Today, more and more businesses conduct their transactions online. As a result, cybersecurity has become a necessity not just for giant corporations but equally for small businesses which are also handling sensitive information such as credit card numbers and financial records. It is vital to secure such information, mainly because small businesses too have become a target for cyber criminals. Getting the best firewall for small businesses is the first step.
Indeed research by the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) reveals that the total data breaches by September 30, 2021, had surpassed the entire events in 2020 by 17 percent. These are alarming statistics.
Therefore as a small business, you need to think about installing the best firewall for small businesses to safeguard your business from cyber criminals. Different firewalls have varying functions, and choosing the best small business firewall may be a daunting task, especially if you are new to firewalls.
But don't worry: we'll outline the best small business firewalls on the market in 2023 and tell you why each one is a great option for your business. So whether you're just starting out or you're looking to update your security system, read on for the best firewalls for small businesses.
What is a Firewall?
Briefly, a firewall is a hardware device or software program that filters traffic between your computer and the Internet. Firewalls are an important part of any business' security plan as it protects your small business from many types of network vulnerabilities as well as cloud risks. In order to be effective, firewall routers must be properly configured and kept up-to-date.
The Top 9 Hardware Firewalls for Small Business
Fortunately, there are many firewall solutions on the market that are designed specifically for small businesses. So now here are the top 10 best firewalls for small businesses.
1. SonicWall NSa 5650
The SonicWall NSa 5650 uses a high-performance security platform to dispense advanced threat security protection. It employs intuitive, deep learning technologies to dispatch automated real-time threat identification and deterrence.
It is one of the very best small business firewall routers especially for data centers and distributed enterprises. It combines two robust security ideologies to provide advanced threat protection and keep networks safe.
Key features of SonicWall NSa 5650
- Real-Time Deep Memory Inspection (RTDMI): This allows the firewall to block more attacks by proactively detecting and deterring unknown malware.
- Secure remote workers: SonicWall NetExtender offers an intuitive SSL-VPN connection that is easy to configure and deploy.
- Secure SD-WAN technology: This makes it an ideal small office firewall router because it is more agile, safe, and cost-effective, optimized for the modern cloud-infused and broadband-driven landscape.
- High port density and performance: You can deploy the next-generation firewalls that deliver multi-gigabit threat prevention, making it one of the best firewall router for small businesses.
Pros and cons of SonicWall NSa 5650
2. The SonicWall Network Services Security Platform
The SonicWall Network Services Security Platform is a top choice for small business firewall protection. Here's why:
First, the SonicWall platform is modular, meaning that you can choose the features that are best suited for your business. You can add or remove services as your needs change, so you're never locked into anything you don't want or need.
Second, SonicWall security solutions are always up-to-date with the latest threats. The platform is continuously updated with new features and protections, so you can feel confident that your data is always safe.
Finally, SonicWall provides world-class support to its users. If you ever have a question or need help with your firewall, the SonicWall team will always be on the ready to help.
Key features of SonicWall Network Services Security Platform
- A small business firewall that filters traffic based on SonicOS advanced security policies.
- Intrusion Prevention Service (IPS) to block Premature Connection Closure (PCC) attacks and other attempts to exploit vulnerabilities in the application layer.
- Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI) to inspect incoming and outgoing packets and ensure that only legitimate traffic is allowed.
- Gateway Anti-Spam Service (GASS) to protect against spam, phishing, and other email attacks
- Gateway Anti-Virus Service (GAVS) to block viruses, worms, spyware, and Trojan horses at the gateway level.
- SonicWALL SSL VPN NetExtender technology for secure remote access to corporate resources from any device or location
Pros and cons of SonicWall Network Services Security Platform
3. Ubiquiti UniFi Security Gateway
The Ubiquiti UniFi Security (USG) is a business router with a firewall that combines high-performance routing technology with advanced security features in a cost-effective, compact unit. It features a fanless operation and compact form factors for discrete integration.
The USG can route up to one million packets per second, and you can quickly configure it using the intuitive UniFi Controller software.
Key features of the Ubiquiti UniFi Security Gateway
- Integration with UniFi Controller: The UniFi Controller Software does device discovery, configuration, and management via a single, centralized interface.
- Powerful firewall performance: This business firewall router offers advanced firewall policies that protect your data and network.
- Convenient VLAN support: It can create virtual network segments that enhance network traffic management and security.
- VPN server for secure communications: A secure site-to-site VPN encrypts data communications traveling via the internet.
Pros and cons of Ubiquiti UniFi Security Gateway
4 .The Cisco Meraki MX68
The Cisco Meraki MX68 is also a top contender. With its cloud-based management, easy deployment, and comprehensive security features. It's a super good option for small businesses.
Key features of Cisco Meraki MX68
- Web filtering to protect your employees from malicious websites.
- Content filtering to restrict access to certain types of content.
- Antivirus and anti-malware protection.
- Intrusion prevention system that detects and blocks malicious traffic.
