Review: Fortinet's FortiGate-200A

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Review: Fortinet's FortiGate-200A

Fortinet’s FortiGate is another product that has not changed much since we last saw it. This device focuses on three layers of protection: first is a firewall and VPN; the second layer is IPS/IDS; and the final layer is securing content from viruses and spyware, web filtering and IM and P2P blocking.

We find this product to be of average ease of use. While deployment and installation are quite simple and the appliance is installed in the environment in just a few minutes, configuration is quite a process.

There is no wizard to help and everything, including firewall rules, needs to be set up manually via the web-based GUI. This leaves the configuration open to human error as well as involving a lot of trial and error. Policy configuration itself is kind of difficult, and we had some trouble getting the initial policy in place.

That said, this appliance offers a lot of performance capability. Since everything is fully customisable from the start, there are fewer problems with tweaking and already established default policy and rule sets. This offers a great amount of flexibility and gives the ability to have a machine calibrated just the way you want it.

There are several guides available for this appliance. First is the quick-start guide, which comes as a handy fold-out card that describes both deployment options and initial setup steps. Other documentation offered are an administrator guide, user manual and various smaller guides that go more into depth on certain features such as the command-line interface and VPN configuration. All guides are available on a provided CD in PDF format and include many screenshots and configuration examples.

Included with the purchase of the product is office-hour phone and email support, while 24/7 support is available with a support plan. Users can also access a knowledge base and support portal that includes update downloads and other helpful information.

With a price just above US$4,000 this product is an average value for money. While it does offer a very comprehensive feature set, it is for the experienced administrator and even some may have a bit of troubleshooting to do. Also, most of the analysis capabilities require the FortiAnalyzer, which is sold as a separate device.

For: Fully customisable and flexible UTM with some good features
Against: Difficult to configure
Verdict: A competent UTM appliance that needs another product to fully realise its potential

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