What’s a Hybrid Mesh Firewall?

See how SonicWall’s hybrid mesh firewall platform combines the power of traditional firewalls with cutting-edge features to seamlessly protect everything, everywhere in your organization.


The days of a defined network perimeter, secured by a network firewall, have been disrupted by modern hybrid workforces and multi-cloud environments. This has led to a firewall market evolution, with new form factors and deployment methods for emerging use cases. More importantly, consistent policy model and management experience, unified reporting and analytics, shared context, and flexible consumption models are now required.

According to the 2024 Gartner Market Guide for Hybrid Mesh Firewall Platforms, “By 2025, over 50% of network firewall deployments will involve more than two deployment factors from the same vendor — up from less than 10% in 2023.”[1]

Managing multiple form factors for different use cases in an enterprise can be difficult, but a hybrid mesh firewall platform addresses these complex challenges directly.

So … What is a Hybrid Mesh Firewall?

A hybrid mesh firewall is a security platform that offers flexible deployment options in multiple form factors, as well as an as-a-service delivery model with unified, cloud-delivered management, reporting and analytics. Imagine a security platform that seamlessly protects everything, everywhere in your organization, without slowing you down. That’s the power of a hybrid mesh firewall. It’s like an advanced security shield that combines the best of traditional firewalls with cutting-edge features. This translates to:

  • Complete Network Protection: Your entire network is safeguarded, from your offices to remote workers and cloud applications.
  • Stronger Defenses: Modern threats are stopped before they can harm your business.
  • Simplified Access Control: This ensures only authorized users and devices can access your data (zero trust).
  • Flexibility for Your Business: It works seamlessly, regardless of how distributed your workforce or applications are.

In short, a hybrid mesh firewall gives you the peace of mind you need to run your business securely in today’s dynamic world.

[1] Gartner, Market Guide for Hybrid Mesh Firewall Platforms, 16 January 2024. GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.

What Are the Key Capabilities and Features of a Hybrid Mesh Firewall?

Mesh Architecture
The term “mesh” refers to how various network security enforcement points and form factors are interconnected. In an enterprise IT landscape of any size, these enforcement points are strategically deployed across different network segments to create layers of purpose-built defense with a common policy. This practice protects against modern cyber threats and secures an expanded threat landscape that now includes a perimeter-less corporate network, encrypted traffic and SaaS adoption.

Cloud-delivered Centralized Management, Reporting and Analytics
To streamline the management of multiple security devices within the hybrid mesh firewall, many enterprises use cloud-delivered (SaaS) centralized management and orchestration tools. These tools simplify tasks such as deployment, configuration, monitoring, auditing, reporting and analytics. By providing a unified view of the entire network security posture, these tools enable real-time monitoring and reporting. They also facilitate automated responses to security incidents across the entire IT landscape. This includes securing corporate locations, private and public cloud assets, sanctioned and unsanctioned SaaS applications, BYOD, guest services, and remote workers. With these tools, enterprises can effectively manage their security infrastructure more efficiently and comprehensively.

Firewall Features
A hybrid mesh firewall should be capable of packet filtering, access control and stateful inspection capabilities to monitor and control incoming and outgoing network, user and application traffic based on predefined rules and policies. This helps prevent unauthorized access and protects against common threats like malware, phishing and denial-of-service (DoS) attacks.

Advanced Security Services
Besides firewall functionalities, a hybrid mesh firewall can incorporate advanced security features. These include deep packet inspection (DPI), application visibility and control, intrusion prevention, antivirus, and signature-based threat detection. Additionally, it may feature SSL/TLS decryption and inspection, sandboxing, and threat intelligence integration. These advanced capabilities enable the firewall to identify and mitigate sophisticated threats, such as zero-day exploits, advanced persistent threats (APT) and targeted attacks unknown to a firewall.

Scalability and Flexibility
One of the advantages of a hybrid mesh firewall is its scalability and flexibility. Organizations can easily expand their network infrastructures and adapt to evolving security requirements. This can be done by adding or upgrading individual security devices within the mesh architecture. The deployment can also evolve with modern cloud-native or client-based enforcement points for emerging use cases. Scaling up and down depending on changing requirements can be done without disrupting the policy and management experience. Additionally, the hybrid mesh firewall supports Network Operations Center (NOC) and Security Operations Center (SOC) automation/playbooks and access control rules.

