Fortinet FortiMail vs Microsoft Defender for Office 365 comparison

You must select at least 2 products to compare!
Comparison Buyer's Guide
Executive Summary
Updated on May 23, 2022

We performed a comparison between Fortinet FortiMail and Microsoft Defender for Office 365 based on our users’ reviews in five categories. After reading all of the collected data, you can find our conclusion below.

  • Ease of Deployment: Reviewers agree that the installation of both solutions is straightforward and easy.

  • Features: Users of both products are for the most part very satisfied with their scalability and stability. Fortinet FortiMail reviewers like its flexibility and strong security capabilities but mention that the UI of the dashboard could be enhanced. Defender for Office reviewers say it is easy to use but would like to see additional security features.

  • Pricing: All Fortinet FortiMail users agree that it is a low-cost solution, whereas some Defender for Office users feel it is an expensive product.

  • ROI: Fortinet FortiMail users do not mention ROI. Defender for Office users report seeing an ROI.

  • Service and Support: All Fortinet FortiMail users report being satisfied with the level of support they receive. Defender for Office users give mixed reviews for the product’s support. Some users report being satisfied, while others feel the support could improve

Comparison Results: Fortinet FortiMail comes out on top in this comparison. Our reviewers agree that Fortinet FortiMail is reliable, high performing, and fairly priced. In addition, it has excellent customer support.

To learn more, read our detailed Fortinet FortiMail vs. Microsoft Defender for Office 365 Report (Updated: November 2022).
655,774 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Featured Review
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
"Anti-Spam and Advanced Malware Protection are the most valuable features... and we also have the option to block Zero-day attacks.""Cisco Secure Email Cloud Gateway has allowed our users to be able to concentrate on the emails that they do receive. Previously, our users had to deal with nine million additional emails across the organization, which is nearly 1,000 emails per user to have to deal with a month. That's a massive amount for our staff to deal with and probably several hours of their time. We have a lot of clinical staff, being a hospital. We want to make our staff as productive as possible. By removing a lot of that spam and phishing type emails, this allows them to do their job.""The filtering is definitely better at catching both spam and malicious messages, and there's a lot of extremely granular ability for setting up rules. You can do it the way you want to. The Microsoft solution tends to be pretty limited in how it allows some of that to be done.""The added value of it is that every migration to a new version is initiated by the Cisco version itself, so that is a bunch of work that you don't have to do on the Cisco ESA system on-premise. As it becomes a safe platform, you don't need to invest anything in your own data center or in your upgrade path.""It has an intuitive, clear graphical interface where you can deploy your policies and understand the overall flow. There are a lot of things that you cannot handle on the graphic interface, like message filters. For this, you need to go to a lower level where you have more power, like command line interface. So, this solution has the best of both worlds. There are not a lot of bells and whistles. It is more practical with access to most features that you can configure.""There is a huge return compared to if we didn't have a gateway appliance, as far as blocking malicious emails.""The solution is very configurable. It has enabled us to configure some specific filters to stop emails that general configurations didn't stop. It's a powerful solution. It can analyze a lot of emails simultaneously, with no problems of capacity or system load.""It is doing its work. It is doing what it was actually designed to do. It has ensured we don't have business email compromises, and it has also ensured that our brand Galaxy is unique all year round."

More Cisco Secure Email Pros →

"They have a feature called CDR, Content Disarm, Reconstruction, click protection, and DLP for encryption purposes.""Its performance is very good and it is stable.""When combining this solution with other Fortinet products, such as FortiGate, it integrates well and provides a comprehensive protection package.""FortiMail is extremely flexible and very easy to learn. Compared to other email security products that we've tried, it is mainly the ease of configuration that makes FortiMail valuable to us.""The integration with FortiSandbox is good, and something that we utilize often.""It actually filters the compromised emails when on a network layer itself.""The most valuable features are the endpoint defense features, it is very secure.""The GUI isn't hard to use. When we do a demo and explain the features of Fortinet products to our customers, they understand very quickly. They can easily manage their systems without us."

