Fortinet FortiGate Review

Stable with good pricing and fairly easy to use

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution as a hardware firewall. In China, there's a lot of content that would be available in the West that isn't allowed here. We're able to block certain content from getting through filters.

What is most valuable?

The solution offers a very good package for all kinds of virtual appliances, subscriptions, and so on. It's a reasonable price. It's not too much.

The services on offer are just superb. 

The way it can block certain content is very useful for us. It gives you a good heads up as to what streams are being blocked from the network, which helps with visibility.

The simplicity of the product is great. It's very easy to use, which is a compliment we get all the time in terms of feedback.

There seems to be good reporting features. 

The scalability is there. If you need to expand the product, you can.

The menu structure is more logical than, for example, Cisco or SonicWall. I find that the Fortinet is easier to understand in terms of the installation process and setup. 

What needs improvement?

The only problem that we have here in China is that the whole subscription process on Fortinet is a little bit difficult if you are doing it from China. China has kind of a firewall around the country, and we sometimes have complications due to that aspect.

As a whole, I don't think that the product is actually missing any features.

You do need some IT knowledge in order to effectively work with the solution.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been working with the solution since about 2016. It's been a few years at this point.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is very stable. There aren't issues with bugs or glitches. It doesn't crash or freeze. It's very reliable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is good. You can expand it as needed and add on extra apps to add in extra functionality if you want to.

We mostly deal with mid-range companies. 

How are customer service and technical support?

I only talk with people here in China that are the Chinese sellers or distributors from Fortinet. They are Chinese and I don't speak or understand one single character Chinese. So for me, it's very difficult to communicate with technical support. Most of the time, I let them talk with one of the people who I know who is fluent in English and Chinese. That's what I do. 

Most of the time, I can do all the research on the internet to see what kind of device I need and then I get a translator and we figure it out.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We only use Fortinet's FortiGate for our hardware firewall protection.

However, if our clients need extra security, we may add other brands and security layers. We also work with SonicWall, Checkpoint, and Barracuda, for example.

I've also worked with pfSense, which is free, however, it has much more of a do-it-yourself approach. It's also quite different from other solutions. If you have Cisco experience, you'll be able to navigate Fortinet, whereas pfSense requires much more in-depth study. It has its own language, basically. That's one of the reasons you won't find too many of its configurations in China.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup, for me, at least, is very straightforward. It's just a few clicks and you're set up. It may be a bit more complex for someone else who may not be as familiar with the product.

What about the implementation team?

I have partners that assist with the initial setup and I have network engineers who are doing the job for me. They are working for me as they are my employees. As their boss, of course, I have to know a little bit about how to handle it as well. We handle the implementation process for our clients. We implement it according to ISO and Chinese security standards.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The solution is pretty affordable. It's not overly expensive. It's not like Cisco where you pay an awful lot of money mostly for the name.

There are extra apps you can add to the product, however, those come with an extra price tag as well. That said, it allows you to do more things and expands its capabilities.

I like to use Fortinet due to the fact that with the device you can do so much more, it's not only web filtering. If you decide to use it for something else, you just pay some money to Fortinet for another package and you are good to go. It makes it a little bit easier for small or large companies as it's so flexible in its offering. 

In China, due to business constraints, licensing is quite complicated here.

What other advice do I have?

I'm a service provider in China. Basically, I'm connecting companies, foreign companies or Chinese companies, or even foreign public services to business VPNs or business cross border interconnections.

Whether we use the latest version of the solution or not depends on the client, their needs, and the environment. If a client needs more security, we may even layer in other brands to help with that.

We tend to keep deployments on-premises as you can run into issues with using the cloud in China. We prefer to have it on-premises and then bring lines in to hook everything up. It's simpler and there are fewer issues.

In general, I would rate the solution at a ten out of ten. We've just been pleased with the product and the ease of use.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Integrator
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