Review: FortiGate-300A

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Review: FortiGate-300A

We found this product reasonably simple to use. The web interface is easy to navigate and is laid out in an organised manner. But configuring the ports properly and setting up the initial configuration and policies was a little confusing.

We found this product reasonably simple to use. The web interface is easy to navigate and is laid out in an organised manner. But configuring the ports properly and setting up the initial configuration and policies was a little confusing.

This is not a “plug it in and turn it on” product – it requires some time to learn how to get the most out of it. But the documentation is helpful and, after working with the box for a while, we found it easier to configure.

This device has all the features one expects in a multi-function appliance. It comes with a firewall, VPN, traffic shaping, and virtual domain functions as the base, and can then be further customised with subscription services such as anti-virus and anti-spyware, web content filters, intrusion prevention and anti-spam.

It is also well-integrated. All its features are brought together under a single, intuitive web interface. The appliance does its own reporting, but further analysis is done by a separate box known as the Forti-Analyzer. We found that for large implementations this extra piece is a must, because the FortiGate does not do analysis. That said, it performs very well overall as a protection product.

Documentation is well-organised and clear. The quickstart guide provided with the unit is specific and easy to understand. It offers several different setup options and shows how to configure the unit using both the web and the command line interface. Other documents included are the install guide, which details the complete configuration and installation of the appliance, and a configuration example that shows best practices for deploying it.

Support offered by Fortinet is by way of both email and phone. Updates for anti-virus and other subscription services are also available. However, updates are not free, support coverage must be purchased for each appliance, and support is tied explicitly to serial numbers.

The FortiGate-300A is a flexible multi-function appliance with an average price tag. We found that, for the money, it is average value.

However, with the subscription fees, support services and overall maintenance of the device itself, the £10,519 price tag grows very rapidly, making the actual cost of ownership even higher.

For: Well-integrated, comprehensive appliance.
Against: Average value for the overall cost of ownership.
Verdict: A competent appliance that covers all the bases of a full-featured UTM. But the cost of ownership might deter smaller organisations with limited security budgets.

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