside! We use it to interconnect our remote locations (that use different vendors and equipment) and let the employees work remotely.

We're a small site with 300 users and this equipment is more than enough for us. We use almost all the blades and the equipment has run smoothly for years.

This NGFW monitors all the traffic outside of the main network, prevents malicious activities, and lets us easily manage network policies to shape our connections.

How has it helped my organization?

Stability and security are the best way to describe this solution. The attacks from the outside still exist, but now we're better protected. We can view everything that goes in and out of our network with all the information in one place. The drill-down is very helpful and easy to use. Currently, we can troubleshoot connection problems live and solve them in a couple of minutes. This is an improvement on the 1-2 hours with the old solution.

In 4 years we've only had one problem with the equipment (due to a malfunctioning UPS). That corrupted the boot of the equipment, but was easily solved with an fsck.

What is most valuable?

We basically use almost all the blades, since the IPS, Threat Emulation, Spam, etc., are essential for our work. However, currently, Mobile Access is the most valuable. The stability of the solution and the security it gives when working remotely is great. It lets our employees work from everywhere, anytime!

The AntiSpam/Mail blade was also one of the main reasons we went with this product since we hosted our email server locally. This was an extra layer of protection on top of the existing solution.

Threat and Application control are also very important to us.

What needs improvement?

I do prefer to manage everything from only one point of entry/one application. Some things can only be configured from the smart console and others from the smart dashboard. This is the only handicap in this solution. It would be ideal to manage everything from one central place.

Instead of using a windows application to manage the equipment, it would be better to use a web app to configure the solution from a browser.  I know that it's not as powerful (you can't do everything from there), but then we could manage the solution and troubleshoot from any device.

It's faster to see the event logs on a webpage than it is to see them in the smart console.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used the solution for 4 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's very stable. It's also the main reason I love the solution.

During this time i never had to manually restart the equipment because of connectivity problems or because of CPU/memory degradation performance. Sometimes these values get high, but i never lose Throughtput, the equipment continues to run smoothly. We used to restart our older firewall at least 2 times per month.

In the beginning, because we use the spam blade, the memory usage was always high, and the administration was a little bit slow. But Checkpoint provided us an extra memory upgrade and after that we never had administration problems. If we don't have internet connection it's allways the ISP, it was never because of the firewall.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Although I only have one unit, I know that it scales perfectly.

How are customer service and technical support?

We only had one problem with this equipment. That was because it couldn't boot properly due to disk corruption (malfunction UPS), however, searching the technical Check Point forums it was easy to find a solution to the problem at hand.

We managed to solve the problem without contacting customer service at all.

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

We used to have Zyxel products, but they were aging and couldn't let us connect at faster speeds.

How was the initial setup?

The setup was easy. It didn't take long to have it up and running.

The only concern for us was the remote sites - since it was different vendors. However, we had everything documented and prepared and due to that, it went flawlessly.

It was also easy to create access policies.

What about the implementation team?

The implementation was through a vendor, and the installation went really well. The consultant was Check Point certified and explained everything in detail.

Later on, we added new remote sites to the configuration (in-house) without any problem. We didn't need to check with the vendor.

What was our ROI?

It's not easy to calculate, however, given the stability and security of the solution, it's elevated. There are no bulletproof solutions. That said, now we can rest a bit more because our assets are more protected than they were a couple of years ago.

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

The setup cost, pricing, and licensing can be a bit expensive, but, I promise, it's completely worth the cost.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I evaluated Fortinet and Check Point.

What other advice do I have?

It simply works like a charm. The stability and trust in the vendor are also very important to us.

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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Learn what your peers think about Check Point NGFW. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: January 2022.
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Sr. Network Engineer at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 10
Provides us with more security features than our previous solution and everything is managed from a central device
Pros and Cons
  • "There are also additional features, compared to a Layer 4 or Layer 3 firewall, such as AV signatures and devices, which are very helpful for securing the company's network."
  • "The only thing which I think should be improved is that training should be increased. In my position I also interview potential employees and I haven't found many people in the market, nowadays, who are familiar with the Check Point firewall. They are more familiar with Palo Alto and Cisco ASA and they are more comfortable with them."

