Fortinet FortiGate Review

Easy to set up, make policies; the switches automatically get policies from the firewall

What is our primary use case?

I am using it as an IPS, intrusion protection system.

How has it helped my organization?

The first benefit is the cost. It is very affordable.

Also, it's very easy to set up, it's very easy to make policies and, for an organization, that means you don't need IT expert in firewalls. You just need to have somebody who knows a little bit of IT, and that's it. With other products, you need someone with a "Masters" degree in firewalls.

What is most valuable?

It's a complete solution. You can purchase switches and you don't need to do anything with them. You just put in the firewall and the switches get all the policies and rules that you already have in the firewall. That's a very nice feature because with, for example, Cisco, you need to set the switch, you need to set the firewall, and you need to test it. With Fortinet, you just connect the FortiSwitch to the Fortinet and that's it. It's very easy.

In the last version of the FortiOS - the operating system of the firewall - they put a lot of new features to support communications in a firewall. Whatever the communication that you have, you can put that in the firewall, and that's great.

What needs improvement?

For me, at this time, it's very complete.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is very good. I have no problems right now with any of my customers. I haven't had a call from a customer in about three months, other than to make new policies. That's it. They are not complaining about the Fortinet, that it is damaged or something like that.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is very good. We just did a quote for a university here that has about 25,000 students, and all the solutions that we put in the RFP, they were accepted. The only thing is the cost. As far wanting more scalability or things in the network diagram, it's going to cost you.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is very good. If you have any questions, they have a forum and, apart from the forum, depending on the FortiGate that you purchased, they have very good support from second-line engineers. Whatever your problem is, you call and at least you get a callback.

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

I was using a SonicWall. The problem with SonicWall is that they were purchased by Dell, and apparently, Dell is not putting any research money into the devices. That is the reason I changed because there are a lot of new things, new generation firewall technologies and they are not using them. Also, apparently, the price is very high right now. If you compare the price with a FortiGate, which has a lot of additional features, it's not worth it.

When selecting a vendor the most important criteria are support and cost.

How was the initial setup?

Setup is very straightforward.

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

Pricing is good. They offer a lot of things, the most important is the support. Every time you upgrade your license, you also get insurance for the equipment. If you have any problem with equipment, they send in new equipment.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did a total cost of ownership analysis against Sophos and also Palo Alto, but that was out of scope, it was too expensive. Another one was WatchGuard. When you start looking at the cost of the license for all the things that you get, Fortinet is by far the best option. The problem with the other companies is the licensing.

What other advice do I have?

I rate FortiGate a 10 because every time I need to use the support, they are there. There were times when I went to a customer to give support, I called Cisco, they pass me to Brazil, and on another call, they passed me to India. After I gave the guy in India all this information for an hour, he asked me, "What's the problem?" So there was a communication issue with them and they don't know the problems very well. With Fortinet, they are in the US, not in India.

Do a total cost of ownership analysis with all the features you are looking for and, based on that, make the purchase. Also, reviews are very important.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.

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