We are frequently asked by networking professionals how Ecessa devices differ from dual WAN firewalls and which solution they really need in their networks. Firewalls and Ecessa WAN management devices are built to solve different problems and are equally important to your business. Our answer is, you need both.
How are firewalls and Ecessa solutions different?
Firewalls are used for exactly what their name indicates, to create a fierce barrier between your internal network and the outside world. Why? For security. To protect individuals and organizations from outside threats, the firewall has become a standard, must-have device.
To keep up with more complex threats and sophisticated attacks over the past 20 years, firewalls have evolved to include Next Generation Firewall (NGFW) and Unified Threat Management (UTM) features. These innovations have created highly specialized appliances that are great at inspecting large amounts of data, detecting the latest malware and e-mail threats, raising alerts about DDOS attacks and helping businesses meet new, stringent compliance requirements such as PCI and HIPAA.
In contrast, Ecessa solutions were purpose-built to facilitate communications between businesses and the outside world. Why? For connectivity. As more and more daily business applications were pushed to the cloud (Salesforce.com, Office 365, Google Apps, Citrix), there was a need to optimize and guarantee access to the Internet.
Ecessa is great at combining multiple Internet connections from any provider, of any type (MPLS, T1, Cable, DSL, Wireless, etc.) into one robust pipe. These appliances use features such as failover, Quality of Service (QoS), load balancing, performance metrics and alerts, and software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) to make the most of connections and eliminate outages.
Both firewalls and Ecessa devices offer features that overlap with one another. Why? Flexibility. Organizations’ network design needs differ and one size does not fit all. Depending on your network, either an Ecessa WAN link controller with a firewall or a firewall with dual-WAN failover may meet your needs.
Or — like many organizations that rely on an optimized network — you may find you need both.
Although it includes basic firewall functionality, Ecessa units will not offer advanced features like NGFW or UTM and firewalls will not offer inbound and outbound failover and load balancing. An organization’s networking priorities will dictate which type of device is best suited to its needs.
Which solution is right for my business?
Your company probably needs both. To keep up with increasing performance demands on your network and looming threats from outside, you will need to periodically upgrade your network to continue providing the best solutions for your internal and external clients.
Firewalls for security are essential in today’s network – you probably already have one you love. Our advice: keep it. An Ecessa WAN link controller is a specialized tool to manage the multiple Internet connections every business needs for redundancy and continuous data flow. Our advice: get one. Use the advanced feature sets of both devices to fortify your network.
Specifically, use Ecessa to improve access to the Internet, eliminate outages, add affordable bandwidth, get visibility to bandwidth usage and ISP performance and potentially renegotiate carrier contracts to save costs. Ecessa devices integrate easily into your existing network and do not require you to modify your architecture or remove any of your existing equipment. Its function is distinct from your robust firewall and every bit as valuable.
To see a matrix comparing Ecessa solutions and various firewall vendors, get the full technology brief.