What is our primary use case?

We use Check Point firewalls to secure our internal network from the outside world and to provide a good, comfortable, and secure environment for our employees.

We have various models from the R80 series, such as the R80.10 and the R80.30.

How has it helped my organization?

Before, we were using firewalls from Palo Alto. The benefit of the Check Point firewall is that it has more security features. It has antivirus signatures and additional features for which we should require additional hardware devices in the firewall. It also gives us a central management system, which was not present in the Cisco ASA.

What is most valuable?

Check Point's Next Generation Firewall has many good features. It has a central management system, and that means we do not have to go to each and every firewall to configure it. We can manage them with the central device. 

There are also additional features, compared to a Layer 4 or Layer 3 firewall, such as AV signatures and devices, which are very helpful for securing the company's network.

What needs improvement?

The only thing which I think should be improved is that training should be increased. In my position I also interview potential employees and I haven't found many people in the market, nowadays, who are familiar with the Check Point firewall. They are more familiar with Palo Alto and Cisco ASA and they are more comfortable with them. Check Point is one of the good firewalls and training should be increased by the company so that more people are familiar with it and with their switches.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Check Point's firewalls for the last three-and-a-half years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is very good. The updates we get for the antivirus and the URL filtering sites are also very nice and happen very often. That is a good thing because there are various new attacks coming out but we get their updates on time. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In terms of the scalability, it is very easy to extend the utilization of Check Point firewalls. We did so in the past. We extended our environment in our organization and it was very easy to extend it.

We have around 4,000 to 5,000 people who are using the Check Point firewalls directly or indirectly. They are passing their traffic through it. Expansion of our usage completely depends on the organization. If they want to do so they will tell us and, if that happens, we will definitely go for Check Point firewalls.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have used Check Point TAC to resolve our issues. We have had good support. They have good engineers there.

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

We were using Palo Alto and Cisco before and we replaced them with Check Points.

We used Palo Alto in a  few of our sites, but we found Palo Alto was more expensive and its updates and services were also more expensive compared to the Check Point firewall.

Cisco is a very basic firewall in the market, and it has a limited set of features, compared to Palo Alto and Check Point. Palo Alto has rich features, but it is one of the more expensive firewalls in the market. The Check Point firewall is not too expensive, but it is also a third-generation firewall.

The drawback of the Check Point firewall is the lack of training materials. That should be increased.

How was the initial setup?

We have a team of seven to eight people who have all installed and configured environments so the initial setup, for us, was a very straightforward process. And these are the people who handle maintenance of the firewall and manage it, during different shifts. They are all network engineers.

It took us between nine and 12 months to do the implementation. We have Check Point hardware so we followed the recommended, three-level architecture, in which there is a SmartConsole, the hardware security gateway firewall, and the central management device.

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

The pricing is good. It is less than Palo Alto's firewalls. Check Point has the same features as Palo Alto, but the licensing and cost of these firewalls are not too expensive. It is one of the best firewalls in the market in this range.

What other advice do I have?

Check Point firewalls have many features. Before configuring it in an environment, you should know each and every feature of the firewall. You should also follow the three-level hierarchy which is recommended by Check Point.

There are a few add-on features for Check Point firewalls. I only learned that by using the firewalls. I'm very happy with the way Check Point is progressing. They continue to work on their firewalls even after making their name. That is something we should follow in our lives as well: Once we have made our name, we should not stop there. We should further build the reputation of the company and product.

We are very happy with the Check Point firewalls. The only thing missing, as I mentioned earlier, is that training should be increased for the firewall by the organization. Otherwise, we are very happy with investment in this solution.