More Fortinet FortiMail Pros →

"The deployment capability is a great feature.""The most valuable feature of Microsoft Defender for Office 365 is the ease of use.""The basic features are okay and I'm satisfied with the Defender.""The most valuable feature is the integration. It's a single console, so we don't have to switch around between multiple products. Another valuable feature is the ease of operations and maintenance.""The risk level notifications are most valuable. We get to know what kind of intrusion or attack is there, and we can fix a problem on time.""It also gives the vulnerability status according to the versions you have selected. Let's say you have Google Chrome. It mentions the versions it has, and it updates. Within two hours of an update, it is reflected in the dashboard. That's really nice to have.""Some of the valuable features on the email side are anti-phishing, anti-malware, and Safe Links.""The good part is that you don't have to configure it, which is very convenient."

More Microsoft Defender for Office 365 Pros →

"The interface is dated. It has looked pretty much the same for 15 years or so. It would be helpful to be able to do everything from one spot. The centralized quarantine and reporting are completely separate from policy administration.""I use the search all the time. Sometimes, it is hard to search for things and things are hard to find. People come to me all the time, saying, "This email didn't get through." Then, I go searching and don't find it on the first search. You have to think about alternative searches. I don't know if there is an easier way that they could help to find things. I don't know how they could simplify it, because now everybody else is using the cloud and everything is coming from Office 365, or whatever. It is just not the same environment from years ago where everybody had their own server and you could search easier.""The area of license renewal should be improved. We normally renew our license every year. There is a feature called smart licensing, and I switched from the legacy mode to the smart licensing mode because of what I thought smart licensing does. I thought it would make licensing renewal seamless and very swift, but ever since I've switched to smart licensing, each time I want to renew my license, it is a whole lot of headache. The process is not smooth, and I had to keep calling Cisco TAC to see how the issue can be resolved. At one point, I wanted to revert back to the legacy mode, but I can't revert. Once you switch from the legacy mode to the smart licensing mode, you can't revert. They should improve on the visibility of the smart licensing mode so that it can indeed be smart and easier to use for the license renewal every year. That is one challenge.""The UI is definitely one area of improvement because it doesn't match other interfaces and the navigation can be a little clunky.""I would like more functionality and how to use it for Level 2 type staff. The biggest issue is it needs to be easier to use and navigate.""The Forged Email Detection feature needs improvement, particularly with domain. The sensors are not that good and the rules sets are unclear.""We have been struggling in the last month with Cisco encryption and with the S/MIME encryption. I don't know if it is an issue on our side or if these features of the solution are not working very well.""They can do it better with web links, with the URLs. They have a technology called Outbreak but it doesn't work as well as we would like."

More Cisco Secure Email Cons →

"The solution is user-friendly to a degree but the dashboard needs improvement.""What's missing in Fortinet FortiMail is some sandbox information for some of the emails. It's probably configuration-based, where it could be configured on some emails. For example, there was malware in some emails that weren't detected in some of the Fortinet FortiMail sessions, but it should have been configured from my company's end to better catch scam emails, but overall, the solution is okay. At the moment, my company is okay with the current Fortinet FortiMail offerings, but in the past, because of a lack of understanding, my team wasn't able to quickly implement the geographical IP blocking feature. It was time-consuming to implement that feature, but that wasn't a fault of Fortinet FortiMail. The issue was from my team's end, but just by emailing the support team, that issue was resolved, so right now, there isn't any additional feature I'd like added to Fortinet FortiMail.""My customers frequently ask to have detailed documentation for FortiMail and FortiWeb as they have in FortiGate. What they currently have is not enough.""It's difficult for me to talk about areas for improvement in Fortinet FortiMail because I'm the general manager of the company and I'm an engineer with knowledge about the solution, but I'm not deeply involved in its implementation. As I mentioned previously, Fortinet FortiMail is also being used within the company, and I'm happy with its functionality, but sometimes, attacks pass and avoid the Fortinet FortiMail filters, but those could be very sophisticated attacks. There could still be an improvement in the filtering feature of the solution, though the security of Fortinet FortiMail is okay for me because I believe you can't implement one hundred percent security in any solution. The initial setup for the solution also needs improvement. The setup is supposed to be simple, but then the customer starts to complain that some of the false positive emails are reaching quarantine, so my team has to configure it again. There have been instances when Fortinet FortiMail rejects valid emails because some of the service partners of the customer have not been configured accurately, so the system considered valid mails as attacks to be quarantined, so aside from improving the filters, there should also be an improvement in the categorization of emails in the server. My team has to modify the configuration so that valid emails could pass and for Fortinet FortiMail to correctly filter the SPAM traffic. A feature that could be added to Fortinet FortiMail in its next release is advanced AI, so it can analyze and decide accurately on which mail is valid and which mail is SPAM.""The support could be faster because we've been receiving complaints from customers, they say that when they raise a ticket, it doesn't take 24 hours to respond, sometimes the support responds after three days. This is a lot of time.""I think the security of the product could improve.""It is not easy to install.""The solution could be improved by providing a virtual machine facility with a complete set of options in the VM setup."

