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4 min read

What Is a Managed Firewall and How Much Does It Cost?

Imagine a bouncer standing at the door of a nightclub allowing or denying access to those who want to enter. That's what your firewall does on your network – it stands at the entrance of your network, inspecting the traffic to make sure it’s allowed in.

You may not think about your firewall often, but it's a key layer of the cyber defenses you need to keep your people, data, and network safe.

There are countless manufacturers and models of firewalls to choose from, but if you have the option to lease one from your IT services provider, having a managed firewall might be a better option.

In this article, you’ll learn:

What’s a Managed Firewall?

The difference between purchasing your own firewall or having a managed firewall comes down to whether you want it to be a capital expense every 3 - 5 years, and if you’re okay with the added expense of paying for licensing.

With a managed firewall, you’re leasing the equipment instead of purchasing it outright.

Your IT team’s expertise will also make a big difference in whether you get all the benefits out of your firewall or not.

Let's dig into these points and explore the benefits of having a managed firewall.


Managed Firewall


Type of Expense

Operating Expense

Capital Expense

License Renewal Fees


Purchased annually for the life of the device ($1,000-$2,000/year)



Included if it fails during the management term

Purchased separately if it fails beyond the manufacturer’s warranty

Refresh Cycle

Leased equipment is refreshed every 5 years. Cost may remain the same if it’s the same or comparable model

New hardware purchase every 5 years

Management & Support

Your IT services provider is responsible for all management and support

Management and support are your responsibility



One-time installation $1,400-$2,000

Equipment purchase $1,000-$10,000

One-time installation $1,400-$2,000

Annual licensing renewal $1,000-$2,000/yr

At VC3, we support our clients whether they have a managed firewall or not. When it’s time for a client to replace their firewall, we talk about their options and make sure they have all the facts – including why we prefer some manufacturers and models over others, and how much it will cost to purchase their own firewall compared to managed firewall costs.

3 Benefits of Managed Firewalls

1. No Hardware to Buy

With a managed firewall, you're leasing the equipment. That means that your managed IT services provider is taking all of the responsibility for making sure that it works as intended. If there's a problem, they fix it.

They're also going to make sure that the model you get is the one that's going to work the best with your IT environment.

2. No License Renewal Fees

When you purchase your own device, you’ll have to pay an annual license renewal fee, which is typically between $1,000 and $2,000.

With a managed firewall service, the annual licensing costs are covered by the provider. Ongoing maintenance and replacement become the least of your worries.

3. Access to Firewall and Cyber Security Specialists

When you deploy managed firewall services, your IT department should know how to professionally implement, manage, and maintain your firewall system. This means your IT team must include cyber security experts, which can be quite costly.

When you work with a managed security services provider like VC3, you get access to an entire team of IT professionals who are well versed in the intricacies of firewall management. Since it's all they do, these experts can identify serious vulnerabilities that would have otherwise gone undetected, leaving your network exposed.

How Inexperience with Firewalls Causes Network Vulnerabilities

A firewall isn't just a plug-and-play piece of equipment. Not only does it need to be configured properly, it needs attention as it detects and responds to threats.

We’ve encountered many situations where the firewall is being managed by an internal IT employee who doesn’t have sufficient training or experience to understand the intricacies of firewall management. Their main focus was to keep everyone up and running, and sometimes that unintentionally resulted in careless and risky firewall configurations. This left the business vulnerable to intrusions.

Managed Firewall Pricing

Pricing depends on the size of your business and how many people are connected to your network.

Whatever your environment, you can expect to pay around $150 to $300 per month for managed firewall services. That monthly cost includes keeping the software updated, licensing costs, making sure it's operating as it should be, and determining what responses are needed when the firewall detects unfamiliar network traffic.

There may also be a one-time labor charge to install the equipment and transition your network over to the new technology, which is usually around $1,400 per installation.

Managed Security Services for California Organizations

At VC3, we support our clients' needs for cyber security with a comprehensive team of professionals who work together to plan and implement strategies that give executives confidence that they're doing all they can to manage risk.

If you're wondering - or if you know for sure - that you have gaps in security, don't lose another night's sleep. Contact us for a Risk and Security Assessment.

Let's talk about how VC3 can help you AIM higher.