I'm personally very happy with my ZoneAlarm Pro/NAV CE combo (though I also have a hardware firewall... my ZA is just an extra precaution). I've used NIS before, but I wasn't very happy with it. Granted, the setup is fairly simple and maintenance is a piece of cake, with the automatic LiveUpdate, etc., but I just didn't feel that it performed how I wanted it to. Also, I did not like the log. I have one license of MCS ZoneLog Analyser I use over my network to keep track of all of my ZoneAlarm logs, and I feel that it does exactly what I want/need. I also tried some of Norton's enterprise firewall programs, but was not too thrilled about those either. If I were you, I'd just try out a few different firewalls and see what you like most.
I prefer Sygate
I used Zonealarm until recently when I tried the free version of Sygate. I find that Sygate is geared towards the more knowledgable computer users. While both work, as does Norton's firewall, I like the logs that Sygate produces and the automatic shutoff to IP addresses that are scanning your system. Also, as an added plus, the program does a great job in catching worms before they can do any damage (and before they can be caught by Norton AV). There is a computer security web page that was in my list of favorites. I tried to access it, and was immediately notified by Sygate that the Nimda worm was attempting to access my system. Sygate quickly shutdown access to the site.
Just a thought -- if all computer users had Sygate, then the Nimda worm probably wouldn't have spread as much as it did.
zone alarm is a good firewall, except like yanksfan said it eats of cpu and ram. it was killing my system resources and i had to delete it, but that was just because i put it on an older machine. Its a great firewall if you have the room. as for NIS, im yet to try that out.
I've been using Norton for a little over a year and a half. I've been very happy with it. I tried Zone Alarm briefly and found it was too resource hungry.
Norton is pretty easy to install and configure. It seems to catch just about anything that is thrown at it, although it can be quite stubborn if you want to disable it when it pops up a violation warning.
The liveupdate feature is great, no maintainence required. The logging is quite detailed as are the rules features. I've never tried the content blocking feature, so I can't comment on it. The only thing I would say is a concern, although not a great one, is that it keeps track of the sites you visit. Obviously an important feature for a firewall, but if you share the computer with someone else it would be easy to use the feature to see where other people are visiting, or have them see where you have been.
just another opinion...
I think Zone Alarm is good for peeps who are not too 'puter literate or prefer something that works without too much tweaking (once you get past the usual list of pop ups). And of course it's free for home use.
I like Nortons for the ability to beable to customize down to the ports level. Norton's is usually too complicated for most of the home users I've setup and helped, and of course it's not free.
I personally like Sygate and Tiny firewall both, though I like Sygate a lil more.
If you want some more info and maybe some charts to help you make your choice (most peeps love 'em charts, heh)... check out http://www.firewallguide.com/
Have fun and good luck. Keep in mind most of the firewalls are really comparable as far as effectiveness, it really all boils down to how complex you want it and what looks good to ya, which you won't know til you've tried 'em all ~~what fun~~ ;)
in my opinion they bolth suck. You may have better luck though. I am more of an outpost kindof guy