More Fortinet FortiMail Cons →

"It would be better if it were more scalable. It depends on the architecture, but we would like to make it more scalable for both data centers.""The custom alerts have to improve a lot.""In one of the reports I can get the exact place where a vulnerable file resides. But for that, I need to explicitly go into the device and check. If they could include that file part in the report, without my having to go to the device itself, that would help.""Too many false positives and lacks an accurate capability to detect malicious SharePoint sites.""There needs to be an improvement in integrating the product to work across multiple operating systems, and to have better support for non-Microsoft file types.""They can improve their security in a way where a customer can know if all their attachments are safe or not to open through a report. The solution does its job perfectly, but it never reports to the customer whether those attachments have been stopped before or not.""Microsoft Defender for Office 365 could improve by giving customers information on techniques to prevent threats. For example, information about best practices on how to protect their own devices against hackers and scammers, such as educational information or training. This would help others have a better understanding of cyber security. Additionally, there can be more security features added.""This product's effectiveness could be improved, in terms of detecting unwanted spam or even malware between the emails, compared to other products."

More Microsoft Defender for Office 365 Cons →

Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "The licensing was all transferred."
  • "Compared to Cisco's on-prem service, the cost is the same, but you don't have to pay for the hardware and you don't have to maintain the system, as far as upgrades and hardware failures are concerned. It is cheaper to operate on their cloud service than it is to operate with their on-prem service."
  • "Cisco Secure Email and the support are priced well. It's not cheap, but there are other solutions that offer less and cost so much. For example, Microsoft is more expensive than Cisco."
  • "There are additional fees for adding features."
  • "At times, we feel the pricing is a bit too high, but then, there is also room for discounts. We enjoy a lot of discounts, and that is why we are still with them. There are no costs in addition to the standard licensing fees."
  • "In my previous organization, avoiding four instances of CryptoLocker within an estimated six month period is approximately $600,000 in lost time and effort. Our five year cost was about a million dollars, and the four outages that we had equated to 65 percent of that five year cost."
  • "It is a super big router that costs a few hundred thousand dollars."
  • More Cisco Secure Email Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "It's not as that expensive with the competitive different brands. The products sell a lot."
  • "In terms of licensing, we are using a virtual machine license for the single virtual server which it runs on. Doing it this way enables us to cut costs by only licensing FortiMail for our exact use case. If you need to expand in future, you can later buy extra licenses per virtual machine."
  • "There is a license required for this solution and it is on an annual basis. I am satisfied with the price."
  • "The fees for Fortinet FortiMail can be complicated. However, overall the pricing is fair."
  • "There is either an annual or six-month charge to use this solution. Fortinet FortiMail is cheaper than Proofpoint or Cisco Security, or other email security appliances."
  • "The pricing is good."
  • "There is a license required for this solution."
  • "Fortinet FortiMail has an annual license agreement."
  • More Fortinet FortiMail Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "It's a user-base subscription."
  • "From the pricing point of view, like any other product in the market, there is scope for negotiation."
  • "Defender is a little bit more expensive as compared to others. We are in the manufacturing environment. So, we don't have a high budget for all of our endpoint devices. Its cost is a major concern for us."
  • "For licensing, it's usually a yearly package for customers who are subscribed to Office 365, but they can also pay on a monthly basis."
  • "Microsoft Defender for Office 365 is an add-on to the Office license. Many customers are purchasing this solution."
  • "Microsoft Defender for Office 365 comes with Microsoft Windows. It is free with the operating system."
  • "The solution saves money so we have seen a return on investment."
  • More Microsoft Defender for Office 365 Pricing and Cost Advice →

