Fortigates: A Firewall Overview

Fortigates: A Firewall Overview

Fortigates: A Firewall Overview

In this blog post, we will explore the basics of network firewalls. Fortigate is a company that offers a variety of firewall solutions for businesses and networks. We will discuss the various Fortigates available, as well as their features and benefits to help you decide which one is right for your needs. 

What is FortiGate Firewall?

Fortinet, a multinational company, introduced Fortigate. It is a next generation firewall and is said to provide protection to any business (small or big) against any possible security threat. 

The basic architecture of Fortigate solutions is built around three key components:

Virtual Domains 

A virtual domain provides an environment where related security functions are grouped together under one configuration. This makes it easier for administrators to configure settings for multiple objects at once instead of configuring each object individually .

Security Policies 

These policies determine how packets are filtered based on their source address, destination address, protocol type , application category etc., as well as other factors such as time of day and the direction (inbound or outbound) of packets.

Security Intelligence 

FortiGate appliances use security intelligence to assess network traffic for risks, such as viruses and spam, based on advanced threat identification techniques including: 

  1. Deep Packet Inspection (DPI
  2. Heuristic analysis
  3. Application recognition 
  4. Cloud lookups. 

 The result is a firewall that reduces risk without affecting end user performance.

What Does FortiGate Firewall Do?

FortiGate Firewall provides businesses with an effective way to protect their digital assets. It filters network traffic based on the application or user identity, preventing dangerous content from reaching your business servers and remote users.

By limiting access to unauthorized applications, FortiGate can prevent bandwidth-wasting activities such as peer-to-peer file sharing of copyrighted material. 

Other features include,

  1. Intrusion prevention systems (IPS) that detect attacks against hosts inside your firewall perimeter
  2. Anti-virus functions for email inspection
  3. Web filtering capabilities using categories determined by websites’ reputations rather than simple keyword lists
  4. SSL encryption inspection to mitigate risks associated with encrypted malware communications, and more.

Features & Benefits of Fortigate Firewall:

The main purpose of Fortigate solutions is to protect your network against external threats.  However, their security features can also help you manage internal risks while ensuring the performance of critical applications within your organization.

SSL Inspection 

FortiGate offers an effective way to decrypt and inspect traffic once it reaches your firewall , so that any malware or spam sent via encrypted channels does not reach its intended destination. Otherwise, viruses would be able to infect endpoints inside your perimeter without being detected by antivirus software installed on those machines .

Web Filtering & Anti Spam 

These are two additional functions available in many different models of Fortinet firewalls that work together with other security measures such as IPS/IDS functionality (Intrusion Prevention System / Intrusion Detection System) to minimize risks.  Web filtering can help prevent employees from accessing inappropriate content, while anti-spam capabilities reduce the amount of spam reaching mail servers and end users .

Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI) 

FortiGate appliances use stateful packet inspection in network security mode which is a more advanced way to monitor network traffic than earlier firewall systems that only checked packets for their source and destination addresses.   In this method, each packet entering or leaving your perimeter must match an existing connection, so that outbound replies are allowed through only if they originate from specific hosts inside your internal networks. This prevents attackers from using spoofed IP addresses when initiating attacks against other sites on the Internet , because these would not match any connected hosts and would be blocked.

Intrusion Prevention (IPS) 

FortiGate appliances detect and block cyber attacks like worms, viruses, spyware, Trojans , keyloggers etc., based on the most up to date intelligence from Fortinet’s cloud security network.  The technology inspects packets before they reach your servers or endpoints so that they are never exposed to malware.  This allows you to protect data even if an attacker gains remote access via a zero-day exploit of a software vulnerability .

When Should I Use FortiGate Firewall?

A FortiGate firewall is an excellent choice for organizations of any size facing increasing network security challenges.  Whether your company uses public cloud services , virtual environments, mobile devices or BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) programs to access business applications located in private networks , a FortiGate appliance can handle the demands of today’s dynamic IT world .

Virtual Traffic Management 

As traffic levels increase on both WAN and LAN connections, you might need additional bandwidth capacity quickly without having to upgrade expensive hardware appliances like load balancers. 

Since many workloads are now hosted in the cloud, it is also necessary for this connectivity between sites to be highly available with no downtime during application migrations. 

By deploying multiple instances of Firewall & Network Security modules in virtual machines, you can ensure that your data center does not become a bottleneck for network service delivery.

Secure Cloud Connectivity 

The cloud is transforming the way organizations work, and many companies are now migrating their applications to public clouds like Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure.  

A FortiGate firewall device offers strong VPN connectivity with seamless integration into AWS VPCs (Virtual Private Clouds), so it becomes easy to make sure security policies are always enforced when connecting to SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions from these providers.  

It also provides automated access control using ECMP routing technology, while reducing bandwidth requirements by up to 50%.  

Mobile Security & BYOD 

With over 80% of employees now bringing their own smartphones, tablets and laptops to work , it is more important than ever before to secure these devices from cyber threats.  

A FortiGate firewall solution can help you manage access through a variety of VPN protocols like SSL/TLS and IPSec while providing visibility into all connected users by using the latest endpoint security features .

Next Generation Firewall (NGFW) 

The next generation firewalls we create are designed for complex connectivity environments such as those found in large enterprises today. They combine industry leading performance with unified threat management capabilities that reduce cost and complexity when securing multiple sites or remote locations over wide area networks (WANs). 

By supporting high availability configurations across multiple physical units deployed at different geographical locations, firewall appliances deliver a local connection to all users no matter how remote their location.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What are FortiGate appliances?

Ans. FortiGuard Firewall, Network Security and Web Application Security modules are all examples of Fortinet’s next generation firewall (NGFW) family. They have been designed for large enterprises that require advanced security capabilities, high performance networking features and support for virtual environments.

Q. What are the benefits of virtual appliances?

Ans. There is no need to dedicate costly hardware devices for firewall, network security or web application security services.  Deploying multiple instances on a single physical appliance saves both capital and operational expenses. It also enables you to easily distribute workloads among available resources running in your private cloud environment.

Q. What cloud security services does Fortinet offer?

Ans. FortiGate appliances provide secure access to SaaS (Software as a Service) applications hosted in public clouds like AWS or Azure.  They also allow for easy migration of workloads between these environments with no downtime, while providing advanced protection against DDoS attacks and malware outbreaks .  

Q. What are the benefits of High Availability?

Ans. If one unit fails, you can still enjoy uninterrupted network connectivity thanks to an actively operating standby instance.  This is especially important for mission critical deployments like those at large enterprises with multiple locations spread across different geographical regions .  It ensures that every user always has a local connection which helps increase productivity and reduce latency issues caused by long distance connections.


Built from threat intelligence and security processors from FortGuard, this firewall will provide you an unrivalled performance and protection all the while keeping your network simplified.  

It allows you to control which applications and users have access to the Internet. It works by controlling traffic flows between your internal servers, external networks (including the public internet) and connecting devices like laptops or mobile phones. 

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