Category: Product Spotlights

What Is Barracuda Email Security

Barracuda email security is more than just one product – it’s a philosophy. If you’ve spent any time following cyber threats, you know that email is a favorite point of entry for hackers. And while training your workforce to spot email threats is a must, humans are in fact human. That means you need a comprehensive plan to keep your network safe. In fact, comprehensive is a great word to describe Barracuda email security. It encompasses a variety of solutions with options for any business need. So let’s dive into some of the components of Barracuda’s email security lineup.

What is Barracuda email security used for

Use Barracuda email security to protect your network from all manner of email-borne threats with multi-layered protection. Those layers include:

  • Defense at the gateway
  • Email resiliency
  • Protection from fraud
  • Email privacy
  • Greater user security awareness

In sum, deploying the right Barracuda solutions gives you peace of mind that hazards like spam, phishing messages, viruses, and more won’t bring down your network.

How does Barracuda email encryption work

Barracuda email encryption comes through two possible methods: the Email Security Gateway appliance or the cloud-based Barracuda Email Security Service. Both offer secure, outbound email encryption, with multiple policies available that give admins granular control over exactly which outbound emails to encrypt. Once administrators decide on specific policies, users can send emails – and any attachments – that match policy to the Barracuda Message Center with secure TLS encryption.

Backing up a bit, email encryption ensures that only the intended recipient can access an email and its attachments. Traditionally, that access for recipients is tricky, as they’ll need an encryption key. In this case, the web-based Barracuda Message Center handles everything. First, the recipient receives an email notifying them that they have an encrypted message with a link to the message center. Next, the user must choose a password upon first accessing the center. Then, they can view their encrypted messages, download attachments, and reply – all through the Barracuda Message Center. And the best part, once users choose a password, they can use it anytime they need to access subsequent encrypted messages.

What is Barracuda spam filter

Barracuda spam filter stops spam emails that often make it through other email filters. It does so without blocking important messages, thanks to one of the industry’s lowest false-positive rates. Just like Barracuda email security as a whole, spam filtering is a multi-pronged effort. The award-winning spam filtering technology finds email from known spammers, analyzes any embedded URLs to find malicious links, and even catches spammers’ attempts to evade filters by placing embedded text within images.

You may be thinking, won’t these processes slow down email delivery? Barracuda thought of that too, and the answer is no. These spam detection processes take place in the Barracuda cloud, so they don’t slow you down. Spam emails are pre-filtered before they reach your server. That means you also get protection from denial-of-service (DOS) attacks that spammers may launch your way.

How do you use Barracuda spam filter

You get the award-winning Barracuda spam filter through Barracuda Essentials, an all-in-one, cloud-based email protection platform. Barracuda Essentials combines spam filtering with Advanced Threat Protection, which filters more hazards including email-based malware and even zero-day threats – as we know that spam filtering is just one part of the email protection puzzle.

And Barracuda Essentials doesn’t stop at inbound email filtering. In essence, it’s a way to get your business – regardless of size – into Barracuda email security as a whole. This combines inbound filtering with:

  • Outbound email filtering
  • Archiving
  • Email retention enforcement
  • Full backup and recovery of every email/file

In other words, it not only protects your network from incoming email threats, it also safeguards against data loss with data leak protection policies and the aforementioned encryption. And it’s got your back with full cloud backup and recovery of every email and file.

How much does Barracuda email security cost

How much Barracuda email security costs depends on which solutions you deploy and the needs of your business. If you’re a business with about 50 employees for example looking for the comprehensive protection of Barracuda Essentials, you can get it for under $150 a month.

Barracuda Essentials is available for deployments as small as 10 users or as large as 10,000-plus, with prices per user going down the larger the company. Get started with Barracuda email security today!

 

 

Barracuda Backup Review: Info, Specs, & Pricing

What is Barracuda Backup?

Barracuda Backup protects you against data loss no matter what. Available as both hardware appliances and cloud-based virtual machines, Barracuda Backups deliver constant data protection while replicating it in off-site archives.

That means ransomware has met its match. Files get encrypted? You’ve got backups! Disaster wipe out your whole office? You have copies in the cloud. In sum, Barracuda provides rapid recovery from data loss incidents, letting your business get back up and running fast.

You have a number of options available to help you quickly recover:

  • LiveBoot
  • Cloud LiveBoot
  • Physical-to-Virtal (P2V)
  • LiveBrowse

What does a Barracuda Backup Do?

Barracuda Backup appliances run constantly in the background of your network, taking full backups of data and company resources hosted there. Inline replication sends backups of your data to an off-site storage server where the data is housed until needed.

If you experience an event that results in data loss, you’ll have multiple options to quickly and easily get that data back. You can vault historical data revisions to the cloud for up to 7 years! Need longer-term than that? Barracuda Backup also supports archiving in AWS Simple Storage Services and Glacier.

As mentioned, deployment is flexible with physical and virtual appliance options. Compatible host-level virtual environments include:

  • VMWare vSphere
  • Microsoft Hyper-V

Barracuda Backup Options

Does the backup take a lot of time/money?

Thanks to inline deduplication, which comes standard on all Barracuda Backup products, organizations can greatly reduce bandwidth requirements and write time. Deduplication makes data transfers faster by reducing the total number of bytes that must be sent.

