Fortinet FortiMail Review

User-friendly, multi-platform, easy to setup and troubleshoot


What is our primary use case?

The primary use case for this solution is for filtering emails, internally and for external emails. We have part with Office 365 and the other is hosted inside. We have monitoring and certain policies regarding emails, both in sending and receiving them. 

The deployment Model is on-premises using a virtual machine.

What is most valuable?

This a user-friendly solution.

Troubleshooting is very simple because you can see where the email was not delivered and why it would be considered as spam. For the IT team, it is important, because when they are asked by management why their email was not sent or why was this email that was sent to me was considered as spam, they have the details that are needed to explain why. 

It is much better than IronPort for Cisco and Websense. 

For now, as per our experience with FortiMail in handling a large number of emails and spams as well, in the past three years, we have been protected and saved from any attacks from the outside. This is one of the main reasons we will continue to use FortiMail.

What needs improvement?

The dashboard is small, it doesn't have a huge dashboard that you can rely on, you need another application to work with it, which is why they created FortiAnalyzer. This allows you to dig deeper if you want details. For example, it would tell you from which domain, to what domain, and what are the triggers that have been used to classify this email. These are all extra features, it is not an all in one.

Some of the dashboards found in the FortiAnalyzer could be improved. For the basics, the solution covers it. 

An additional feature that could be added is a pop-up screen notifying you that an email has been blocked, without having to double click on it to take you there it could provide you with a summary explaining why it was on hold or why was it spam when you hover over it with your cursor.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This solution is very stable. I don't remember the last time that I had to restart the server.

This is the main mail filter, for our entire company.

They are different, not of the same email. One for Office 365 and the other is Lotus and other mail services.

Not only one service in our system, but it is configured on that one main filter using different platforms, acting as the main suitor for FortiMail.

There are approximately five hundred users, with two administrators and three at the help desk. They can do minor duties such as releasing emails, but not going into why were the emails blocked. They help to release emails that are blocked for users, who cannot release them on their own. We do, however, have limited system privileges for the administrators.

The administrators maintain the solution. The administrators will search for new firmware, find the new releases, and whether it is beneficial or not needed.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This solution is scalable at the start. You don't have any boundaries for upgrading or downgrading.

The Virtual Machine can hold as much as you want, but of course, every Virtual Machine has its capacity. You cannot take the capacity that is needed now, but rather, you have to think forward. For example, maybe now you have twenty emails, but next year we're going to have fifty emails more, and you end up with seventy, so now you reach one hundred.

While every Virtual Machine has its limitations, the limitation of every Virtual Machine is large.

We do not plan to increase usage.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support was good. They are perfect.

The support is open and support is with FortiGate. They always reply and they are always there to support you within an hour, at the maximum. 

Everything will be shown in your inbox. 

We develop our products, and we do our troubleshooting without relying on the support.

If we reach a stage where we can't do anything more, then we contact support. It has been approximately two years since we last contacted them.

If you previously used a different solution, which one did you use and why did you switch?

Previously we used a different solution. We switched to FortiMail because our old solution was not good, or stable.

We used many solutions before, including Sophos Email, and when you have a good experience with a product you will not go back to the old products or switch to other products unless there are big advantages.

Emails were not accurate, some emails on the first day were in your inbox and another day, they are quarantined, and then other days they were not being delivered.

There were limitations in the configuration and troubleshooting. 

We have always had SLAs, but not with the company, it was with the brand. For example, we had support from Cisco and Sophos between one and three years.

We directly open cases with them. Two cases were not closed. I had completed my troubleshooting and solved the issue, while they were not able to solve it. 

Cisco was too complicated, not user-friendly, and not designed for emails in that complex environment. For an easier environment, they were fine, but, not for a complex environment, with different main servers, and different platforms.

Cisco is also more expensive than others. I don't know why, especially now, with technology in the hands of every brand.

Cisco is not the one and only, but now, it is the last and only.

