Strengths: Very easy to deploy and manage and provides very clear logs and reports.
Weaknesses: Annual subscription required for services such as IPS and anti-virus. Some limited difficulties with reporting and the web management interface.
Verdict: Respectable IPS capabilities at a good price.
The FortiGate-300A is a fullfunction front-end system for protecting a network in a way that goes far beyond intrusion prevention. It also has a built-in firewall and anti-virus protection as well as web filtering. Each port on the unit can be firewalled with specific rules and policies, allowing protected VLANs and isolated networks to be created.
The 300A is a very intuitive product to set up and manage. Deployment is quick and easy, so the network is not interrupted for long. Once its ports are set up and a few simple configuration steps are completed, this device begins to monitor and protect the network. We did find it a little complicated working with the web interface at first, and also had minor problems with the reporting feature, but after a little troubleshooting we got everything up and running smoothly.
This appliance performed exceptionally well through all our tests, blocking and logging all attacks and vulnerability scans. It can also be connected to a Fortinet log analyser, which displays all event and attack information, so administrators can spot specific weak points in the network.
The FortiGate comes with very simple, organised documentation. Also included is a quickstart guide, which clearly lays out the deployment topology and a few simple setup steps. After the device is configured with the quickstart guide, there is more documentation online for setting the device up further, as well as documentation on a CD.
With online, phone, and email support, it is always easy to find a fix to problems with this unit. We found many answers to problems by going to the online knowledge centre, with no need to contact a support engineer by phone.
FortiGate-300A appliance is priced at £5,573 with a cost of £1,115 for 12 months FortiGuard IPS service for a total cost of £6,688. While this appliance is at the lower end of the price scale, it requires an annual subscription to the IPS service, which may or may not be cost-effective depending on the size of the company.
However, we found it to be very easy to manage and it does provide a lot of logging and reporting capabilities, which adds to its cost-effectiveness.