As mentioned in our previous blog: WatchGuard Firewalls, the work environment is changing, and many offices now require wireless access to their network. The solution may seem simple enough, with hundreds of wireless access point (WAP) devices available, at increasingly competitive prices. However before taking the plunge, it is crucial to remember that opening access to the WLAN exposes your network and creates new security requirements. For this reason, secured access points are a great option for ensuring your business network stays safe whilst allowing you to benefit from the flexibility of wireless access. When deliberating which secured access point is the best fit for your requirements, is also important to consider how the device will interact with your existing security system…

 

The WatchGuard WAP

WatchGuard is a company that continues to impress us with value for money, simplicity of use, and high performance results- read more about their firewall devices in our previous blog. Now, with the introduction of WatchGuard’s WAP device, it is possible to extend WatchGuard’s UTM security services from the firewall to the WLAN whilst also benefiting from advanced wireless hardware, simple roaming, and great coverage.

Previously, the only way to provide seamless corporate grade wireless coverage in an organisation was to make use of very expensive solutions from vendors such as Cisco. The solutions typically would require the purchase of a number of very expensive wireless access points and an even more expensive wireless controller. Watchguard has extended the functionality of their existing firewall hardware via a firmware upgrade, to now also provide the wireless controller function. This in itself is a potential saving of thousands of dollars! Furthermore, with the wireless connections being controlled by the firewall, we are able to easily manage the wifi traffic.

Using WatchGuard’s simple unified management tools we can quickly enforce policies that best meet the needs of the business environment, such as acceptable use policies for employees requesting mobile access to corporate data. These controls protect the network as it is accessed in even the most hostile environments, such as public Wi-Fi hotspots. As you would expect considering WatchGuard’s reputation for manageability, these WAPs fit seamlessly into the existing firewall infrastructure, and WatchGuard’s unified management tools allow us to manage both the WAP devices and XTM firewalls from the same console. This not only makes the system easier to control, it also reduces setup time and maintenance costs. Value for money is increased when you consider that bundling security and access into one device saves on separate controller hardware/ software fees, as does WatchGuard’s per licence, rather than per-WAP seat cost. Importantly if you already have WatchGuard security, the WAP and XTM devices actually work together, further increasing the security of your network.

 

Why we recommend WatchGuard solutions…

There are of course many different vendors when it comes to choosing a suitable UTM device for your business requirements- including big names such as Cisco and Dell. While all the vendors to have capable offerings, we typically recommend Watchguard solutions because we truly feel they tick most of the boxes that are important in terms of security, performance, cost effectiveness, and manageability. Comparing WatchGuard’s XTM devices with offerings from other leading vendors there are several features that separate WatchGuard from the crowd:

 

  • WatchGuard allows us to control (monitor / block) usage of over 1800 applications via Application Control, which is more than any other NGFW, including offerings from Palo Alto Networks and Fortinet.
  • With WatchGuard’s innovative HTTPS inspection, encrypted connections are inspected in a way that no other security vendor offers.
  • When it comes to cost, WatchGuard maintained the highest Info-Tech Value ScoreTM of the vendor group, including offerings from Cisco, McAfee, Fortinet and SonicWALL.
  • WatchGuard’s flexible, intuitive organization simplifies workflow, and gives us tailored control over your system, as WatchGuard allows the administrator to establish policy broadly across application category, or granularly through user category, application, and application sub functions.

 

WatchGuard’s reputation for smart manageability is particularly apparent when this device is deployed in the secure transactional business environment. For organisations that accept payment by credit card, XTM devices allow us to segregate cardholder information from the rest of the network for PCI compliance and set uniform security policies, whilst the manageability tools enables us to access PCI compliance reports with just one click. Similarly, WatchGuard facilitate Healthcare providers looking for a solution to keep Electronic Health Records (HER) safe whilst also keeping the organization compliant with regulations such as HIPAA. WatchGuard’s XTM devices allows us to easily control and audit which personnel can access which resources. The XTM device also provides easy-to-access reports that allow your business to prove compliancy and maintain reputation. In this way WatchGuard devices provide solutions to business requirements and not just security risks. For more on PCI compliance and what Systemnet can do to help your business prepare for and external PCI audit, visit our blog on the topic.

 

Let us help you secure your business

Systemnet have been WatchGuard partners for more than 12 years and are one of their leading expert solution providers. This is the highest level of WatchGuard’s reseller qualifications, and means we have proven expertise and product certification in the entire range of WatchGuard solutions.  Every Systemnet engineer is WatchGuard certified, and we have successfully deployed WatchGuard solutions in many organisations, ranging from small business’ and branch offices to large, complex, multi-site environments. Contact us now and let us show you how WatchGuard WAP devices can help solve your wireless requirements!

 

 

Posted by Systemnet

February 23, 2014

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