Barracuda deduplicates data as it is received so duplicate copies of repeated data are eliminated. This results in an overall small storage footprint. And a small storage footprint translates directly into less cost for you.

How much does Barracuda Backup cost?

Barracuda Backup pricing is very forgiving for small businesses. The Barracuda Backup Server 390 costs just a smidge over $3000 and has available usable storage of up to 4 Terabytes. That works out to roughly 75 cents per Megabyte of data. Plus, this cost-per-megabyte ratio gets even cheaper on larger units. That’s data protected, data archived, and data safe from the threat of ransomware.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Why do I need a data Barracuda Backup solution?

There are several threats out there that can lead to massive data loss. Ransomware has exploded in popularity, hurricane season is here (or always lurking), and sometimes malicious or neglectful employees just delete stuff. Having multiple, redundant copies of your business’s most important resources is crucial. Like car insurance, you won’t really appreciate or notice it until you need it!

  • Why not just use an external hard drive?

Data loss can happen at any time: even 10 minutes before your next scheduled manual backup to an HDD. Plus, that hard drive represents just one more copy of your important data. Barracuda Backups are automated, scheduled around the clock, and keep multiple historical revisions that you can fall back on at any time. An integrated offsite backup solution leaves no cracks for your data to fall through.

  • Why Barracuda Backups over similar solutions?

Barracuda Backups create both a local copy of protected data as well as multiple offsite copies that are all monitored and managed by Barracuda Central as part of a monthly backup subscription. This makes managing your backups easy.

  • Will Barracuda Backup help me meet compliance regulations?

Yes. Barracuda Backup is ideal for meeting compliance requirements like HIPAA.

  • Where is my data stored?

Barracuda combines on-site appliance storage of your backups with off-site backups at a secure, remote location. On-site storage means you can restore your data super-fast for small local incidents while off-site storage is ideal in cases where your network is heavily compromised or struck by disaster.

  • How much data can be stored on the appliance?

On-board storage for these appliances starts on the low end with a usable storage capacity of 1 Terabyte for the Barracuda Backup Appliance 190. The largest appliance caps out at 112 Terabytes on the Barracuda Backup 1090. No matter how much data you’ve got to store, Barracuda leaves plenty of room.

What is the Fortinet Security Fabric?

The Fortinet Security Fabric: An Overview

Whether you own a Fortinet product or you’re just shopping around, the Fortinet Security Fabric is a term you’re probably seeing a lot of these days. But what is it? Just like actual fabric – many individual fibers weaved together – the Security Fabric is Fortinet’s vast security portfolio intertwined. In short, it’s an integrated solution allowing you to see, manage, and secure your network products in one place. In long? Let’s get into it.

Fortinet Security Fabric

It Starts With the Firewall

Here at Firewalls.com, we often refer to a firewall as the cornerstone of any network setup. The Fortinet Security Fabric treats it that way as well. It’s the hub around which all the spokes of the wheel connect – forgive the mixed metaphors. In this case, with your FortiGate next generation firewall – aka NGFW – you can coordinate the behavior of other Fortinet (and partner) products. That means your FortiGate can run your security show with visibility into all corners of your network. And by the way, it can also function as a Secure SD-WAN powerhouse in case you’ve missed that news. It supports a variety of other security technologies all under the same FortiOS operating system, including:

  • Secure Wi-Fi and Switching Access
  • Network Access
  • The single-console Fabric Management Center
  • Open Fabric Ecosystems for partner integrations
  • Cloud Infrastructure
  • Business-Critical Applications
  • Security Operations for automated threat detection, prevention, & response
  • Endpoint Protection

What is the goal of the Fortinet secure access solution?

The Fortinet secure access solution as it’s sometimes termed, encompasses secure switching and wireless. The goal is network access that’s easy to manage for admins while at the same time high performing for users.

Access is a word that pops up a few times in this conversation – as both creating and controlling it is key for an optimized, secure network. The Security Fabric integrates with FortiAPs to provide and manage secure wireless access and FortiSwitches to do what switches do – essentially create a network. And speaking of access, with the Fortinet Security Fabric, you can implement a zero-trust network access policy throughout your network.

It starts with network access detection, continuous monitoring,  and control. Next, you can implement multi-factor authentication with a solution like FortiToken. Finally, ongoing visibility and access control of all your endpoints is a must – something you can accomplish with FortiClient. When implemented together, you’ll make it extremely difficult for hackers to gain access to your network – keeping your important data secure.

How does the Security Fabric secure my network?

The Security Fabric is designed with network security as a priority. Fortinet refers to this as security driven networking. This begins with the FortiGate firewall as the front-line network protector. But it also includes the secure access solutions of the switch and wireless appliances, and dynamic cloud security to secure your cloud presence.

We’ve already discussed some of the role the FortiGate plays in the Security Fabric, but let’s expand a bit more. We already know the FortiGate is a firewall. But it also includes other critical security measures. These include a secure web gateway to help stop phishing attacks, SSL/TLS decryption to catch encrypted threats without slowing performance, and intent-based segmentation. And we can’t forget about the Secure SD-WAN component which extends this security outside the physical boundaries of the office to branch locations.

As for the cloud, the Security Fabric integrates a wide array of cloud-based security solutions. We know everyone has some type of cloud presence, so staying protected in that space is paramount. In addition to the FortiGate firewall, Fortinet offers FortiWeb web application firewalls. Email is also a major player in the cloud, and we know that email is a main entry point for malware. The good news is FortiMail is built to stop both traditional and advanced email threats.