This is why we are no longer using Cisco. We did have a good experience with Cisco. Everything was tested. I asked the suppliers, the brand owners in the region, to come over to see us. I didn't just go to Fortinet FortiMail directly.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward.

The deployment time varies depending on if you are doing research, or if you are going to post on your site regarding FortiMail. If it is one domain it will take one day, or if it is for ten domains that have to be checked on to see the main flow and to see everything, it can take anywhere from one to three days.

We had only one staff member for the deployment of this solution.

To have it fully deployed and for fine-tuning, it will need ten working days. At some points, there is mail that you receive and not able to detect them, for example, all of the mail you are getting are spam or are getting quarantined or they are not quarantined, they are just trespassing in, you need approximately ten days. It's similar to machine learning, where you can learn your emails and how they flow. 

Simply put, the implementation is one to three days and for fine-tuning, it is ten days.

What about the implementation team?

We used the reseller and the technical people to work with us, but the configurations and the policies are from my recommendation.

The resellers are awesome!

What was our ROI?

The time needed for troubleshooting before was reduced by at least 80%. This allowed us to focus on other applications as well, not only the web filter, email filter, and applications for the firewall. 

We have taken away some applications that we used to monitor our network with, as they were offered in FortiGate, so we no longer needed them.

Many areas helped us in reduced costs, not only in the administration in these areas, but in replacing other services that we used to buy. For example, If you want to have wireless access points so that people can access on their mobiles, we would have had to purchase a radio-server and an expensive wireless access point which was needed together. 

Access points that would cost between sixty and eighty dollars, you can have them with FortiGate on a switch, allowing you to monitor all of these from the FortiGate. 

You have all of the security, you can create your policies and you can do all the measurement and shaping and applications of vision monitoring. Everything can be done through FortiGate.

These are some of the advantages that FortiGate have over all the others. 

It's multi-platform. 

As long as you work more on the configuration and you dig deep inside the policies, you can reach huge worlds, and the security layers, not seven, layer eight and nine because intelligence and security are there. 

You have all it backs-up with the company. So yes, several things have been changed and replaced.

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

We are satisfied with the pricing of this solution.

Licenses are based on everyone's needs. If you don't need the full bundle that includes everything, you have options for the small or medium enterprise environments.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I was doing both the evaluating and testing. 

I had researched the internet for the leaders.

I did not go with Gartner as they pay to gain leadership. I went to other sources. I went to reviews, and I opened cases in everyone. I evaluated Barracuda, IronPort Cisco, Sophos, FortiMail and Websense.

I evaluated every one of the five brands and it took five months of testing all brands before we made the decision to go with FortiMail. We chose FortiMail because they passed all of the tests. The POC was for one month.

What other advice do I have?

Emails are dangerous to deal with. You need backdoors for all people, You don't have any control over it because you are not the person who's dealing with emails for the employees.

Everyone is dealing with their own emails. In order to secure your emails, you need to secure your employees and the emails that are trespassing into your environment.

You need to find a solution that not only scans emails, but you also need to have some artificial intelligence for the machine learning for emails.

That's what FortiMail is doing. 

FortiMail is flexible, straightforward, and easy to troubleshoot. This is key, for  IT, they need to troubleshoot easily, and need to know why and how this was done. 

FortiMail is one of the important applications that can provide us what we require, as well as, being able to delegate your troubleshooting and your administration with many players or many, team members in IT. There are some that can do it while others cannot.

You should test before you decide to own a product. Don't rely on people saying, that it's the best product I have. You should know what your business is working with. There are no best practices in IT. There is what the business needs in IT.

The best practices that are there, are by the books, but the business may require different paths than the books and the best practices they tell you. So, always test. Know why and what you need the services for and don't buy everything, because you will not have time to be working on all of them.

If you have things set up straightforwardly, and it is fast to configure, then, yes, these products are good for you. The differences are, the experience and stability of these products, and how far you can go with the policies. This is what I have learned, not only from FortiMail but from all the solutions we're working with.

Never put your business and IT aside. They should collaborate and align together.

Overall, this is a good and reliable application.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

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