Is FortiNAC Difficult to Deploy?

Is FortiNAC difficult to deploy?

Deploying FortiNAC (Fortinet Network Access Control) can vary in complexity depending on the specific requirements and the existing network infrastructure of an organization. Here are a few factors that can influence the difficulty of deploying FortiNAC:

  1. Network Size and Complexity: Larger networks with more endpoints, diverse types of devices, and multiple locations can make the deployment more challenging. This includes integrating various network segments and ensuring consistent policies across all areas.
  2. Existing Infrastructure: Compatibility with existing network hardware and software is crucial. FortiNAC needs to integrate seamlessly with current systems, which might require firmware updates or hardware changes in some cases.
  3. Security Policies and Requirements: Defining and implementing security policies that FortiNAC will enforce can be complex, especially in environments with stringent compliance requirements or those that handle sensitive data.
  4. Skill and Knowledge of IT Staff: The technical knowledge and experience of the IT staff play a significant role. Familiarity with Fortinet products and general network security concepts will facilitate a smoother deployment.
  5. Vendor Support and Resources: Access to good technical support from Fortinet and having detailed documentation can significantly ease the deployment process. Training sessions and certifications from Fortinet also help in understanding how to best utilize FortiNAC.

In general, while the deployment might present challenges, these can be managed effectively with proper planning, skilled personnel, and good support from the vendor. For many organizations, the benefits of enhanced network security and access control outweigh the initial effort required to deploy FortiNAC.

Does FortiNAC pricing contain any hidden costs?

FortiNAC, like many enterprise-grade network solutions, has a pricing structure that might include various components, and understanding these is important to avoid unexpected costs. Here are some common areas where additional costs might arise:

  1. Licensing: FortiNAC typically involves licensing fees that can be based on the number of endpoints, the number of concurrent users, or the scale of network infrastructure. Make sure to understand what your license covers and whether there are tiered pricing models based on features or scalability.
  2. Hardware and Software Requirements: Depending on the existing network infrastructure, additional hardware or software might be necessary to support FortiNAC deployment. This could include network upgrades, new servers, or other equipment.
  3. Maintenance and Support Contracts: Ongoing support contracts are often essential for enterprise deployments and can incur annual or monthly fees. These costs contribute to keeping the system operational and secure but can vary based on the level of service chosen (e.g., 24/7 support vs. business hours support).
  4. Training and Implementation Services: Proper training for IT staff on how to use and manage FortiNAC effectively may involve additional costs. Similarly, if external consultants or the vendor's professional services are required for deployment, this will also contribute to the overall cost.
  5. Upgrades and Updates: While basic updates might be included in the initial licensing fee, major upgrades or feature additions might require additional payments.
  6. Renewals: License renewals can sometimes include cost increases or require re-negotiation. Be aware of the terms and conditions that come with initial pricing offers, as they might change at the time of renewal.

It's recommended to thoroughly review the terms and conditions of any FortiNAC purchase and to discuss with Fortinet or a licensed distributor to get a clear understanding of all potential costs involved. This transparency will help in budgeting and in avoiding unexpected expenses during the deployment and operational phases.

Is FortiNAC on-prem or cloud-native?

FortiNAC (Fortinet Network Access Control) is primarily an on-premises solution designed to enhance network security by providing visibility, control, and automated response capabilities for managing devices on a network. It integrates with your existing infrastructure to monitor and control access to the network and enforce security policies.

However, FortiNAC can also be deployed in a hybrid environment, where it operates in conjunction with cloud-based services. This flexibility allows it to function effectively in diverse IT environments, including those that utilize cloud resources alongside traditional on-premises systems.

While FortiNAC is not purely a cloud-native solution, its compatibility with hybrid deployments means that it can adapt to include cloud components as part of a broader network security strategy.

What are some of the shortcomings of FortiNAC?

While FortiNAC (Fortinet Network Access Control) is a powerful tool for managing network access and enhancing security, there are some limitations and challenges that organizations might face when deploying and using this solution:

  1. Complexity of Deployment: Setting up FortiNAC can be complex, especially in large or diverse network environments. The integration process can require significant customization and configuration to align with existing network setups and security policies.
  2. Cost: The initial and ongoing costs of implementing FortiNAC can be high. This includes licensing fees, potential hardware upgrades, and maintenance contracts. Smaller organizations might find the costs prohibitive compared to the perceived benefits.
  3. Resource Intensive: FortiNAC can be resource-intensive, requiring robust server hardware and network infrastructure to manage the increased data and processing demands, particularly in large deployments.
  4. Learning Curve: There is a learning curve associated with FortiNAC, especially for IT teams that are not familiar with Fortinet’s ecosystem. Proper training and familiarity with the system are required to manage and optimize its functionality effectively.
  5. Integration with Non-Fortinet Products: While FortiNAC is designed to be interoperable with a wide range of network devices and solutions, there may be challenges or limitations when integrating with non-Fortinet products. This might require additional configuration or lead to reduced functionality.
  6. Scalability: Although FortiNAC is scalable, scaling up can involve complex configuration and additional costs. Organizations need to carefully plan their network growth to ensure that FortiNAC can continue to meet their needs without significant additional expense or reconfiguration.
  7. Updates and Maintenance: Regular updates and maintenance are required to keep FortiNAC functioning optimally and securely. This ongoing maintenance can be a burden for IT teams, especially in rapidly changing network environments.
  8. Reliance on Network Visibility: FortiNAC’s effectiveness is heavily dependent on its ability to have comprehensive visibility of all devices on the network. In scenarios where devices are not detected or properly classified, the efficacy of the network control and security policies can be compromised.

Addressing these shortcomings often involves careful planning, adequate budgeting, and ongoing support and training for IT staff. For many organizations, the benefits of enhanced security and control over network access justify the investment in overcoming these challenges.