Pros and cons of Cisco Meraki MX68
5. The WatchGuard Firebox T40 T
WatchGuard's Firebox T40 T is a great firewall for small businesses. It's easy to set up and use, and it provides comprehensive security protection. You can use the T40 T to protect a single computer or a small network, and it comes with a variety of features that help to keep your data safe.
Key features of the WatchGuard's Firebox T40 T
- Dynamic packet filtering.
- Web content filtering.
- Intrusion prevention.
- Anti-virus and anti-spyware protection.
Pros and cons of WatchGuard Firebox T40 T
6. Protectli Vault
Protectli Vault is an equally great option for small businesses. It's an affordable, all-in-one solution that's easy to set up and use. Plus, it provides robust protection against cyberattacks and other online threats.
This is a powerful firewall that provides advanced security for your small business network. With its multiple layers of protection, the Vault can defend against a wide range of attacks, including viruses, malware, and phishing attempts. The Vault also includes a built-in VPN server, so you can securely access your network from anywhere in the world. And because the Vault runs on the open-source pfSense software, it is easy to customize and extend its capabilities.
Key features of Protectli Vault
- Can support up to 10 Gbps of traffic, making it ideal for high-traffic networks.
- Advanced web filter that can block malicious or unwanted content.
- Robust Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) that can detect and block attempted attacks.
- Offers a wide range of connectivity options, including Gigabit Ethernet and USB 3.0, and it can be easily mounted in a 19-inch rack.
Pros and cons of Protectli Vault
7. Fortinet FortiGate
FortiGate is a market-leading firewall that's been designed specifically for small businesses. It's easy to set up and use, and offers a wide range of features that will help keep your business safe from online threats.
Key features of Fortinet FortiGate
- FortiGuard protection: This offers real-time updates to keep the firewall up-to-date with the latest security threats.
- Virtual private network (VPN): FortiGate supports multiple VPN protocols, making it easy to connect securely to remote networks
- Intrusion prevention system (IPS): FortiGate's IPS engine provides comprehensive protection against malware and other threats.
- Web filtering: FortiGate can block access to malicious or unwanted websites, keeping users safe from online threats.
- Application control: FortiGate can restrict or block access to certain applications, ensuring that only authorized users can access them.
Pros and cons of Fortinet FortiGate
8. SOHO 250 and TZ350 Series
SonicWall’s SOHO 250 and TZ350 series firewalls offer integrated security solutions for small and medium-sized businesses as well as home offices. These firewalls have higher speeds, safeguard more connected devices, and provide simple deployment and management with first-class security for your network. The SOHO firewall supports advanced threat protection capabilities in a compact package.
Key features of SOHO firewall
- RFDI engine: A high-performance, patented, and proprietary inspection engine performs bi-directional and stream-based traffic analysis without buffering or proxying to uncover malware and intrusion attempts. It also identifies traffic regardless of port.
- On-premise and cloud-based management: Configuration is available through the cloud or on-premise management systems.
- Secure SD-WAN: This feature enables you to build, manage, and secure networks across remote sites for data sharing.
- Virtual private networking: Ensures a less complex distributed firewall deployment by automating a VPN firewall router for small businesses.
Pros and cons of SOHO 250 and TZ350 Series
9. Sophos XG Firewall Series
The Sophos XG Firewall Series brings an innovative approach to the way businesses manage their firewalls, monitor what's happening, and respond to threats.
Key features of Sophos XG Firewall Series
- The Xstream architecture: The firewall is engineered to deliver high visibility, protection, and performance, making it an ideal small business firewall router. It helps to address the greatest challenges that network administrators face.
- Sophos central: This is the heart of all that your business does. This cloud management platform offers a single dashboard that allows you to manage your firewall and the complete portfolio of security solutions.
- Synchronized Security: This feature makes Sophos the best small business firewall router because it can fully identify the source of infections and automatically limit access.
- Protection modules: Sophos XG Firewall Series offers various protection modules that allow users to customize the firewall to meet custom needs.
Pros and cons of Sophos XG Firewall Series
Qualities to Look for in a Firewall for Small Business
If you're like most small businesses, finding ways to save money is always a priority. And so when shopping for a firewall for your small business, you want a solution that you can consider a long term investment and good value for your money. So what qualities should you look for when scouting for one? Here are six key qualities to keep in mind.
You want to make sure that your firewall is reliable so that your security is never compromised. Look for a firewall router that has been tested and certified by independent organizations like the ICSA Labs. This means that the firewall has been put through rigorous testing and meets the highest security standards.
A scalable firewall router is one that can grow with your business, expanding to accommodate increasing traffic and security needs.
Make sure to ask whether or not the firewall router is scalable. If not, you may need to upgrade in the future, resulting in added expense.
You don't want to spend hours trying to figure out how to set up and configure the firewall. If it’s your first time to use a firewall, then it’s in your interest that you look for one that is designed friendly for beginners, with an easy-to-use interface. It should be intuitive and straightforward, with clear instructions and helpful prompts.