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.
Sr. Security Engineer at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 10
Everything can be managed from a single dashboard
Pros and Cons
  • "Everything can be managed from a single dashboard nowadays."
  • "The main thing for a normal operations guy who is creating tools and firewalls, it is quite difficult to manage. It requires an expert level of knowledge in Check Point products to manage these scalable platform appliances and the virtual firewall that comes with it. We have to educate our guys and give them training on a regular basis to work on these products."

What is our primary use case?

It is a typical firewall that has been implemented in most of our regions. We use it for normal firewall policies and VPNs.

We are mainly using Check Point firewalls. We also have a few Check Point cloud security programs.

How has it helped my organization?

Everything can be managed from a single dashboard nowadays.

Since we upgraded to R.80 from our previous R.77 version, the activity of my team has improved a lot. We don't have to open multiple consoles or go to multiple nodes. Even though we are managing multiple solutions of Check Point, they feel similar to us now.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the Check Point Management Server, especially version R.80 onward. We can manage everything. We have endpoint security, cloud security, and email security. Everything can be managed from a single management server, making this a very unique and easy solution to use in the market now.

From a technical perspective, it is an easy solution to use. Everything seems perfect. We are not using all of its features, like sandboxing. 

What needs improvement?

The main thing for a normal operations guy who is creating tools and firewalls, it is quite difficult to manage. It requires an expert level of knowledge in Check Point products to manage these scalable platform appliances and the virtual firewall that comes with it. We have to educate our guys and give them training on a regular basis to work on these products. Otherwise, it's fine.

For how long have I used the solution?

About five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is pretty stable. It hasn't caused many issues over the years, unlike normal network issues. They do release bug fixes at least once a month. We keep very good track of that and update the patches regularly, but we haven't run into bigger issues so far. So, I'd say it is quite stable. 

The firewall is very easy to use and hasn't caused much trouble for us over the years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

From a scalability perspective, they have a solutions like Check Point Maestro. Therefore, it is easy to upscale nowadays.

We have over 200,000 end users.

How are customer service and technical support?

They should improve the support a bit. Though they have expert engineers in tech, sometimes the amount of time to get back a solution for an issue is more than what is acceptable, even though it is a high priority.

During a scheduled activity or an implementation, they find their highest level of support. During an implementation, I never faced an issue with the support. I would rate them a nine out of ten for this.

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

The company has been using Check Point firewalls for the past 10 years. Before that, they used Cisco ASA.

How was the initial setup?

Mostly, I have worked on Check Point products. Therefore, the initial setup was straightforward. It was not that complicated. 

I can spin up a firewall and put it in production within an hour. If it's a migration from a different solution or upgrading an existing management solution, it might take some time because of the planning. There are a lot of things that have to be a part of the implementation or migration activities.

What about the implementation team?

We do it ourselves most of the time. We only take help when it comes to scalable platforms, like big chassis firewalls, which are little complicated. Then, we get outside help.

I manage the operations team and have also been involved as a consultant.

We have some best practices in place that we follow.

There are four security engineers who deploy and maintain this solution.

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

Comparatively, Check Point pricing is a little high. However, if you have that budget, I would recommend anybody to go with Check Point.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

For cloud security purposes, we looked at FortiGate. In the end, we decided to go with Check Point. Primarily, we went with Check Point because of the fee. We also already had expertise on Check Point and the team is comfortable around it. We like that Check Point has a single dashboard. Feedback from peers suggests that the support in India for NGFWs is not as good with other vendors as it is at Check Point.

What other advice do I have?

Get a team who has expertise on this product and educate your team. Give them training. If Check Point is using a new version, make sure your team is aware of that. If there are any changes, let them know and make them comfortable working around this product because we have had some issues due to lack of expertise.

If you don't have an expert in-house team for implementation, I would strongly recommend getting help of the Check Point professional services team. There are a few third-party operational services, but I would go with Check Point professional services.

