What are the biggest technical differences between Sophos UTM and Fortinet FortiGate?

I have around ten years of experience as a system support engineer for an engineering company. 

We are currently evaluating Sophos UTM and Fortinet FortiGate. What are the technical differences between the two. Which would you recommend?

Thanks! I appreciate the help. 

System Support Engineer at a engineering company with 11-50 employees
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11 Answers
Janet Staver - PeerSpot reviewer
Tech Blogger
Real User
Top 5
Dec 1, 2021

As a solution, Sophos UTM offers a lot of functionality, it scales well, and the stability and performance are quite good. The most valuable features for me are their web and email filtering. I would say that this solution is extremely user-friendly, and also very easy to manage for any integrator. For me, the setup was straightforward as well. Beyond providing general purpose firewall with built in VPN tunneling, it also offers advanced firewall scanning. One disadvantage of the solution for me, though, was that because the logs are not as clear as I would have liked them to be, I needed to purchase an additional piece of software. However, Sophos UTM is a cost-effective solution and has very helpful technical support.

On the other hand, FortiGate also has a lot going for it. What I like the most about it is that it has an attractive web dashboard with very easy navigation tabs; It can be managed and controlled using layer two wireless access points; When compared with other firewalls, building IPsec VPN and SSL VPN is much easier; I can configure virtual networks within the same firewall; And configuration of NAT and static routes are straightforward. FortiGate also has many security functions, such as application control, web filtering, IPS, antivirus, etc., that help companies protect their users. It helps optimize traffic from user to application via the hybrid WAN environment. The downsides of FortiGate are that it happens to include many bugs, and sometimes it can be a challenge to block content from a website with web filtering since web pages contain websites that consume other resources. Moreover, mobile device administration is complicated, and it does not seem to adapt to smartphone or tablet screens very well.

Conclusion: Although FortiGate provides several useful features, I chose to go with Sophos UTM because I primarily needed a solution for a number of use cases including firewall, web filtering, email filtering, and email encryption rather than for web application and protection. Simply put, UTM has all I need at an affordable price point and FortiGate had extras that just weren’t necessary for me.

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Owner at supernovatel
Real User
Top 5
Feb 17, 2020

In my opinion and as a result of years of experience:

- Both are great firewalls with excellent performance and a useful integration witch Active directory and LDAP

- Fortinet is easier to manage and have a nice way to configure routes but some times have throughput troubles as an example: in 2 years we need to make around 4 reboots in a 3 firewall deploy

- Sophos has a lot of nice firewall features (i mean without a license), some features like routes and VPN use to be a little difficult to configure but we never need to reboot any FW.

Owner with 11-50 employees
Feb 17, 2020

I would have no doubt in recommending Fortinet. I do not know the Sophos UTM product specifically but in general, in companies, we have had unpleasant experiences with Sophos with customers. They typically declare performance values ​​that are overestimated in the field.

Solution Architect at Brillbean Ventures Pvt ltd
Real User
Feb 17, 2020

We replaced Fortinet with Sophos as our public-facing UTM in 2017 & since then the ride has been extremely rough. I would not recommend Sophos for any mission-critical environment.

Information Security Principal at Alkhorayef
Real User
Top 5
Jan 4, 2021

Fortinet is easy to manage and it include secure SDWAN as well including many features with easy to configure.

Presales Engineer at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Real User
Top 20
Feb 18, 2020

Both firewalls are easy to deploy. But the issue you will encounter when performing troubleshooting. You will not get flexibility in troubleshooting through Cli in Sophos whereas, in FortiGate, we have much more control. Besides if you are deploying a firewall on a large scale where visibility, control, performance as well as the flexibility is important it is better to go with Fortinet rather than Sophos.

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Networking Security Expert at SR Technologies
Top 5
Feb 17, 2020

I would also like to elaborate on the reporting part in FortiCloud. There is no need to pay any extras. Every box connects to ForticCoud service, and if you want reports to be greater than 7 days (meaning to be kept longer than that in their memory system) then you have to pay. In the meantime, by default Forticloud will send daily emails with reports and once a week you will get 4 to 5 reports, with lots of granular information. These reports are all in PDF with color graphics. In reality, I would be happy to send you some of the reports as in words typed herein would be more than a book. The FortiGate appliance also comes with 10 endpoint security (Forticlient) licences. So you can put this endpoint protection software to servers or clients. It also has a two-factor authentication license included. With these boxes, you can also create VDOM (Virtual Domains, totally separate).

They can afford that as the hardware, as I mentioned before (ASIC) has the power to do that. In 3 years I have had 1 spam message entering my mail server, is that telling you something??? In my first reply, I did tell you that where I work now they purchase Sophos. Well, when the antivirus is set the CPU gets up to 90%. My Fortigate CPU is 0% and peaks during attacks. And I have had quite a few. They were attempting to break into the mail server. More than 2 million attempts in less than 2 hours. Have a look at NSS Labs site. FortiGate is a Rolls Royce, you cannot compare.

Here in Australia, where I work now, the decision was to go with Sophos, ONLY ON PRICE. Yes, great brains. Now they regret that big time. FortiGate is a much more powerful device, especially when it comes to being able to handle the traffic. Most of the models handle throughput via ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) which is nothing more and less than a customer semiconductor. So, this is handled via hardware. It may be initially more difficult to implement. Now, what does "difficult" mean? To me when there is an unknown, difficult comes up till you learn. So if you make a decision on price and because "it is the easiest" to install.

I would not touch Sophos. Simple as that.

it_user1136043 - PeerSpot reviewer
IT Manager at alfascan
Real User
Feb 17, 2020

Sophos UTM is better by far. but it is more expensive

Operations Manager at Cybernaptics
Top 5Leaderboard
Feb 17, 2020

Done many installations of both Sophos and FortiGate, Sophos is the easiest to install and best in terms of features.
Reporting is free in Sophos while we need an extra subscription for FortiGate. Deep packet inspection, intrusion prevention advanced threat protection, web filtering, app control and email protection are key features of Sophos. Browsing is made safe with phishing protection and new functionality of ransomware protection. Sophos support is brilliant and community website from Sophos answers to all your questions and ease deployment.

Managing Director at The IT Agency Pty Ltd
Real User
Feb 17, 2020

I can’t really comment on FortiGate. We’ve been working with Sophos for years and like it’s integration with their endpoint.

Manager - SCADA & OT SECURITY at a energy/utilities company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Mar 23, 2020

I will recommend the Fortinet being very aggressive in the firewall terminology.
Fortinet Devices are Multi-Utility Next generation Firewall which can give your facility of L2 as well as L3 functions along with transparent and NAT mode of Firewall.
Moreover it provides your the AV, IPS,Application Control, Web Filter etc. on Proxy as well Flow based inspection modes.
Their support line also very good. One must try it. Further if you have need of Monitoring Industrial Protocols then it is one of the best choice in market

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Owner at David Strom Inc.
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