Fortinet FortiSwitch - Secure Access Review

Easy to use, good network visibility, and is able to isolate compromising devices, but the network management needs improvement


What is our primary use case?

We use this solution for access-level connectivity for phones and computers. Using it as an access point to connect to the switches directly for their POE.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is that I can completely isolate devices that are compromising the network. 

I get all of my analytics from the FortiGate point of view. I have FortiGate, FortiAnalyzer, and FortiManager for all of my analytics. The analytics are collected from the switch and everything that is connected to the switch. I get a physical view of every single device that is connected to every point in my network.

I love the view, because I know which computer is connecting to what access point, as well as which computer or node is connecting to what switch and to what port. 

What needs improvement?

I don't like the way it's managed. For some of the smaller switches that we have, I was not able to log into it and manage it. I am not sure if it is something that I am missing or something that I am not doing correctly or if this applies to all switches. 

It had to be managed through the FortiGate firewall appliance, which to me is one of the downsides.

I am not sure if they have management outside of FortiGate itself.

The switches should have the capability to be managed without having to connect to FortiGate. You might have clients who are using Cisco or other solutions who would have to use FortiGate at the access level but won't be able to log in into the switch, then it would be completely useless to them and it becomes unmanaged.

There is no console port and nothing in the default IP that could help with this issue. I checked online and there was nothing available.

The dashboards are easy but a bit cloggy. The more switches that you connect the more cloggy it becomes.

For how long have I used the solution?

We started using this solution three months ago.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This solution is stable. I love it!

I don't have to do anything. I can just see it from the FortiView, and I can point it out.

I never have issues. I don't even need to do many analytical watches, it makes life very easy.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This solution is scalable. We are a small site running only three switches, but from what I have heard, it's pretty easy to scale because of the looping feature. It uplinks and can automatically be used from your management console. I haven't done a big system, so I don't know what that would be like.

My entire company is running on Fortinet, and we have two people managing the entire environment for over forty users.

How are customer service and technical support?

Fortinet support is fantastic, except for the morning hours. Morning hours, my time, they are very slow. I am GMT+3. Anything after three in the afternoon is very fast.

The support is generally fantastic. You can call them or write to them and they always give you a solution.

The KB online is on point.

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

Previously we were with Cisco, but we were already using FortiMail and received the distribution for Fortinet. We purchase Fortinet firewalls.

The firewall and the mail were already working for us, so we thought that would just do everything with Fortinet. Then we can use our company to demonstrate what Fortinet has to offer.

We have multifactor authentication running on Fortinet, FortiAnalyer, and FortiManager.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward, it was pretty easy. Anyone can do it.

It took fifteen minutes to deploy.

What about the implementation team?

I implemented this solution and did not use an integrator or a vendor.

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

It's affordable and there are no additional costs, just regular support, and license fees.

What other advice do I have?

I am working on a roadmap to ensure that everything is running on a Secure Access and not just from the switches. I am currently working on introducing SSO and Active Directory. It's going to be extensive, where everything will be running on a secure level. 

This solution is affordable, it makes sense, and it's easy to manage so it saves you time in both practice and in technical training. You don't have to train anyone to work with Secure Access. If you are going to invest in training, just invest in the training for FortiGate. After that, your environment is good to go because everything else is self-explanatory and easy on the interface for the Secure Access and all of Fortinet solutions.

It makes economic and security sense for any organization that is intending to deploy this kind of solution. I wish that it had come sooner.

There are several switches that I have looked at, and when I am looking at the capabilities of other switches there is still much to be discovered on Fortinet. They don't have all of the capabilities, especially when it comes to the throughput.

I would rate this solution a six out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

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