We are planning to increase our usage of the solution. Every project that we take on has Check Point security products as part of the solution.

I would give this solution an eight out of 10 because of the support. They take too much time when they should give you a result.

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.
Network Security Administrator at a computer software company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 10
User-friendly with IPS already configured in the box, and the dashboard is good and easy to use
Pros and Cons
  • "Check Point has a lot of features. The ones I love are the antivirus, intrusion prevention, and data loss prevention. Apart from that, there is central management through which we can integrate all the firewalls and support them. It makes it easy to manage all the firewalls."
  • "The antivirus is less effective than its competitors' antivirus. The antivirus is good, but in other firewalls, such as Palo Alto, it's quite effective. Check Point should provide more output. Sometimes it provides comprehensive information and sometimes it doesn't."

What is our primary use case?

We use it to provide security in our organization. Check Point Next Generation Firewalls are designed to support large networks, like a telco environment.

What is most valuable?

Check Point has a lot of features. The ones I love are the 

  • antivirus
  • intrusion prevention 
  • data loss prevention. 

Apart from that, there is central management through which we can integrate all the firewalls and support them. It makes it easy to manage all the firewalls.

It's also user-friendly and not very complex. Anyone can use it and the dashboard is quite good.

What needs improvement?

Check Point has notably fewer tutorials on Google. If I'm facing any kind of issue and I Google it, less stuff is available. 

Apart from that, the antivirus is less effective than its competitors' antivirus. The antivirus is good, but in other firewalls, such as Palo Alto, it's quite effective. Check Point should provide more output. Sometimes it provides comprehensive information and sometimes it doesn't.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this firewall for more than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is good. We've never seen any kind of issue with the Check Point firewalls. In very rare cases we go to their TAC, but we normally try to resolve the situation from our side.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

They are quite scalable. They are designed to extend in large data centers and tech environments. They are designed to support the needs of large networks, and offer reliability and performance.

How are customer service and technical support?

Check Point's technical support is quite good. It's quite helpful. We have never faced any kind of issue with them. Whenever we have an issue with the firewalls, we just raise it with them and they are quite supportive and quite technical as well. They provide a resolution on time and effectively.

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

Previously, I worked on Cisco ASA firewalls and they have a lot of disadvantages. They have a lot fewer features compared to the Check Point firewalls. We just started using Check Point as a firewall in our organization and they give us new features which are better than the Cisco ASA. With Check Point, the IPS is already configured in the box, unlike the Cisco ASA, and there are a lot of features which help us to provide more security for our customers. In our case, the customers are all employees of our organization.

All of these are reasons we switched to Check Point.

How was the initial setup?

The setup is straightforward.

Deployment depends on the customer's architecture or network.

In terms of a deployment plan, we have different teams in our organization that support different business cases. After an implementation ticket is raised by the requester it goes to the planning stage, then it goes to the implementation stage and then it goes to the validation stage. The planning stage is done by the network security admins. The approval stage that is done by our managers and the validation stage is done by us, the network security admins. This is the process that we follow in our organization. Everything is documented.

What about the implementation team?

We do the deployment ourselves, but if we face any kind of issue, we just raise an issue with their TAC.

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

The pricing is good. It's not so expensive. You can deploy it and it will do a lot of jobs in one package. It's a good choice compared to the other firewalls.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at Palo Alto and the Cisco FTD Next-Generation Firewall.

What other advice do I have?

Check Point Next Generation firewalls are very good. They have a lot of features in one box and they're not that expensive. They support a lot of features, including antivirus, data loss prevention, and the central management is very good. We can configure all the firewalls through the central management. They have many things in a small package. I would recommend them.

The biggest lesson I have learned from the solution is that it has a lot of features that I was not aware of. The dashboard is quite simple and it's not complex to use.

We make changes on this Checkpoint Firewall as per customer demand. If they want to add a rule on the firewall we do that, and if they want to remove something we remove it for them. If they want to change the position of some rules or to allow or deny any kind of traffic, we do that for them.

