Fortinet FortiNAC Review

Enhances the Security Fabric with visibility, control, and automated response for everything that connects to the network & protection against IoT threats extending control to third-party devices.

What is our primary use case?

I was certified in FortiNAC (Part of Fortinet-NSE6) last year and I've personally implemented FortiNAC in three organizations. We work as a team with people who have expertise in different areas and Vendors and have exposure to different infrastructures.

FortiNAC scans your network to discover every user, application, and device (IOT), With up to 18 different techniques, it can then profile each element based on observed characteristics and responses for granular visibility - We then apply state-based control(eth0 VLAN switching) and Policy based control rules for access control and response.

Anyone (Domain users, Contractors, guests, etc) wanting to connect to the network has to be accessed by the NAC. Users come in at different times and some may be working from branches or home through a VPN and they will be authenticated in the same way with different privileges on the Network.

So it has to run 24/7. It's authenticating users all the time. We are gold partners with FortiNac. 

What is most valuable?

There are quite a number of things that are valuable about this solution. Having dealt with Cisco ISE, I realize that FortiNAC is different in a way that gives you granular visibility of the entire network infrastructure related to IOT devices (Who, What, When, Which information). It's helpful that you can know what's going on from your phone, your tablet, and from home. The solution provides containment, reporting and security event-alarm mapping and saves log and carries out further analysis for cyber thefts. It really is a good solution.

What needs improvement?

I've realized that one of the issues is the need to use agents. For instance, if a domain user has to authenticate on the network via FSSO or Certificate management he has to have a persistent agent.

The admin UI is not that good. It could be better matched and more friendly to use and it cannot work as a RADIUS server. You have to have a RADIUS server which means bringing in a FortiAuthenticator to build it.

The other thing would probably be the visibility granular. For example, when I have a user at a particular branch, I can't tell what SSIDs they are connected to. I only have the IP addresses so if the wireless controller is integrated with FortiNAc, you're going to realize that you won't be able to know whether a particular person is connected, that an AP is connected to a particular SSID, is connected to. . .  etc. It only gives you the IP addresses, Host names, etc. That has to be improved and am sure it will be in the next build version. 

Additional features, would be an agentless link and adopters - online, offline adopters - it picks the IP's, the host names, the layer 3 information, layer 2 information, what's connected. And also to give different privileges, best rule privileges to users. 

VLAN Interswitching (state based controls) could be quicker when doing the process flow from different sorts of authentication. When it comes to guests or contractors, you don't want to use a dissolvable agents. It dissolves in the process of downloading, but it takes longer and that could be improved.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for a year and a half. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

FortiNAC is Pretty stable. We initially had a couple of troubleshooting issues in the deployments but we worked them out and it's fine now and has pretty good Visibility across the Network for every device, application and user, extend Control of the Network to third-party products and automated responsiveness.

You won't find so many NAC solutions like it. I mean it's granular, you will see a lot that you need to ask. It will give you all the controls you need and it has event alarm mapping, - I mean "you can't control what you can't see"

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is very scalable, you can have as many features and access points as you want. as you have. It depends on the licenses, but you can have as many IoT devices (Switches, routers, Firewals, WLC, etc) as you want and as many features as you want. You can have visibility to all the ports of the switches on the NAC, you can easily see  Who, What, When, Which information then control and respond

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is good. You create a ticket and within that ticket you explain what challenges you're facing. They assign you an engineer who'll help solve the issue. It's pretty easy and straight forward and they're always there to help. 

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup is pretty easy. If you're doing a VM setup, you do the registration on the Fortinet portal, and then you set the IP addresses. I think it's pretty good when you're implementing it the first time, it's very easy but when you get to tests, which are the UAT's, you're most likely to have a few issues that you need to be aware of.

Deployment time depends on the kind of customer. For example, the current implementation I'm doing has an assessing vendor. 90% of the network is wireless and 10% is cabled in network. They have more than 80 access features, more than 80 routers, and two wireless controllers. They have a number of databases and different firewalls - to use that fountain it slows things down. You're also dealing with Domain users, contractors and Guests in different locations. Obviously this will take more time than a project with less infrastructure devices. It really depends on the nature of the infrastructure.

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

There is a base license level which pretty much gives you topologies and groupings automation/control, etc. When it comes to policies, it's only going to give you user host profiling and network access. If you're looking for endpoint compliance, integrations, Incidence response and reporting, then you have to go for an Plus or PRO license.

What other advice do I have?

You need to think about what you need as a company. There are so many government institutions, so many corporate institutions in the world that want to protect their networks. People have different privileges within a network, an instructor cannot have the same privileges as a normal user and the guest. We have guests coming onto our network, contractors coming to work at different times on the network, the main users who are working in different departments and who shouldn't have access to some platforms. When it comes to authentication you need to make sure you're protected from all kinds of threats. You have different products, Vendors and divices that all need to be controlled. If something goes off you need to know where and why. 

I would rate this product a eight out of 10. It's still evolving. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?


Which version of this solution are you currently using?

8.3 - 8.7
**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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