Another note on all this security talk. The Fortinet Fabric Manager is your single console to manage all of the solutions mentioned above – and more. But the beauty is you won’t have to micromanage your security. Fortinet’s solutions heavily leverage artificial intelligence and automated security. FortiGuard AI incorporates real-time threat data gathered by FortiGuard Labs to ID and stop just about any online hazard you can think of. In essence, Fortinet Security Fabric solutions are constantly working behind the scenes to stop threats.

Who are Fortinet Security Fabric partners?

The list of Fortinet Security Fabric open fabric ecosystem partners is too numerous to include here. But these partners include heavyweights like Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Intel, Oracle, and Siemens to name just a few. The partners leverage the Security Fabric to offer end-to-end security solutions in partnership with Fortinet. It’s just one more way your network gets comprehensive coverage.

How do I get started with the Security Fabric?

We’ve touched on a number of aspects of the Security Fabric in this piece. But in the end, as in the beginning, it all comes back to the firewall. To get started on your Security Fabric journey, find the FortiGate firewall that’s right for your network.

 

New WatchGuard T20, T40, & T80 Firewalls

New WatchGuard Firewalls: Firebox T20, T40, & T80

The WatchGuard T20, along with its counterparts the WatchGuard T40 and WatchGuard T80, are the latest Firebox T-Series appliances. Launched in June 2020, these new WatchGuard firewalls sport faster speeds and increased security. This is big security in a small appliance.

The WatchGuard T20 or T40 can be used as a standalone firewall for small offices, or act as a VPN gateway to provide secure remote access to employees working from home. Some improvements include:

  • Increased throughput speeds
  • More Gig Ports
  • Built with SD-WAN in mind
  • More connections than ever
  • Greater capacity for VPN tunnels

Get an in-depth look at the new Firebox T-Series firewalls with our latest feature review video, then read on for more!

WatchGuard T20 Spec Snapshot

WatchGuard T20 Firewall

WatchGuard T20 Firewall

Max Firewall Throughput: 1.7 Gbps

VPN Throughput: 485 Mbps

Network Interface Ports: 5 x 1GbE, 1 USB, 1 Serial

Maximum Connections: 95,000

Authenticated User Limit: 200

Branch Office VPNs: 10

 

WatchGuard T40 Spec Snapshot

WatchGuard T40 Firewall

WatchGuard T40 Firewall

Max Firewall Throughput: 3.4 Gbps

VPN Throughput: 880 Mbps

Network Interface Ports: 5 x 1GbE, 2 USB, 1 Serial

Maximum Connections: 200,000

Authenticated User Limit: 500

Branch Office VPNs: 30

 

WatchGuard T80 Spec Snapshot

WatchGuard T80 Firewall

WatchGuard T80 Firewall

Max Firewall Throughput: 4.7 Gbps

VPN Throughput: 1.4 Gbps

Network Interface Ports: 8 x 1GbE, 1 USB, 1 Serial

Maximum Connections: 200,000

Authenticated User Limit: 500

Branch Office VPNs: 60

 

Save Money on WatchGuard T20, T40, & T80 Firewalls

WatchGuard makes it easy to save money if you’re ready to upgrade. WatchGuard T40 piqued your interest? WatchGuard’s trade up program lets you earn up to 25% when you upgrade. Just send in your old, aging Firebox and you’ll save big while gaining access to tools and services only available on the newest generation:

  • SD-WAN with zero touch deployment
  • WatchGuard Cloud for management & reporting
  • IntelligentAV to stop unknown threats with AI
  • ThreatSync security data
  • DNSWatch, Network Discovery, & more

SonicWave vs Ubiquiti Wireless Access Points

SonicWave vs Ubiquiti Wireless Access Points

Comparing SonicWave wireless access points to competitors like Ubiquiti can pose a challenge. Which stats are important when selecting an AP? What makes SonicWave so secure? How does  high performance Wave 2 wireless factor in when it comes to super fast WiFi at a low total cost?

SonicWave is the latest series of wireless access points from SonicWall. In short, Wave 2 wireless provides:

  • Gigabit WiFi potential
  • More bandwidth for connected devices
  • Additional 5 GHz channels
  • Improved user experience
  • Beamforming & bandsteering

SonicWave 224W

Beamforming & Bandsteering

In the past, wireless coverage acted sort of like a lightbulb. For instance: you turn it on, light spills out in all directions, and the whole room is evenly lit. Beamforming is more like a flashlight (or a torch for our UK friends). That is to say, it allows more direct and focused paths for connectivity. When a device attempts to connect to your wireless AP, onboard engines determine which channel and device will provide the highest quality connection at the time.

To sum up, key benefits of beamforming include:

  • More stable, reliable connectivity
  • Faster data transfers & fewer errors
  • Reduced interference
  • Better “signal-to-noise” ratio

In addition, bandsteering is a game changer for WiFi. Bandsteering is the process of using dual-band WiFi, allowing APs to choose which Gigahertz band will provide the highest performance.