In our organization we have a team of 20 - 25 network security admins. Sometimes the network team will also implement changes and they are about 25 people. Sometimes we get  the help of our managers to approve the changes or validate whether the change has been implemented correctly or not. If I sum it up, it's a team of about 100 people who directly use the solution, and they also take care of deployment and maintenance.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
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.
Senior System Administrator at Seminole Electric Cooperative, Inc.
User
Great application control and HTTPS inspection with flexible management capabilities
Pros and Cons
  • "In the four years I have worked on the five firewalls we have not had any downtime caused by stability issues."
  • "The improvement could come from better monitoring of traffic data in and out of the firewall."

What is our primary use case?

We use five NGFWs for four of our sites, with our primary site having an active/backup HA pair. All sites are running anti-virus/malware/bots as well as HTTPS Inspection, IPS/IDS, threat emulation, application filtering, and identity awareness. These are our first line of defense at the perimeter of our network and we have seen a decrease in the number of detections on our endpoints. We've also implemented these firewalls to handle our external VPN connections from remote clients. We've had a few small hiccups, however, there was nothing Check Point support wasn't able to resolve.

How has it helped my organization?

This solution has improved our organization by allowing us to use one management point where everyone can see the current state, future changes, and logging for our perimeter. We've been able to streamline our staff to use one primary and two backup users for support. Previously, we did not have a good way to allow Remote Users to VPN directly to our network. Once we implemented and worked with Check Point, they showed us what their solution was capable of and worked with us to allow 300 remote workers to connect to our network and share policies. 

What is most valuable?

We've found threat emulation, application control (with identity awareness), and HTTPS inspection to be the most valuable aspects. It allows managers the flexibility to grant access to high-risk sites based on groups/roles and yet still be protected with threat emulation and HTTPS inspection. We've seen the rate of detection on our endpoints plummet. 

I've found that, over the last 4 years, they have constantly improved the user interface (SmartConsole) as they have moved away from four Control panels for different functions and are constantly adding new features with no impact on our availability during upgrades.

What needs improvement?

The improvement could come from better monitoring of traffic data in and out of the firewall. I'd also like to see more built-in automation in regards to activity against the firewall to trigger an automatic response for a period of time.

There is currently no way to allow a user to have access for X period of time. I also find that keeping up with the IPS additions to be a three-stage process which includes having to go to email to see new updates, reviewing those updates on the firewall, and then making necessary changes. I would like to see these new IPS updates shown as a notification when I log in (as an alert) so I can review and modify from one pane.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for four years, however, they've been installed for six years at our company.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In the four years I have worked on the five firewalls we have not had any downtime caused by stability issues. We've had more issues with our ISP/people hitting the ISP equipment, for example there have been three accidents at the near by intersection that has damage the network cabinet or digging has cut the line.

We haven't had any issues where the Firewall has had a memory leak, rebooted, corrupted or had a NIC fail. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Our team didn't account for a vast increase in workload as new features were added to our firewall (HTTPS inspection, threat emulation, etc.) and therefore we bought the lowest tier for what we thought we would need. We've found that this is a little too strenuous on our gateway and are working on purchasing more powerful firewalls based on the recommendation of our local Check Point engineer.  

How are customer service and support?

I've always been able to get in contact with Check Point at the right level within their SLA. Everyone has been helpful with tickets requiring escalation.

How would you rate customer service and support?

Positive

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

I have not been here while a different solution has been used. We do use a separate brand of firewall internally to prevent an exploit against Check Point, allowing someone to penetrate the perimeter and the internal firewall containers.

How was the initial setup?

I was not involved with the initial setup. That said, I have brought up three new sites, and adding a new firewall to our infrastructure has gone off without a hitch.

What about the implementation team?

We handled the implementation in-house.