How Can SonicWall Help?

SonicWall enables you to adopt a hybrid mesh firewall approach with:

Unified Platform for Management and Orchestration with SonicPlatform
SonicPlatform is our latest innovative cybersecurity platform, unifying all SonicWall products under one interface. This platform represents a significant stride toward a more integrated, efficient and secure management ecosystem for SonicWall’s diverse product suite. It not only streamlines management tasks, it also fosters deep integration — enabling the sharing of contextual information across all enforcement points within the product family and with third-party vendors.

Ease of Use and Zero-Touch Deployment with SaaS Management
Along with a unified experience, cloud-delivered management offers the ability to onboard and manage dozens or hundreds of firewalls of all types and for all use cases. Managing any number of firewalls is easy with zero-touch deployment, simple configuration wizards, built-in and audit-ready reporting, federated security policies, fleet management, custom templates, auto-upgrade, and more.

Flexible Deployment Options
SonicWall has provided network security solutions to MSPs/MSSPs, distributed enterprises, governments and SMBs worldwide for over 30 years. In that time, the company has shipped more than three million of its firewalls, including:

  • SOHO and TZ Series firewalls for SMBs and branch/internet edge use cases
  • NSa Series for midsize enterprises and campus deployments
  • NSsp Series for large enterprises and data center deployments
  • NSv Series virtual firewalls for hybrid and multi-cloud environments.

Customers have the flexibility to deploy NSv firewalls on AWS and Azure public/government clouds and protect private cloud workloads on VMware ESXi, Microsoft Hyper-V, Nutanix, and KVM. And our recent acquisition of Banyan Security, a proven cloud platform specializing in identity-centric Secure Service Edge (SSE) and Zero Trust Network Access, has expanded our cloud protection capabilities even further.

Superior Threat Protection with Advanced Security Services and Global Threat Intelligence
SonicWall’s hybrid mesh firewall delivers a much deeper level of security across wired and wireless networks. It inspects every byte of every packet while maintaining high performance and low latency. This is achieved through TLS decryption and inspection capabilities, as well as IPS capabilities with advanced anti-evasion technology. Additionally, it provides a network-based malware protection solution with the power of cloud sandboxing. The firewall also features our patented Real-Time Deep Memory Inspection (RTDMI™) and patented single-pass, low latency, Reassembly-Free Deep Packet Inspection (RFDPI) engines.

Lower TCO, Investment Protection and Flexible Consumption Model
SonicWall offers best-in-class threat prevention performance with all security services enabled, and is one of the select vendors in this space offering the ability to deploy platforms in highly available environments without additional licenses needed. SonicWall also offers flexible consumption models with license portability, a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) licensing model in cloud marketplaces, a credit-based consumption model with FlexSpend, a customer loyalty program that allows customers to refresh to our latest offerings and migrate existing licenses, and monthly billing options for MSPs and MSSPs.

A hybrid mesh firewall offers a balanced approach to network security by combining the strengths of network firewalls with advanced security technologies — creating policy enforcement points in a mesh architecture using a cloud-delivered platform approach. This robust and flexible solution safeguards an organization’s networks against a wide range of cyber threats, reducing the impact of the cybersecurity skills gap, inconsistent policies, and variable levels of management experience. If you’d like to explore the possibilities of hybrid mesh firewall protection, get in touch with your SonicWall partner or contact us here.

Chirag Saxena
Vice President, Product Management | SonicWall
Chirag Saxena is the Vice President of Product Management at SonicWall. He has over 15 years of experience in cybersecurity product management, sales engineering and customer experience. He has led large, high-performing teams and driven diverse functional groups and matrixed organizations to a common goal. Chirag joined SonicWall to position the Network and Access Security portfolio for success; continue to expand offerings to cater to niche and emerging use cases; and offer a cybersecurity platform, flexible consumption model, and suites and bundles to SonicWall customers and partners.