  • 2.4 GHz – Slower data transfer, more interference, but larger coverage area & penetration
  • 5 GHz – Higher speeds, more reliable connections, & less congestion

Sometimes the higher capacity 5 GHz band is the faster option. However, in some cases the 2.4 GHz can be the best bet if 5 GHz is congested or a little out of reach. With bandsteering, you do not have to decide. SonicWaves automatically connect to the most efficient band. In other words, the AP does the thinking for you.

Go Controller-Free with SonicWave

SonicWall SonicWave APs feature easy deployment and management options that lower costs. There is no need to purchase a separate wireless controller because your wireless network can be managed through the firewall. Single pane of glass management means less clicking around in multiple tabs and windows to find what you’re looking for. You also have the option of SonicWall’s WiFi Cloud Manager, which offers several bonus features of its own.

Network Security Integration

SonicWall comes backed by multiple decades in the greater network security world. While Ubiquiti excels in their own little fish bowl, SonicWall is a shark that has prowled every corner of the cybercrime seven seas. Above all, SonicWave access points integrate into a larger, centrally managed network with real-time communication and unified threat protection operating across several security layers.

Because SonicWall sports a pedigree in security, SonicWave APs are built with security foremost in mind. That means SonicWaves benefit from:

  • Automatic firmware updates
  • Security alerts & rich analytics
  • SSL/TLS decryption & inspection
  • Wireless intrusion detection & prevention

Dedicated Security Radio

SonicWave 400 series access points include three radios. The first two radios operate on the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. Most importantly – when it comes to a protected network – the third radio is there just to secure your WiFi! SonicWave’s security radios scan for rogue access points and perform other wireless security tasks. Additional security-related features include:

  • Rogue AP Scanning
  • Virtual AP Segmentation
  • RF Monitoring
  • Passive Scanning
  • Wireless Packet Capture

SonicWave 432i vs Ubiquiti Quick Comparisons

Here we break out a few quick side-by-side stats comparing SonicWave APs vs a Ubiquiti UniFi Pro:

Antennas

  • SonicWave: 8 fully internal antennas
  • Ubiquiti: 3 dual-band antennas

802.11ac Max Date Rates

  • SonicWave: 2.34 Gbps – 3.47 Gbps
  • Ubiquiti: 450 Mbps – 1.3 Gbps

Interfaces & Ports

  • SonicWave: (1) 10/100/1000 RJ-45 Ethernet/PoE; (1) 100/1000/2.5 GbE RJ-45 Ethernet; (1) RJ-45 Console; (1) USB 2.0
  • Ubiquiti: (2) 10/100/1000 RJ-45 Ethernet; (1) USB 2.0

MIMO

  • SonicWave: 4×4 MU-MIMO
  • Ubiquiti: 3×3 MIMO

If you’re looking for the bare bones to get a Wi-Fi network up, a Ubiquiti UniFi access point may do the job. If you’re serious about wireless networking, unified security, and user experience, a SonicWave 432i or SonicWave 231c is a better fit for you. SonicWave access points come with the peace of mind that your wireless equipment was home-grown by a company steeped in network security know-how. The demand for fast, stable wireless access continues to grow. Therefore, the volume and variety of advanced attacks targeting WiFi networks will also grow. A SonicWave wireless AP is the way to go for small businesses with cyber security in mind.

 

SonicWave vs SonicPoint: Comparing Wireless APs

SonicWave vs SonicPoint: Comparing SonicWall Wireless APs

The wave of the future in SonicWall wifi is here with SonicWave wireless access points. To compare SonicWave vs SonicPoint is to compare the future to the past. SonicWave’s predecessor – SonicPoint wireless APs – retired in 2019, but their wifi footprint remains large. For those with active SonicPoint devices or those shopping for wireless networking solutions, it’s worth taking a look at what both model lines have to offer. Let’s compare and contrast SonicWall’s latest wireless line with it’s previous entry into the wifi space.

The New Wave

When it comes to many of the differences between these two model lines, much simply has to do with differences in the technology available at launch date. In other words, older SonicPoints support older performance standards, while newer SonicWaves are ready for whatever today has to offer. Perhaps the biggest difference that puts SonicWaves ahead of SonicPoint APs is support for 802.11ac Wave 2 wireless technology. Wave 2 offers a couple of clearly enhanced capabilities that give SonicWave access points a performance edge:

SonicWave 224W

SonicWave (Wave 2 Technology)

  • 4 data streams
  • 160 MHz channel usage

SonicPoint ACi

SonicPoint (Prior Generation)

  • 3 data streams
  • 80 MHz channel usage

The math is pretty simple there. The larger the bandwidth and the more data streams means more devices supported and better performance. And onto another improvement that relates to Wave 2.

MU-MIMO es SU-MIMO

SonicWave models support MU-MIMO instead of SonicPoint’s SU-MIMO. In case you’re unfamiliar, MIMO stands for multiple-input, multiple-output. SU stands for single user, while MU is multiple users. What it’s meant to address is a lag in performance on a network with many users.  The MU-MIMO technology found in Wave 2 devices better accounts for today’s mobile-device heavy environment, while SU-MIMO was designed with primarily laptop usage in mind. MU-MIMO allows a wireless connection to simultaneously transmit and receive data between multiple supported devices at a time, as opposed to just one with single-use. That means better performance, more device support, and a reduction in the dreaded lag.

