Strengths: This is a comprehensive multi-function device
Weaknesses: Internal reporting capabilities are not included
Verdict: A straightforward product with reasonable functionality
Fortinet's FortiGate-500A-HD appliance is another 1U rack-mountable unit but, being half-depth, is smaller than some similar products. It's claim to fame is as a "multi-zone network protection solution." Fortinet says it enables organisations to segment networks into independent security "zones", each with unique access and security policies.
Startup documentation for the unit is provided as a PDF document on a supplied CD.
We accessed the configuration page via a web-based browser, although a serial connection can also be used. The main menu page provides a dashboard view of the unit, showing system resources as two speedometer-type gauges showing CPU usage and memory usage.
Clicking on an icon above these gauges you are taken to a view of various graphs showing system resource history - much like the performance graphs on Windows Task Manager. These not only show CPU and memory usage but also, usefully, virus and intrusion history.
The Fortinet appliance functions as a firewall, VPN, anti-virus, anti-spam, IPS and web-filtering device as well as an instant messaging and peer-to-peer filter. The other functions of the box have been looked at in more detail in previous tests, so we have concentrated on IM.
Clicking on the IM option brings up a statistics page that provides an overview of users and whether they are using AOL, Yahoo, MSN or ICQ. It also tracks peer-to-peer usage within the organization in relation to BitTorrent, eDonkey, Gnutella, KaZaa and WinNY.
However, the instant messaging statistics are far more detailed than peer-to-peer and show the number of users using each application, as well as information such as the total number of file transfers and blocked transfers. It also tracks the number of voice sessions over IM and applies anti-virus scanning to instant messaging sessions.
Clicking on the user option brings up three more tabs: current users, user list and configuration. The first provides a breakdown of which users are using which IM services; the user list allows the administrator to block traffic based on the individual.
And under configuration, you can set policies for individual users as well as those that are unknown to the organisation. By default it will block the three main IM applications from users not known to the device.
Overall, Fortinet has delivered a solid product. The configuration and administration are intuitive, and policies and rules can be established reasonably simply