Head-To-Head: Fortinet and Palo Alto Firewall Solutions

In our 5 Top Firewall Providers for 2019 post, we examined the prominent offerings and market conditions affecting key players in the firewall market.

Now, we’re providing a closer look at two of the top finishers: Fortinet and Palo Alto. Our goal: to provide further assistance in determining which firewall solution to choose.

What Users Say

Top IT review site offers an inside look at both Fortinet and Palo Alto thanks to hands-on reviews by the professionals who use them.

Overall User Rating
Fortinet: 4.5 out of 5
Palo Alto: 4.5 out of 5

Would Recommend
Fortinet: 85%
Palo Alto: 86%

Service + Support
Fortinet: 4.4 out of 5
Palo Alto: 4.4 out of 5

Our Take
We’re big fans of Gartner’s peer review compilations because they effectively aggregate user input. That’s always helpful in figuring out if a particular solution will work for you. The results you see, above, mean that either of the two solutions presented here may be considered viable.

Technical Overview

Below are the results of a carefully executed technical matchup between Fortinet vs. Palo Alto conducted by

Fortinet: 5,200 Mbps claimed; 6,753 Mbps when tested
Palo Alto: 7,500 Mbps claimed; 7,654 Mbps when tested

Fortinet: 7.16 μs for 256-byte packets
Palo Alto: 14.00 μs for 256-byte packets

Security Effectiveness
Fortinet: Overall effectiveness of 99.3%
Palo Alto: Overall effectiveness of 98.7%

Our Take
As we can see, the technical details favor Fortinet by a slim margin in’s overview (and by a wider-than-slim margin in latency).

It bears mentioning: the CTC Technologies experience with Palo Alto is nothing short of remarkable. In terms of performance, much can be gained when deploying a solution with specific enterprise needs in mind. To take nothing away from Fortinet: If base latency rates are a key deciding factor for you, this area is worth a closer look.

Effectiveness in combating cybercrime in today’s connected world cannot be overlooked. In any real world head-to-head matchup between these two vendors, however, cost factors into the equation. eSecurityPlanet looked at the cost between Fortinet and Palo Alto.

Fortinet: Entry-level hardware appliances — around $500; high-end hardware appliances —  around $350,000
Palo Alto: Entry-level hardware appliances — around $1,000; high-end hardware appliances — around $200,000

Total Cost of Ownership
Fortinet: Total cost of ownership — $2 per protected Mbps
Palo Alto: Total Cost of Ownership — $7 per protected Mbps

Our Take
There’s little question that Fortinet presents an affordable solution for many enterprises. Pricing varies significantly as you work toward an ideal customer profile, though, so weight the total cost of ownership figure determined by eSecurityPlanet appropriately.

In our experience, the cost to implement and maintain a firewall solution is proportionate with the size of the organization, the in-house resources available to support that solution, and the value of the data being protected.

The Firewall Solution for You

There are several capable firewall solutions available for your enterprise. Fortunately, there’s also plenty of information available online to help you make a decision.

We realize, however, that aggregating even the most voluminous online resource can only go so far. At some point, it’s critical to speak directly with experts available to help you come to the right decision.

At CTC Technologies, our team has collectively accumulated decades of experience supporting the cybersecurity needs of startups, small businesses, and large corporations. We invite you to contact us today to leverage that experience in helping select a firewall vendor.


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