Deployment Options

There are simple physical differences when comparing SonicWave vs SonicPoint models. That is, SonicPoint offered only indoor-capable wireless access points. But the SonicWave series gives you options for whatever your needs, including if those needs include a more rugged appliance. SonicWave has models designed for the traditional indoor ceiling and wall mount, while also offering models specifically designed for outdoor deployments. The SonicWave 231O and 432O are IP67-Rated and feature industrial-grade enclosures meant to stand up to harsh environments. Basically, they can go wherever you need wifi.

Security and Integration

These features go hand-in-hand. SonicWall is always taking network security into account with any solution it offers. Both SonicWave and SonicPoint models support wireless data encryption. But the SonicWave series goes several steps further. SonicWaves are designed to integrate with SonicWall next generation firewalls to take advantage of the robust security they offer – like deep packet inspection to block network threats – as well as single-pane-of-glass management. If you don’t have a SonicWall firewall though, SonicWave APs can perform advanced security services, including the powerful, zero-day stopping Capture ATP sandbox service on their own.

Plus, most SonicWave APs include three radios, with the third fully focused on security. The third radio performs rogue AP detection, passive scanning, and packet capturing. But wait, there’s more! SonicWaves also integrate additional security-related features including:

  • Wireless intrusion prevention
  • Virtual AP segmentation
  • Wireless guest services
  • RF monitoring
  • Packet capture

And as mentioned, you can manage them through your firewall, or with SonicWall’s WiFi Cloud Manager – an intuitive, cloud-based WiFi network management system ideal for networks of any size.

Availability

This one’s perhaps the easiest comparison of SonicWave vs SonicPoint. If you’re looking for new wireless APs, it’s SonicWave or bust. The last SonicPoint models reached end of sale in spring of 2019 (with end of support looming in 2022), so the choice is clear. Shop the SonicWave 200 or 400 series to find the right fit for your networking needs.

 

How to Choose a Cisco Meraki MS Switch for your Small Business

Shopping for Cisco Meraki MS Switches

Cisco Meraki MS Network Switches provide Layer 2 switching that unifies devices. Meraki switches fit best in small businesses, branch offices, distributed enterprises, campuses, and other complex deployment settings. These gigabit switches include SFP+ uplinks on all models. At the high end, Meraki switches reach up to 800 Gbps of switching capacity.  In other words, a Cisco Meraki MS Switch is an ideal fit for a wide range of situations.

Managed through a simple single-pane-of-glass interface, Cisco Meraki MS switches excel in the cloud. Extend greater visibility and control across the network. Because of these features, admins can easily track:

  • User activity
  • Security events
  • Configuration changes

Cisco Meraki MS Switches are stackable. So SMBs can easily add future switches to meet business growth – perfect for scalability.

Cisco Meraki MS Switch MS120-48

Why Cisco Meraki MS Switches?

Network switches connect all the devices your business uses. Whether they be VoIP phones, wireless APs, firewalls, SMA devices, or others, a switch acts at the central hub of traffic routing. Cisco Meraki MS Switches intelligently link devices across your network. As a result, admins can take control with:

  • Role-based administration
  • Fully cloud-based management
  • Remote diagnostics tools
  • Packet capture
  • Automated downtime email alerts

Cisco Meraki MS switches let small businesses take advantage of enterprise-grade features without paying enterprise prices. In addition to traditional Ethernet features, MS switches include:

  • MAC Whitelists & MAC Authentication Bypass (MAB)
  • Dynamic ARP Inspection
  • VLAN configuration settings for individual ports
  • Traffic monitoring through port mirroring

And there’s more: deploying a Cisco Meraki MS switch is simple. Plug it in. That’s it.

With auto-provisioning, SMBs that lack IT talent can quickly deploy across multiple sites. That is to say, no messing around with command lines. No complex setup needed. Zero-touch deployment makes Meraki switches a plug-and-play experience.

Choosing a Cisco Meraki MS Switch

Finding a network switch can be a challenge if you’re not familiar with important tech specs and features. So here are a few key features to keep an eye out for:

Power Configuration

Cisco Meraki MS switches include a single power supply, with additional power supply units sold separately. Power supply configurations are hot-swappable, so you can say goodbye to downtime.

Switching Capacity

Switching capacity refers to the total amount of data that a network switch can handle. Vendors measure this in Gbps. If you’re getting a gig or more from your ISP, then you’ll want a network switch that can handle that traffic volume without losing the speed you paid for.

Interfaces

The whole point of a network switch is to act as a central hub. That means you’ll want a lot of ports and types of interfaces to meet the needs of your setup. Cisco Meraki MS switches come in:

  • 8-port
  • 16-port
  • 24-port
  • 48-port

Uplinks

Network switch uplinks are important for stacking. To clarify, uplinks allow two similar devices to directly connect. Whereas devices once required a crossover cable to “talk” back and forth, an uplink port allows your MS appliance to internally route communication between devices.


 

Still Have Questions about Network Switches?

To sum up, Cisco Meraki MS switches are great for SMBs and branches to centralize all their devices. Firewalls.com provides plain-language product knowledge to our customers. This ensures you make a wise security investment. Next, check out our other network switch tools to see if a Cisco Meraki switch is right for you.

