Gartner Research

Critical Capabilities for Network Firewalls

Published: 16 May 2023


Network firewalls remain a mandatory network security control, and the two emerging use cases are hybrid mesh firewalls and firewall-as-a-service offerings. Security and risk management leaders need to evaluate network firewall capabilities against projected use cases.

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Key Findings
  • Firewall vendors are expanding their product offerings; however, these new offerings are rarely as well-integrated as a unified platform. Complementary products often require multiple management consoles and agents, and sometimes lack deep integrations among the components.

  • As more organizations choose programmatic, hybrid work strategies, buyers are more likely to select firewall vendors that offer cloud-based security services with credible cloud security strategies.

  • Cloud-first enterprises prefer firewall vendors that support the integrated management of multiple, cloud-native firewalls.


Security and risk management leaders responsible for infrastructure security, and looking to evaluate firewall vendors, should:

  • Pursue tactical movement toward fewer firewall vendors for capital

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  • Alibaba Cloud
  • Amazon Web Services
  • Barracuda
  • Check Point Software Technologies
  • Cisco
  • Forcepoint
  • Fortinet
  • H3C
  • Hillstone Networks
  • Huawei
  • Juniper
  • Microsoft
  • Palo Alto Networks
  • Sangfor Technologies
  • SonicWall
  • Sophos
  • WatchGuard
  • Central Management and Reporting
  • Scalability
  • Ease of Use
  • Advanced Networking
  • Application Control
  • FWaaS
  • Intrusion Prevention and ATD
  • Public Cloud Support
  • Pricing
  • Enterprise Data Center
  • Enterprise Edge
  • Distributed Enterprise
  • Public Cloud
  • SMB

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Critical Capabilities: A deeper look into provider offerings

How does a Critical Capabilities report work?

As a companion to the Magic Quadrant™, a Critical Capabilities report scores competing products and services against a set of meaningful differentiators. It reveals which options are the best fit in various use cases to help you focus on the vendors best suited to your needs.

A Critical Capabilities report is more than just a diagram. You also get:

Sharper focus

Narrow down the product and service criteria most important to you.

Individualized use cases

Use interactive features to customize usage scenarios based on your organization’s unique needs.

Faster decision making

Use data to speed up provider selection and accelerate the procurement process.

A Gartner Critical Capabilities report is just one of our many offerings.

We provide actionable, objective insight to help organizations make smarter, faster technology decisions to stay ahead of disruption and accelerate growth.

Pick the right provider with confidence

We use a Critical Capabilities report, the Magic Quadrant and more to ensure you select the best-fit provider to avoid the costly repercussions of a poor decision.

Align deal structures and optimize spend

We benchmark pricing against the market so you avoid unnecessary charges.

Reduce complexity and risk

We analyze contract terms and conditions to protect you against future price increases and unanticipated costs.

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