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

Check Point Firewalls are more expensive from what I have seen compared to the competition and the yearly licensing does periodically increase. We've seen an increase of 8% over one year (new features were wrapped into the license). 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I was not involved with the evaluation process; I was told that Cisco Firewalls and SonicWall were evaluated at that time.

What other advice do I have?

You're paying a premium price, for what is a premium product and support. I have opened several tickets with their support team and have had excellent service each time.  

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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IT Manager at a transportation company with 501-1,000 employees
User
Easy to set up, stable, and offers excellent technical support
Pros and Cons
  • "The packet inspections have been a strong point."
  • "I would like there to be a way to run packets that capture more easily in the GUI environment. Right now, if we want to read packet captures, we have to do so from the command line."

What is our primary use case?

It's our main firewall and the first line of protection from outside attacks. We use it to interconnect our remote locations (that use different vendors and equipment) and let the employees work remotely. We're a small site with 300 users and this equipment is more than enough for us. We use almost all the blades and the equipment has run smoothly for years. This NGFW monitors all the traffic outside of the main network, prevents malicious activities, and lets us easily manage network policies to shape our connections.

How has it helped my organization?

We have a lot of flexibility now, and a leg up identifying zero-day threats. We have multiple ways of doing policies now that we didn't have before. The options are more robust than previous products and I would say that we're pleased with the product. The reports I'm getting are that we're satisfied, even impressed, with the options Check Point offers.

There is a scope of improvement in detecting zero-day threats using the SandBlast technology, by introducing emulation of Linux-based operating systems. We have also observed issues while using the products with SSL decryption. There is room for improvement in application-based filtering, as with other firewalls available in the market today. Check Point has improved its application filtering capabilities in the recent past and their latest version, R80, is more capable but still, creating an application-based filter policy is a little cumbersome.

What is most valuable?

It's a NGFW with all of the capabilities required to protect for next-generation attacks at the perimeter level. The module or Security features that are provided as part of the base license with Check Point include (VPN, IPS, Application Control, and Content Awareness) which itself is strong enough to protect the organization.

The packet inspections have been a strong point. Our identity collectors have also been helpful. In many ways, Check Point has been a step up from the SonicWall that we had in-house before that. There's a lot of additional flexibility that we didn't have before.

What needs improvement?

I would like there to be a way to run packets that capture more easily in the GUI environment. Right now, if we want to read packet captures, we have to do so from the command line.

The biggest improvement they could make is having one software to install on all three levels of their products, so that the SMBs, the normal models, and the chassis would all run the same software. Now, while there is central management, everything that has to be configured on the gateway itself works differently on the three kinds of devices.

For how long have I used the solution?

I started using the solution 3 months ago.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The web interface was easy for me. The configuration is logical, so it's easy to use and easy to understand how to protect, how to open a port, how to manage, and how to route a device. That's why I prefer Check Point. It's robust and I never have issues with the hardware.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is quite good. You can scale well across locations for not too much cost. If a company needs to expand, it can do so relatively easily.

Also, cost-wise, it's very affordable to scale up. It's not expensive to add hardware and licenses as needed. They make upgrading very cheap.

We have 200 people on the solution. That said, they are using it with an IPsec tunnel. They don't use all of the capabilities of the hardware. They are using it just to encrypt tunneling between the sites.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support has been excellent

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

Yes, we were previously using SonicWall but security is less robust in comparison to Check Point.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is very easy.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented it through a vendor called S G Informatics India Pvt Ltd.

The level of expertise I would rate at 10 out of 10.

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

I would recommend going into Check Point solutions. Although Check Point has the option of implementing your firewall on a server, I would advise implementing it on a perimeter device because servers have latency. It's best to deploy it on a dedicated device. Carry out a survey to find out if the device can handle the kind of workload you need to put through it. Also, make it a redundant solution, apart from the Management Server, which can be just one device. Although I should note that, up until now, we have not had anything like that ourselves.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We have looked into Sophos.