Read our article Five Things to Consider Before Buying a Network Switch

Watch our Video Buyers Guide for Network Switches

SonicWall Switch: A New Networking Must-Have

Introducing the SonicWall Switch

From the smallest of small businesses to the largest of enterprises, networks are getting bigger. As a network admin, you can no longer count on a simple setup to handle the capacity of today. The number of IoT devices continues to grow exponentially, and BYOD is a workplace norm as well. How do you get a handle on all these devices and keep your network secure? Enter the new SonicWall Switch. A SonicWall Switch enhances control over your network, makes management a breeze, and integrates seamlessly with your existing SonicWall firewall. Plus, with seven models, you’ll have no problem finding the right secure switch for your network needs.

Control, management, & integration

With all the aforementioned devices, plus guest networks and other scenarios, control is key. A SonicWall Switch gives you all the standard features you’d expect from a switch, and more. It allows you to segment traffic to give the right level of access to the right people/devices. Manage your ports to keep your network secure. Create a VLAN (virtual local area network) to apply settings beyond one physical office. And to get extra granular, configure static routes.

All this control is great, you’re probably thinking, but how do I manage it? You manage your SonicWall Switch with your SonicWall next generation firewall through the Capture Security Center. It’s a single-pane-of-glass that lets you monitor and configure your network from one console. By adding a SonicWall Switch to a network with SonicWave wireless access points & a SonicWall firewall, you’ll have an integrated solution with visibility, management, unified threat detection, and analytics all in one place. It’s easy enough to deploy and manage for a layperson but with plenty of opportunity for a networking nerd to sink their teeth into. The bottom line: you get end to endpoint security & networking from one company. This makes a SonicWall Switch an ideal fit for Software-Defined Branch (SD-Branch) settings.

SonicWall Switch Models

Every network has different needs, so the SonicWall Switch series has a variety of sizing options to choose from – seven in fact. Considering power over ethernet? There are PoE and Full-PoE variants. If you don’t need it, non-PoE options are available as well. Port options are aplenty too, with 8, 24, and 48 available. No matter your choice, you get a network switch with a compact form factor designed for energy efficiency. Let’s take a closer look at the options by model number:

SonicWall SWS12-8

  • Appliance Only MSRP: $250
  • Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) Ports: 8
  • SFP/SFP+ Ports: 2 SFP
  • PoE Support: Non-PoE

SonicWall SWS12-8POE

  • Appliance Only MSRP: $375
  • Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) Ports: 8
  • SFP/SFP+ Ports: 2 SFP
  • PoE Support: PoE

SonicWall SWS12-10FPOE

  • Appliance Only MSRP: $450
  • Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) Ports: 10
  • SFP/SFP+ Ports: 2 SFP
  • PoE Support: Full-PoE

SonicWall SWS14-24

  • Appliance Only MSRP: $550
  • Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) Ports: 24
  • SFP/SFP+ Ports: 4 SFP+
  • PoE Support: Non-PoE

SonicWall SWS14-24FPOE

  • Appliance Only MSRP: $1050
  • Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) Ports: 24
  • SFP/SFP+ Ports: 4 SFP+
  • PoE Support: Full-PoE

SonicWall SWS14-48

  • Appliance Only MSRP: $1025
  • Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) Ports: 48
  • SFP/SFP+ Ports: 4 SFP+
  • PoE Support: Non-PoE

SonicWall SWS14-48FPOE

  • Appliance Only MSRP: $1995
  • Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) Ports: 48
  • SFP/SFP+ Ports: 4 SFP+
  • PoE Support: Full-PoE

Looking for more?

Check out our SonicWall Switch Series feature review video for more information about these new networking appliances:

As you can see, choices are plentiful, so it’s likely you can find a SonicWall Switch to fit your needs – and at a reasonable price. Add on 24×7 SonicWall Support to any of these models to get technical help, updates, & advance hardware replacement. Shop now to find the SonicWall Switch that’s right for you!


 

Best affordable firewall for small businesses

Affordable firewalls that won’t leave you dreaming of bigger budgets

Affordable firewalls are a necessity for small businesses. Especially if they need strong network security in place fast. However, finding an affordable firewall can be tough. Not sure sure how to find SMB firewalls that give real bang for the buck?

Find the best affordable firewall you can rely on for years to come with a few options Firewalls.com recommends:

What sets an affordable firewall apart from a cheap firewall?

Firstly, what do we mean by an affordable firewall? We mean a next generation firewall that reliably delivers high-speed performance and advanced security at a cost-efficient “pound for pound” level. Many third party authorities such as NSS Labs and Gartner measure and quantify high quality, affordable firewalls. This is often done with metrics like “Total Cost of Ownership” and “Price per Protected Mbps.”

Firewall vendors are constantly racing to extend enterprise-grade, multi-gig firewalls to smaller and smaller user bases. The Next Generation Firewall (NGFW) era has grown fully ripe. Now savvy SMBs can get even newer next-er generations of NGFWs. If they know where to look.

Fortinet 40F – Affordable firewall with jaw-dropping stats

The FortiGate 40F launched in 2020 as part of Fortinet’s new F-Series firewalls. The tiny titan FortiGate 40F can reach speeds of up to 5 Gigabits per second. That’s twice as fast as the FG-50E which costs over $50 more! And don’t forget its purpose-built processor for top-notch Secure SD-WAN capabilities.

Secure SD-WAN with FortiGate 40F

The tech specs for the FG-40F are insane for such an affordable firewall.


