Strengths: Affordable UTM appliance for smaller environments.
Weaknesses: Advanced configuration is slightly awkward at first.
Verdict: A very good product, purpose-built for smaller networks, but its ease of use could be improved, especially since administrators in smaller organizations don’t have time to figure out implementation.
SummaryThis little device proves that one does not have to have a gigantic piece of hardware taking up a ton of rack space to have solid perimeter security. The FortiWiFi-40c from Fortinet provides features such as a firewall, intrusion prevention system, application control, virtual private network (VPN) and web content filtering all in one device. This product is built on the same FortiOS platform that its much larger counterparts use, so this device houses powerful inspection and security engines that rival the much bigger systems. The FortiWiFi also incorporates Wi-Fi security function to ensure wireless devices receive the same protection against threats as the wired ones.
From box to management, this tool is relatively simple to use. The initial configuration is quite easy and, by following a simple setup wizard, takes just a few minutes. The wizard aids in setting the network configuration, as well as the base security policy. At the completion of the wizard, all further management is done via the web-based management console. We found this console to look exactly like the Fortinet consoles we have used in the past, but it is boiled down to fit the application of the appliance. There were some areas in which we struggled a little with configuration in this simplified version of the interface.
We found policy management to be slightly more difficult to administer as most of the policy had to be built from the ground up. While this does provide for a lot of customization, it also allows for possible human error, which can lead to a lot of troubleshooting. We would like to see a more comprehensive base policy from which to to build versus having to start at the beginning on our own. With that said, we did have an overall good experience with the interface after some tinkering and experimenting with settings.
Documentation provided with this product included a short quick-start guide, which outlined the appliance itself and how to complete the initial configuration steps. Other documentation was included on a supplemental CD, and was comprised of several manuals and guides for configuring and managing the appliance and all of its features. This material also included a full administrator guide with a lot of configuration steps and examples, along with a good number of screenshots organized in an easy-to-follow format.
Fortinet includes the first 90 days of 8/5 technical support as part of the purchase price of the product. At the end of the 90 days, customers can purchase additional assistance as part of an ongoing support subscription. This support includes both 8/5 and 24/7 phone and email technical support tiers. The plans also include access to product updates and upgrades, and subscriptions to the various security services for the appliance. As well, customers can access a large support area via the website, which includes product documentation downloads, technical resources and a knowledge base.
At a price just under $450 before support and subscription costs, we find this product to be a good value for the money for smaller environments that may not require the larger more expensive offerings. This gateway provides a solid feature set that can be configured and customized to meet the needs of almost any type of smaller environment. - MS