Patterson, however, says the maturity of the Firebox portfolio’s zero-touch deployment abilities distinguishes WatchGuard’s SD-WAN technology from those of its competitors. The vendor’s RapidDeploy tool, which lets end users without technical skills install pre-configured firewalls simply by connecting them to power and the internet, premiered back in 2014. “Zero-touch deployment isn’t a new thing for us,” Patterson says. “It’s something we took a few years to work on and refine, and it’s become a strong differentiator for us.”
Fueled by the rise of cloud computing and increased use of VoIP solutions, among other factors, SD-WAN adoption is skyrocketing at present. Global outlays on SD-WAN infrastructure will climb at a 40.4 percent CAGR from 2017 to 2022, according to IDC, reaching $4.5 billion.
Other significant feature upgrades in Fireware 12.3 include integration with the Tigerpaw PSA platform, which can now automatically import information about WatchGuard appliances and the services running on those devices. Firebox units can also automatically open service tickets in Tigerpaw now when required, and close them as well when issues are resolved. Prior editions of Fireware provided similar support for the ConnectWise Manage and Autotask PSA products. “We got a lot of requests from people who use Tigerpaw too, and we’re happy to announce that level of integration as well,” Patterson says.
Enhanced geo-location policy controls in the updated Firewall release let administrators block email and DNS traffic from potentially unsafe places with greater precision than previously possible. “It gives people the flexibility to customize those geo rules by the type of policy or protocol that might be in place, instead of setting one global rule that covers everything on the firewall,” Patterson says.
New support for USB memory sticks lets users backup firewall configurations to a USB-connected device and auto-recover from it as well. “It’s just a simple but effective way to keep a local copy of the configuration for that firewall and the information it needs to restore,” Patterson explains.
Fireware 12.3 also extends earlier functionality that allowed technicians to monitor and report on devices by an assigned name rather than their IPv4 address to the IPv6 protocol. “IPv6 addresses are very long and convoluted,” Patterson observes. “Anytime you’re working with them in a policy or looking at them in a report from the firewall it’s always more convenient to see names instead of those long numbers.”
WatchGuard’s last Firewall release, which reached users in August, included an artificial intelligence engine based on technology from Cylance Inc. designed to predict, detect, and block zero-day malware.