 

SonicWall TZ 350 – Affordable firewall built to stop ransomware

SonicWall launched the TZ series as NGFWs for SMBs. Now the next gen of NGFWs are sprouting up with new additions like the SonicWall SOHO 250 and SonicWall TZ 350. The SonicWall TZ350 is faster and supports more SSL VPN licences than the TZ300.

With SonicWall Capture Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) enabled, you get a super fast cloud-based sandbox that uses AI and behavior-based scans. First, identify potential threats. Then isolate them in quarantine. Finally, detonate them before they can touch your network. This squashes the threat of ransomware right in your inbox.


 

Sophos XG 106 – Affordable firewall with added on-board memory

The Sophos XG 106 is a major revision of the XG 105. The XG 106 includes upgraded onboard memory RAM. XG firewalls use an integrated Solid State Drive (SSD).

XG 106

Sophos XG firewalls are affordable, but still satisfy the cravings of network admins looking for advanced features, increased visibility & control, and synchronized real-time security.


 

WatchGuard T35 – Affordable firewall made to grow with you

WatchGuard T-Series Firebox appliances are built with scalability in mind. That means if your small business doesn’t stay a small business, you can easily expand your network security setup without having to rip and replace from the ground up.

T35

The term “future-proof” is often used to describe the T-Series. WatchGuard makes it easy to upgrade existing services and add emerging tech to your current setup.

 

SonicWall NSa Firewalls: How to choose & buy an NSa firewall

What is a SonicWall NSa firewall?

SonicWall NSa firewalls are next-gen appliances built to provide unified, advanced threat protection and centralized network management to mid-sized businesses. In short, if your network supports between 100 and 2,500 users, an NSa firewall may be right for you.


 

To begin, we’ll compare features of NSa and TZ firewalls. After that we’ll explore NSa firewall tech specs and how to boost your SonicWall firewall with smart security services like AGSS.

What’s the difference between SonicWall NSa firewalls & TZ firewalls?

SonicWall NSa and TZ firewalls share a lot in common. For example, both support cloud-based sandbox capabilities with SonicWall Capture ATP as well as many of SonicWall’s patented security features like Re-assembly Free Deep Packet Inspection (RFDPI) and Real-Time Deep Memory Inspection (RTDMI).

NSa Series is best suited for:

  • Large branch offices & distributed enterprises
  • Data centers & corporate HQs
  • Hotels, convention centers, & dorms
  • Doctors’ & dentists’ offices

TZ Series is better suited for

  • Retail spots & restaurants
  • Small offices & home offices
  • Law firms, satellite offices, and outposts

In other words, the NSa series may be a bit too large for smaller businesses. We recommend checking out SonicWall TZ entry-level firewalls instead. After that, expand your know-how with our SonicWall TZ firewall article spotlighting the SonicWall SOHO 250 and SonicWall TZ350.

Comparing NSa firewall prices & tech specs

The best way to compare NSa firewalls is by visiting our SonicWall Firewall Comparison page or a SonicWall NSa datasheet. Similarly, you can compare critical stats at-a-glance with this snapshot of NSa firewalls by price and performance.

SonicWall NSa 2650

nsa 2650 from sonicwall next gen firewall

  • Appliance Only MSRP: $2,495.00
  • Max Throughput: 3.0 Gbps
  • Threat Prevention Throughput: 1.5 Gbps
  • Built-In Storage (SSD): 16 GB
  • Max SSL VPN Licenses350


 

SonicWall NSa 3650

NSa 3650

  • Appliance Only MSRP: $3,995.00
  • Max Throughput: 3.75 Gbps
  • Threat Prevention Throughput: 1.75 Gbps
  • Built-In Storage (SSD): 32 GB
  • Max SSL VPN Licenses500


 

SonicWall NSa 4650

NSa 4650

  • Appliance Only MSRP$6,495.00
  • Max Throughput: 6.0 Gbps
  • Threat Prevention Throughput: 2.5 Gbps
  • Built-In Storage (SSD): 32 GB
  • Max SSL VPN Licenses: 1,000


 

SonicWall NSa 5650

NSa 5650

  • Appliance Only MSRP: $10,995.00
  • Max Throughput: 6.25 Gbps
  • Threat Prevention Throughput: 3.4 Gbps
  • Built-In Storage (SSD): 64 GB
  • Max SSL VPN Licenses: 6,000


 

SonicWall NSa 6650

NSa 6650

  • Appliance Only MSRP: $23,595.00
  • Max Throughput: 12.0 Gbps
  • Threat Prevention Throughput: 5.5 Gbps
  • Built-In Storage (SSD): 64 GB
  • Max SSL VPN Licenses: 6,000


 

TotalSecure Advanced for SonicWall NSa firewalls

NSa firewalls include all the basic security features needed to secure your SMB. But bad guys go way beyond the basics. Therefore, small businesses should not rely on a bare-bones deployment. On the contrary, even small businesses should license advanced security services for SonicWall firewalls to empower admins. As a result, they’ll be able to stop more threats and better control network traffic.

  • Stop zero day threats like malware cocktails with behavior-based threat scanning
  • Rely on 24×7 support from SonicWall experts to keep you up & running around the clock
  • Detonate ransomware payloads in a secure, virtual environment with cloud-based sandboxing
  • Clean up inboxes from unwanted spam, email-borne threats, & elusive phishing schemes

Learn more about SonicWall AGSS to secure your small business against malware, ransomware, and zero day exploits.