    Use our free recommendation engine to learn which Email Security solutions are best for your needs.
    655,774 professionals have used our research since 2012.
    Questions from the Community
    Top Answer:It has an intuitive, clear graphical interface where you can deploy your policies and understand the overall flow. There… more »
    Top Answer:It is a super big router that costs a few hundred thousand dollars.
    Top Answer:You can consolidate on SMA if you want to spam or threats quarantined for multiple devices. It is not advisable for a… more »
    Top Answer:My company has a three-year license for Fortinet FortiMail, including the support, but I'm not so sure of how much the… more »
    Top Answer:What's missing in Fortinet FortiMail is some sandbox information for some of the emails. It's probably… more »
    Top Answer:We use Fortinet FortiMail primarily for our email security. We're also using the solution for its anti-spam, antivirus… more »
    Top Answer:Threat Explorer is one of the features that I very much like because it is a real-time report that allows you to… more »
    Top Answer:I would recommend Microsoft Defender for Office 365. If you already have a deployment method, like CCM or something… more »
    Top Answer:There is room for improvement with the UI. The company should focus on adding threats that the solution is currently… more »
    Also Known As
    Cisco Email Security, IronPort, Cisco Email Security, ESA, Email Security Appliances
    MS Defender for Office 365
    Learn More

    Customers of all sizes face the same daunting challenge: email is simultaneously the most important business communication tool and the leading attack vector for security breaches. Cisco Email Security enables users to communicate securely and helps organizations combat Business Email Compromise (BEC), ransomware, advanced malware, phishing, spam, and data loss with a multilayered approach to security.

    As cyber attacks become more sophisticated, it is crucial for email security solutions to offer multi-layered protection. Fortinet's proven email security platform, FortiMail, is a comprehensive multi-layered threat protection solution designed to secure users from the full spectrum of email-based threats, which includes zero-day threats, credential impersonation, spam, phishing, malware, and business email compromise (BEC) attacks.

    Fortinet FortiMail offers a variety of deployment models to best fit your organization’s email security needs. On-premises, private or public cloud, or hybrid email environments can be deployed and managed in-house by your team or managed by Fortinet’s data centers. FortiMail also employs virtual machines that provide robust scalability options and flexible deployment of email security infrastructure.

    Fortinet FortiMail Benefits

    Fortinet FortiMail provides your organization with the following benefits:

    • Eliminate message-based threats by using FortiMail’s advanced inspection capabilities before they can harm your users.
    • Flexible licensing ensures that you don’t have to create a license for each user as you scale your network upwards.

    • Achieve regulatory compliance with sophisticated messaging content archiving, quarantining, and routing tools.
    • Stop spam before it takes over your messaging system and network resources, ensuring that your messaging performance remains optimized.

    Fortinet FortiMail Benefits

    Some of Fortinet FortiMail’s top features include:

    • Spam and malware prevention: FortiMail employs advanced techniques and technologies, such as outbreak protection, impersonation detection, content disarm and reconstruction, and sandbox analysis to provide users with high-performing antispam and antimalware tools designed to prevent unwanted bulk email, ransomware, and other targeted attacks.
    • Powerful data loss prevention: Identity-based email encryption and archiving help prevent the loss of sensitive and important information and ensure that your organization adheres to compliance with corporate and industry regulations.
    • Automatic updates: Receive dynamic updates from the FortiGuard subscription services that automatically upgrade your antispam and antivirus functionality using intelligence gathered by Fortinet's dedicated global threat research team.
    • Seamless integration: Integrations with other Fortinet products and external third-party components enable companies to enhance their security by sharing indicators of compromise (IoCs) across a unified security system.
    • Easy email management: Gain full visibility over real-time email traffic with Fortinet FortiMail’s intuitive dashboards, rich reporting features, centralized quarantine tools, and end-user controls. Control email traffic with the solution’s full mail transfer agent and mail-handling capabilities. The solution’s quick-start setup wizard greatly reduces the complexity of deployment and management.

    Reviews from Real Users

    Fortinet FortiMail stands out among its competitors for a number of reasons. Two major ones are its powerful anti-virus tool and its robust spam protection capabilities.