Customizable security features are critical in a firewall, especially for small businesses. You want to be able to tweak the settings to match your specific needs, protect your devices and data. Make sure to ask the salesperson about the various options so you can find the right one for you.
You want to be sure that you can get help if and when you need it, especially if you're not very tech-savvy. Ask about the availability of customer service, technical support, and online resources like tutorials and FAQs.
Affordability is definitely a key factor to look at. You don't want to break the bank, but you also want a router that will provide the protection you need. Look for firewall solutions that offer good value for your money—they should have a range of the qualities we have discussed above, and above all be priced reasonably.
Another thing to keep in mind is the warranty. It's always good to have peace of mind, so be sure to choose a router with a good warranty. This will protect you in case of any malfunctions or problems down the road.
The Most Important Features a Small Business Firewall Should Have
When it comes to small business protection, an optimal firewall is non-negotiable. Here are five of the most important features your small-business firewall should have:
- Intrusion detection and prevention: A good firewall will be able to detect and block suspicious activity, keeping your network safe from attack.
- Malware protection: Malware is a serious threat to small businesses, and a good firewall will help to protect your network from malware infections.
- Application control: A firewall with application control will allow you to block unwanted applications from accessing your network, ensuring that only authorized users can access your data.
- Web filtering: A web filter can help to protect your employees from harmful or inappropriate websites, as well as blocking potential security threats.
- Remote management: A firewall with remote management capabilities will allow you to manage and monitor your network remotely, making it easier to keep your business safe.
Top 6 Software Firewalls for Small Businesses
Although our emphasis has primarily been on hardware firewalls, we would like to provide the below brief list of some of the top software-based firewalls that cater well to the needs of small businesses:
- pfSense — An open-source FreeBSD-based software firewall that can be run on a standard computer. It was released in 2004 and is maintained by Netgate.
- Untangle NG firewall — A software-based firewall developed by Untangle and first released in 2005. It works on a standard computer and offers security features such as threat detection and malware deletion.
- OPNSense — An open-source FreeBSD-based software firewall and routing platform. Its application comes with the most high-end features that you can find packed in expensive firewalls such as forward caching proxy.
- GlassWire — Developed by GlassWire LLC, GlassWire provides robust protection to computers and monitors the network against potential vulnerabilities. Since its initial release in 2014, GlassWire has been a reliable security solution for users seeking effective network monitoring and threat detection capabilities.
- Avast One — An exceptional freemium (has both free and premium features) software-based firewall that functions as a vigilant online sentinel, shielding its users from various cyber threats. Its top-of-the-line antivirus is designed to provide comprehensive protection, while its VPN service ensures optimum privacy.
- Checkpoint Next Generation Firewall — Developed by Checkpoint, the Checkpoint Next Generation Firewall is meticulously engineered to cater to the diverse needs of application deployment. It provides security against 5th-generation cyber-attacks. Notably, it offers a cutting-edge defense mechanism, capable of withstanding 5th-generation cyber-attacks.
Firewalls for Small Businesses: Concluding remarks
Cyber security is one of the most important IT needs of businesses these days, and small businesses are no exception. We hope this guide into some of the very best firewall routers will aid you to make the best decision for your small business. Remember that investing in a firewall for your business is vital because companies, especially small businesses, have become a target for cyber criminals. Due to the limited nascent infrastructure and budgets of small businesses, we have offered cost-effective and comprehensive solutions.
Small Business Firewalls FAQ
What is a Small Business Firewall?
A small business firewall, either as a hardware unit or software application, acts as a gatekeeper, filtering traffic between your network and the internet.
What are qualities to look for in a Firewall for Small Business?
When selecting a firewall for a small business, look for reliability, scalability, user-friendliness, customizability, strong technical support, and affordability.
What are the most important features a small-business firewall should have?
Essential features of a small-business firewall include intrusion detection and prevention, malware protection, application control, web filtering, and remote management capabilities. These features ensure comprehensive protection against various cyber threats, control over application usage, filtering of harmful web content, and the ability to manage the firewall remotely, which is crucial for maintaining network security efficiently.
Why is a firewall essential for small business?
A firewall is essential for small businesses as it provides a critical defense layer against cyber threats such as hackers, viruses, and malware. Small businesses are often targets for cyber attacks due to perceived weaker security measures. A firewall helps protect sensitive data, ensures business continuity, and maintains the trust of customers by safeguarding their information, making it an indispensable tool in the digital landscape.
What are the top small business firewalls?
The top small business firewalls, as detailed in our comprehensive guide, include SonicWall NSa 5650, SonicWall Network Services Security Platform, Ubiquiti UniFi Security Gateway, Cisco Meraki MX68, WatchGuard Firebox T40 T, Protectli Vault, Fortinet FortiGate, SonicWall’s SOHO 250 and TZ350 Series, and Sophos XG Firewall Series. These firewalls have been selected for their robust security features, ease of use, and suitability for small business environments, offering a blend of advanced protection and user-friendly interfaces to safeguard your business's digital assets effectively.