 

SonicWall Support: How to Support Your SonicWall

What is SonicWall Support…And why do I need it?

A SonicWall firewall is an important purchase. It’s an investment showing that you recognize the need to protect your network from the many cyber threats out there today. But to truly ensure you have that secure network through thick and thin, you need someone backing you – and it – up. That’s where SonicWall Support comes in to lend a hand. What do you get with SonicWall Support?

Software and Firmware Updates

We know that cyber threats are ever evolving. And never before seen vulnerabilities can pop up out of the blue. A SonicWall Support subscription gets you any software and firmware updates needed to patch those unforeseen holes. That means you don’t need to search out updates or worry if you’ll be able to load them. Just like Phoebe, Monica, Chandler, Rachel, Joey, and even Ross – they’ll be there for you. Oh, and the same goes for any software or firmware upgrades while your subscription is active.

Advance Hardware Replacement

If it seems like something’s wrong with your firewall, SonicWall Support will work with you to see if a replacement is needed. If so, you’ll receive a Returned Material Authorization or RMA number. And most importantly, SonicWall will ship you a replacement unit for next business day delivery. The replacement appliance will even automatically have your registration information and subscription services transferred to it. All you’ll need to do is return your defective device, with shipping paid by SonicWall.

Technical Support

Simply put, when you have a question or issue, you can reach out for help in whatever contact method you prefer. You get an expert on the other end of the phone, an online chat, or an email. They’ll help you troubleshoot your issue with knowledgeable technical support. You can go with 8×5 Support – which is available during business hours Monday through Friday in your time zone. Go for 24×7 Support to ensure there’s always someone at your beck and call immediately, because trouble doesn’t care what time it is.

SonicWall Support also equips you with tools to support yourself. There’s a knowledge base offering detailed documentation. And moderated discussion groups through the SonicWall Community allow you to collaborate with others to solve common problems.

Beyond Support

Keep in mind, SonicWall Support specialists are there to ensure your products perform up to specifications – so not every question or situation may qualify. The good news is, if you need more advanced support there’s an option for you as well. To ensure you’ll always have answers to any questions about your network – you’ll want to go managed. That is, a managed security subscription through Firewalls.com.

Our Managed Security Service takes you beyond support – with certified engineers offering configuration updates, help with any network issues you may have, assistance with those software or firmware updates, help with equipment repair or replacement, and more. That more includes 24×7 monitoring of your firewall with quarterly checkups and web-based reporting. In fact, you can expect a call from us offering a fix to an issue or a configuration tweak to optimize your network. That proactive monitoring means solutions come before problems take down your network. And signing up for Managed Services requires no contract – they operate with flexible month to month subscriptions. Visit our Professional Services page to learn more, or call 866-645-2140 to get started.

How Do I Get SonicWall Support?

SonicWall Support is available in a variety of ways (and for a variety of products). The simplest – and best – way to get a support subscription is through a TotalSecure Advanced Edition bundle. The bundle includes SonicWall hardware plus Advanced Gateway Security Suite, which includes 24×7 support plus just about any other key security service you can think of. If you want to go the a la carte route, both 8×5 and Standard Support subscription options are also available, but the bundle is the way to go for total network protection from any threat.


 

Ruckus Wireless indoor & outdoor wireless APs fit any budget

Ruckus Wireless indoor & outdoor wireless APs fit any budget

Ruckus Wireless takes wireless security to the next level with its ZoneFlex and Unleashed wireless access point families. Ruckus is shaping the future of connectivity – its ICX network switches can make even the most complex wireless network deployments possible. Whether you’re looking to extend fast, secure Wi-Fi to a classroom, hotel room, or hospital room, Ruckus Wireless has you covered with high-performance, next generation appliances.

Ruckus security made easy

Small businesses, retail spaces, hotels, schools–no matter the venue, wireless devices are multiplying and growing hungrier for bandwidth every year. Running a small business in 2020 means secure, high-performance wireless connectivity is a necessity, not a luxury. Ruckus security services mixed with the lightning fast speeds of its security processors means you don’t have to sacrifice speed for safety.

Not every small business has the budget or IT talent to handle a complex wireless network configuration. And still fewer SMBs have the spare time to manage a wireless security infrastructure once deployed, but Ruckus makes deployments simpler with intuitive management dashboards, affordable prices, and controller-less solutions like Ruckus Unleashed access points.

 

Choosing the right Ruckus AP

ZoneFlex R-Series Access Points are great for:

ZoneFlex T-Series Access Points are great for:

  • Outdoor hospitality spaces & common areas
  • Campus quads & satellite classrooms
  • Harbors, ports, beachside, & marinas
  • Outdoor venues & sports stadiums

ZoneFlex H-Series Access Points are great for:

  • Hotel guest rooms
  • Classrooms & hospital rooms
  • University residence halls

Ruckus Wireless Access Point Guide: Choose the best Ruckus Wireless AP for Small Business


 

Ruckus ICX Network Switches

Ruckus ICX network switches combine enterprise-grade security features with intuitive management and a flexible solution that lets small businesses easily scale up their switch solution by stacking additional network switches. If you’re paying your ISP for a gigabit Ethernet connection, why lose it to the network? Ruckus Wireless ICX switches deliver high-performance uplinks to small and mid-sized businesses.