What other advice do I have?

The most valuable features are the security blades and the ease of managing the policies, searching logs for events, and correlating 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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Provides an easy overview of actual connections, attacks, or security risks
Pros and Cons
  • "We do not have any problems with stability."
  • "Although there is a lot of automation and pattern that can be classified automatically, the IPS systems are sometimes a little bit complicated, and doing the fine-tuning in over 20,000 patterns is hard to do."

What is our primary use case?

We are using the Check Point firewall for our perimeter security.

The security solution works as well on-premise and in the Azure Cloud. We are using central management to configure the security policy of both gateways.

We are also using a Site2Site VPN for connecting our locations. This VPN is also realized with the same firewall systems.

In order to simplify the process of generation reviews of actual security incidents, we have implemented SmartReport for generating automated and special customized security reports for our documentation department.

How has it helped my organization?

Since the security policy of all firewall gateways can be defined centrally on the Check Point firewall management server, it is a lot easier to generate a secure and safe policy for all locations.

Since we can define policy operators for dedicated traffic selections, some of the lower IT staff can easily allow or block services or servers or create their own policy without interfering or compromising the rest of the security policy.

This makes the administration and coordination of the policy a lot easier for us

What is most valuable?

Since the log files of all services are collected on the management server there is an easy and good view of all actual connections, attacks, or security risks.

In addition, when using the SmartEvent software blade, you get the possibility to have an easy to configure event correlation system, which will automatically fire mail alerts or can even block IP addresses if there are network or security anomalies detected on the firewall system.

This is also possible if the services are allowed - for example, if there are flooding attacks on server systems.

For example, this has prevented our Citrix Netscaler from being taken down during attacks.

What needs improvement?

Although there is a lot of automation and pattern that can be classified automatically, the IPS systems are sometimes a little bit complicated, and doing the fine-tuning in over 20,000 patterns is hard to do. This has been improved in the last versions, however, it can still be made a little bit better. 

For example, the automatic classification of which pattern should be activated is very simple yet lacks some special configuration options (for example if you want to have more than one classification pattern for the activation).

The HTTPS inspection is very tricky, too. Since there are a lot of applications that are using certificate pinning, most of the SSL traffic (especially to the big cloud provider) must pass without inspection.

Since attackers also use these clouds, there is a problem in getting your security definitions to work.

Of course, this is not a Check Point-specific problem and rather a problem in the HTTPS inspection itself.

There is the need to know which sites are accessed by our staff and to get the visited URLs, to get the internal security policy working. The SSL classification feature of Check Point is a good intention, yet not as good as needed.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used the solution for more than ten years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We do not have any problems with stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There is a hardware solution for every type of throughput. It is very good that in the datasheets you get the throughput of the different types of network traffic.

It is better not to choose solutions bigger than needed, or to have some resources left over.

How are customer service and support?

Most of the support calls are answered very quickly. However, if you have a problem and you have to get development involved, the response gets slower.

Most of the time, you will find all necessary information in the Support Center or on the collaboration sites.

How would you rate customer service and support?

Neutral

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

We were using Cisco firewalls before. We had the need to implement Universal Threat Protection and the configuration of the Firepower system of Cisco was more complicated than the integrated policy configuration of Check Point.

How was the initial setup?

The setup is straightforward. The documentation is very good.

What about the implementation team?

We have implemented it completely in-house.

What was our ROI?

ROI is really hard to pinpoint. However, if we were using another security solution, our personal efforts to maintain it would double.

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

It is very hard to compare different firewall solutions and get a comparable price. Check Point tends to be very expansive, however, if you have a deeper look at other vendors, the costs are almost the same.

Due to the good integration and central management, Check Point is easier to maintain than other solutions.

In addition, there are good small office boxes from CheckPoint with a very good price - the features of these boxes are enough for small enterprises or branch offices.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We have evaluated Cisco Firepower and the FortiGate firewall solutions in the past.

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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