Fortinet vs Meraki small firewalls: Let’s make ’em fight!

These are two of our most popular product lines, so it might be helpful to do a little non-exhaustive side-by-side ‘Fortinet vs Meraki’ SMB firewalls. These two have their own things they do well, and their own types of users that they appeal to.

Meraki’s ‘thing’

Meraki is known for extreme ease-of-set-up and ease-of-use. Sure, everybody says that. But Meraki really pioneered it, and they probably do it better than anyone else. They realize that, especially in the SMB space, there are going to be a lot of would-be customers that are thrown into shopping for IT security gear who know nothing at all about it. These are people who just want to protect their customers in the coffee shop, and don’t have the time or interest in becoming a networking expert. They just want a machine they can plug in and it does it’s job. Meraki is perfect for such people.

Meraki Cloud Management

The dashboard for Meraki to be a huge plus. It tends to be simpler to train new people on it, since it’s a 100% GUI solution. Either FortiGate or MX are quite capable a security appliances. But, if you have a complete Meraki stack, Meraki allows you to manage it all on the same dashboard. And since it’s cloud-based, this can be done anywhere, anytime. Real easy.

Fortinet’s ‘thing’

Fortinet is sort of the engineer’s firewall. Lock-down security, very granular control, blistering throughput speeds. And they pioneered Secure SD-WAN. It sounds like a marketing gimmick, but it’s not. Fortinet was the first to incorporate SD-WAN into it’s security fabric. Other vendors basically tacked security on to their SD-WAN feature after the fact, the other way around.

In short, Fortinet has a deeper security legacy than Meraki, with more specialists. And, FortiGates tend to have higher throughputs than comparable Meraki MX firewalls, but remember that raw throughput speeds are NOT the only important factor.

Play nice!

The Fortinet cloud ecosystem is a complete solution. For example, if you buy FortiSwitches, just put in the FortiGate firewall. The switches get all the policies and rules that you already have in the firewall. Unlike other vendors, FortiGate just connects the FortiSwitch to the Fortinet and that’s it.

FortiGate has good VPN, both IPSEC and SSL. Device ID is very flexible. This enables the creation of rules to regulate all sorts of devices that might show up on a network, especially via WiFi. And, the IPsec tunnels are very easily created,and play nicely with devices from other vendors.

So, Fortinet has local management (FortiGate + FortiManager). This give a degree of greater security and control. However, Meraki is backed by Cisco Umbrella, so HUGE intel, HUGE amount of data.

In summary, the answer to ‘Fortinet vs Meraki’ just depends on your requirements. Are you looking for the most secure all-in-one solution? Then look for a solution that has many security features. Things like firewall, VPN, AV, IPS, Anti-Spam, APT blocking, Threat detection & Response, and so on. But, be sure they do those things well, too. Or at least in your critical categories.

The winner… YOU!

On the other hand, are you looking for the easiest to manage solution? How are all the features managed? One console or multiple? One step or 10 steps to manage a feature? Do you need VPNs? How easy are they to setup? How important is centralized logging and monitoring? Tons of incoming intel and security features are a plus only if you need them.

Do you need multiple units? Can the config be copied from one to the other? Can policies be created and pushed to multiple devices? Do you need Networking features like SD-WAN?

An article like on the subject of ‘Fortinet vs Meraki’ can’t possibly answer all your questions, but hopefully it will help you ask the right ones. And we have a great deal of experience with both Fortinet and Meraki. They are fantastic brands, with different ‘personalities.’ And we know them both well. So why not give Corporate Armor a call at 877-449-0458, or reach out at [email protected]? Thanks for reading!

ComparablesFortiGate 40FMeraki MX75
Firewall Throughput5 Gbps1 Gbps
IPsec VPN Throughput4.4 Gbps500 Mbps
Threat Prevention600 Mbps750 Mbps
Interfaces5x1GbE, 1 USB, 1 Console5xGbE RJ45