GigaOm Key Criteria for Evaluating Enterprise Firewall Solutionsv2.0

An Evaluation Guide for Technology Decision-Makers

Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Enterprise Firewall Sector Brief
  3. Decision Criteria Analysis
  4. Analyst’s Outlook
  5. About Paul Stringfellow

1. Executive Summary

Firewalls have been a staple of network security for decades, sitting at the perimeter of an organization’s network and using stateful filters to decide which connections to allow both in and out of the network. However, today’s modern organization operates in a profoundly different landscape. The perimeter is no longer easy to define, organizations are more distributed, users are spread out geographically, infrastructure is deployed in multiple locations including the public cloud, connectivity offerings change, bandwidth capability continues to grow—and, of course, the security threat posed to business is more complex than ever before. Enterprise firewalls must continually evolve to operate in these modern environments and effectively secure them.

While most organizations will already have enterprise firewalls, continually evaluating the space should be an important part of an IT leader’s responsibilities. Selecting the right firewall is essential for ensuring that an organization remains secure against the latest threats but also helping to evolve its infrastructure for more effective cloud adoption, more secure access methods, and more flexible and efficient connectivity.

Business Imperative
Enterprise firewalls are a mature market. However, many organizations already have established solutions, and investing in new firewall technology has the potential to be a disruptive and complex task, especially in larger organizations.

Evolution in the cyberthreat landscape, the way organizations operate, the need for higher throughput and performance, and the changes in team communications and connectivity are all drivers that should lead diligent IT organizations to continually evaluate their firewall strategy. Those looking to transform the way they operate or adopt areas such as software-defined wide area networks (SD-WAN) and zero-trust network access (ZTNA) will need to ensure they are using vendors that help to meet these demands.

Sector Adoption Score
To help executives and decision-makers assess the potential impact and value of an enterprise firewall solution deployment to the business, this GigaOm Key Criteria report provides a structured assessment of the sector across five factors: benefit, maturity, urgency, impact, and effort. By scoring each factor based on how strongly it compels or deters the adoption of an enterprise firewall solution, we provide an overall Sector Adoption Score (Figure 1) of 3 out of 5, with 5 indicating the strongest possible recommendation to adopt. This indicates that an enterprise firewall solution is a credible candidate for deployment and worthy of thoughtful consideration.

The factors contributing to the Sector Adoption Score for enterprise firewalls are explained in more detail in the Sector Brief section that follows.

Key Criteria for Evaluating Enterprise Firewall Solutions

Sector Adoption Score







Figure 1. Sector Adoption Score for Enterprise Firewalls

This is the second year that GigaOm has reported on the enterprise firewall space in the context of our Key Criteria and Radar reports. This report builds on our previous analysis and considers how the market has evolved over the last year.

This GigaOm Key Criteria report highlights the capabilities (table stakes, key features, and emerging features) and nonfunctional requirements (business criteria) for selecting an effective enterprise firewall solution. The companion GigaOm Radar report identifies vendors and products that excel in those decision criteria. Together, these reports provide an overview of the market, identify leading enterprise firewall offerings, and help decision-makers evaluate these solutions so they can make a more informed investment decision.


The GigaOm Key Criteria report provides a detailed decision framework for IT and executive leadership assessing enterprise technologies. Each report defines relevant functional and nonfunctional aspects of solutions in a sector. The Key Criteria report informs the GigaOm Radar report, which provides a forward-looking assessment of vendor solutions in the sector.

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