Hardware Today — Next-Gen Firewalls Reach High Page 2

By Ben Freeman (Send Email)
Posted Aug 30, 2004

Fortinet and SonicWALL Fortify the Enterprise

Gartner's Magic Quadrant matrix provides a graphical representation of a particular marketplace, positioning Leaders, Challengers, Niche Players, and Visionaries on two axes: Completeness of Vision and Ability to Execute. Cisco, Netscreen, and Checkpoint have traditionally occupied the Leaders quadrant in the IPS/firewall space, but they are now facing formidable challenges from new players.

One such challenge comes from Fortinet, a company that Gartner considers a Visionary its April Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Firewalls. There, the research firm describes Fortinet's 2003 growth as "tremendous." With this growth, Fortinet's combination product of firewall, VPN, and anti-virus tool has eaten into the bigger players' market share pie.

Fortinet's FortiGate 50, 60, 100, 200, and 300 firewalls are positioned at the SMB spaces. Philip Kwan, the company's Director of Product Management, describes these appliances as "ultimate all-in-one, real-time network protection solutions," adding, "organizations can now enjoy protection from the most damaging threats without penalties in performance, cost, or manageability."

The FortiGate 400, 500, 800, and 1000 platforms are designed with enterprises in mind. "With throughputs up to 1 Gbps; high-availability features, including automatic failover with no session loss; and multi-zone capabilities, units in the FortiGate Enterprise Series are the choice for mission-critical applications," Kwan said.

Fortinet also offers the even sturdier FortiGate 4000, 3000, and 3600 solutions, which include redundant, hot-swappable power supplies and fans, redundant failover, and high-availability firewall clustering. These firewalls, which are aimed at large enterprises and service providers, can be virtualized to function as up to 250 virtualized firewalls. They can also be set to push deep packet inspection with heuristic-based virus scanning by employing "complete content protection technology to reassemble and analyze content and behavior across hundreds or thousands of packets while maintaining real-time performance," Kwan said.

According to Kwan, SMBs tend to gravitate toward the 200 and 300 models, while enterprises prefer the 400 and 800 models.

SonicWALL is another praise-worthy player in the Gartner Magic Quadrant, falling into the Niche Player quadrant. The research firm notes, however, that the vendor lags in the deep packet inspection curve.

SonicWALL's PRO 5060, a firewall offering released in June, after the Magic Quadrant was published, may fill in these blanks. It offers a slew of deep-packet inspection features and add-ons, including anti-virus functionality, advanced wireless LAN features, and VPN support in a highly manageable solution.

"The ability to support layered security capabilities like deep-packet inspection is crucial to detect and prevent the new types of worms, Trojans, and other viruses prevalent today," SonicWALL Product Manager Scott Lukes said.

SonicWALL's TZ 170 series appliances suit the SMB, while its PRO series targets enterprises and larger midsize organizations. The PRO 2040 is universally popular due to its status as a "powerful yet affordable gateway," Lukes notes.

Both the PRO and TZ 170 lines offer wireless network management support, an area ripe for growth. "Businesses should try to ensure that they are able to secure both the wired and wireless network, and manage security policies for both from a single device," Lukes said.

Choose Wisely

Although enterprises cannot control their infrastructures with 100-percent certainty, firewalls and IPS systems cover many gaps and make it easier to patch against everything. Although, "not every vulnerability becomes an exploit, and not every one will result in the failure of your network," Young said, "if you don't take action some will."

So the choice should be not whether to deploy a firewall, but which firewall to deploy.

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