Fortinet firewall follows all-in-one trend

Fortinet has boosted its firewall platform with virus protection, content filtering and intrusion detection. An analyst says that such all-in-one perimeter products are becoming more popular and can lower a company's security costs.

Fortinet Inc. today announced upgrades to its firewall that enhance its functionality and give users more features on a single platform, a growing trend among appliance vendors.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company unveiled its new FortiOS2.8, as well as 50 enhancements to its FortiGate Antivirus Firewall platform, including virus protection, e-mail, and Web-based content filtering and support for IPv6.

Business are increasingly looking for more functionality from their security devices, and Fortinet is filling that need, said Rick Kagan, Fortinet's vice president of marketing.

The company's firewall platform also includes VPN capabilities, intrusion detection and prevention, and -- in its high-end firewall offering -- throughput of up to 2.5 gigabits.

Fortinet has also dynamically updated its systems so that companies can scan for the most current viruses, Kagan said. Additionally, the vendor is working with Draper, Utah, software developer Cerberian Inc. to provide content filtering of Web sites.

Fortinet's broad functionality is what interested Palo Alto, Calif.-based life sciences startup Alexza Molecular Delivery Corp. in the firewall platform. The company was looking for a security device with intrusion-detection capability and a VPN.

Tom Miller, director of IT for Alexza, said that Fortinet was willing to work with his 70-person company to help it deploy the product.

In the 10 weeks that the company has been running the security platform, Miller says, it has met his expectations.

As network security grows more complex, companies are looking for products that bundle many features in a single appliance, said Aaron Vance, an analyst with the Phoenix-based Synergy Research Group. Other vendors, including NetScreen Technologies Inc., are heading in a similar direction, he said.

Vance said that, in the past, there has been concern that these bundled devices would be unable to provide the same level of performance as standalone devices. While in some cases that may true, Vance said, in general, today's bundled devices perform well and are easier to manage, providing far superior total cost of ownership.

Fortinet's firewall platforms range in price from $495 to $30,000.

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