    Flamur P., head of security management at Ipko Telecommunications, writes, "Fortinet FortiMail has a lot of valuable features. It works great. It also has an antivirus feature. Support for Fortinet FortiMail was also great when my team wanted to block some geographic IPs, but couldn't figure out how to do it. The support team provided clear communication on how to resolve that issue. Another valuable feature of Fortinet FortiMail is spam filtering which tells you how many spammy emails you've received. Based on my current use cases, I'm happy with Fortinet FortiMail."

    Microsoft Defender for Office 365 protects all of Office 365 against advanced threats like business email compromise and credential phishing, and automatically investigates and remediates attacks. With Defender for O365 you get Integrated threat protection for all of Office 365 that gives you:

    - Native protection for Office 365 with built-in protection that simplifies administration, lowers total cost of ownership, and boosts productivity.

    - Unparalleled scale and effectiveness with powerful automated workflows to improve SecOps efficiency.

    - A complete solution for collaboration that protects you from attacks across the kill chain.

    To learn more about our solution, ask questions, and share feedback, join our Microsoft Security, Compliance and Identity Community.

    Learn more about Cisco Secure Email
    Learn more about Fortinet FortiMail
    Learn more about Microsoft Defender for Office 365
    Sample Customers
    SUNY Old Westbury, CoxHealth, City of Fullerton, Indra
    Magromer Cueros y Pieles S.A.
    Microsoft Defender for Office 365 is trusted by companies such as Ithaca College.
    Top Industries
    Energy/Utilities Company19%
    Financial Services Firm10%
    Healthcare Company10%
    Computer Software Company20%
    Comms Service Provider14%
    Financial Services Firm7%
    Computer Software Company19%
    Comms Service Provider19%
    Manufacturing Company13%
    Comms Service Provider25%
    Computer Software Company17%
    Manufacturing Company4%
    Comms Service Provider25%
    Financial Services Firm17%
    Manufacturing Company17%
    Performing Arts8%
    Computer Software Company19%
    Comms Service Provider10%
    Financial Services Firm7%
    Company Size
    Small Business37%
    Midsize Enterprise23%
    Large Enterprise40%
    Small Business27%
    Midsize Enterprise18%
    Large Enterprise56%
    Small Business49%
    Midsize Enterprise35%
    Large Enterprise16%
    Small Business28%
    Midsize Enterprise24%
    Large Enterprise48%
    Small Business25%
    Midsize Enterprise25%
    Large Enterprise50%
    Small Business28%
    Midsize Enterprise19%
    Large Enterprise54%
    Buyer's Guide
    Fortinet FortiMail vs. Microsoft Defender for Office 365
    November 2022
    Find out what your peers are saying about Fortinet FortiMail vs. Microsoft Defender for Office 365 and other solutions. Updated: November 2022.
    655,774 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    Fortinet FortiMail is ranked 5th in Email Security with 17 reviews while Microsoft Defender for Office 365 is ranked 1st in Email Security with 15 reviews. Fortinet FortiMail is rated 8.8, while Microsoft Defender for Office 365 is rated 8.0. The top reviewer of Fortinet FortiMail writes "Has a SPAM filtering feature and gives better protection against SPAM, phishing attempts, and ransomware; provides good support". On the other hand, the top reviewer of Microsoft Defender for Office 365 writes "Essential security capabilities, plenty of email protection, and enhanced data loss prevention". Fortinet FortiMail is most compared with Barracuda Email Security Gateway, Fortinet FortiMail Cloud, Microsoft Exchange Online Protection, Proofpoint Email Protection and Trend Micro Email Security, whereas Microsoft Defender for Office 365 is most compared with Proofpoint Email Protection, Mimecast Email Security with Targeted Threat Protection, Barracuda Email Security Gateway, Microsoft Exchange Online Protection and Sophos Email. See our Fortinet FortiMail vs. Microsoft Defender for Office 365 report.

    See our list of best Email Security vendors.

    We monitor all Email Security reviews to prevent fraudulent reviews and keep review quality high. We do not post reviews by company employees or direct competitors. We validate each review for authenticity via cross-reference with LinkedIn, and personal follow-up with the reviewer when necessary.