Unveiling the Strengths: Fortinet NGFW vs. Palo Alto Networks NGFW

| Updated on April 1, 2024
NGFW vs. Palo Alto
Fortinet NGFW vs. Palo Alto

Fortinet NGFW offers physical firewalls and cloud security solutions. They have consistently ranked highly in NSS lab tests, with customers citing top performance and excellent customer support.

Their NGFW products organically converge networking and security with built-in SD-WAN, ZTNA application gateway, and 5G wireless WAN. This eliminates costly third-party software and hardware.

In this article, we will discuss the strengths of both the Fortinet and Palo Alto Firewalls and how they will benefit you in the cybersecurity space.

AI/ML Powered Security

Palo Alto Networks and Fortinet provide a broad range of next-generation firewall solutions for enterprise needs. Their solutions include edge local area network (LAN) security, voice and fax communication security, software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN), and advanced threat protection.

Both vendors offer NGFW solutions in both hardware devices and virtual appliances. Their NGFWs are designed for simplicity, automation, and integration with the rest of their security fabric. 

While both of them provide the same services, there is also a difference between Fortinet vs. Palo Alto Networks NGFW, FortiGate NGFWs’ integrated SD-WAN, ZTNA application gateway, 5G Wireless WAN, and other features naturally combine networking and security.

On the other hand, converged networking with NGFW is something other than what Palo Alto Networks can provide. Their SD-WAN is separate from the NGFW and does not integrate with it.

The FortiGate NGFW includes ML-powered security with inline deep learning to prevent unknown threats. It also uses external dynamic lists(EDL) to block DNS traffic that might contain malicious URLs.

Both companies provide firewalls as physical or virtual devices as well as cloud-based firewall options. Palo Alto also sells physical appliances, it emphasizes its cloud solutions more than Fortinet, which is more proud of its network appliances than any of its other products.

Advanced Threat Protection

Next-generation firewalls have become a true security multi-tool, capable of performing many tasks such as VPN, secure remote access and advanced threat prevention. These features include sandboxing, advanced malware scanning, and global threat prevention.

FortiGate NGFW presents the best-in-class defense with advanced detection and blocking capabilities. Its single-pass architecture delivers high throughput and incorporates unprecedented features without compromising performance. 

In fact, in a recent NSS lab test, it outperformed every other firewall tested. Its cloud lineup and AIOps support are also standout features. Lastly, it has impressive functionality for distributed and branch offices and enterprises with demanding requirements for speed, scale, and harsh environments.

Enhanced Visibility & Control

In a time when threats and malware are becoming harder to detect, NGFWs need to provide more than just basic network security. They need to be able to perform various tasks, such as decryption, deep packet inspection post-decryption, identification of command and control activities, downloads of malware, and threat correlation.

Fortinet NGFWs give complete visibility and protection, including ML-powered FortiGuard services, centralized network security administration, and the latest PAN-OS technology to future-proof your business. 

They can also secure the edge at any scale and deliver performance-intensive services without consuming bandwidth. This is possible because of the high security compute rating and the ability to inspect data and workloads at network speeds.


Fortinet offers a single management platform to secure and control distributed networks, unlike other firewall vendors.

Organizations gain visibility into their attack surface, accelerate zero-trust initiatives with secure SD-WAN and unified access security capabilities, and benefit from Wildfire sandboxing and advanced malware prevention.

Comparison of NGFWs (NSS Labs testing results)

Fortinet NGFW provides scalable performance for the most demanding environments. 

Their purpose-built security processors deliver the industry’s highest security compute rating to inspect, decrypt, and secure traffic at network speeds, meeting escalating workload demands. 

In addition, they offer a comprehensive portfolio of security tools to secure every edge of the network and reduce complexity with single-pane-of-glass management.

Easy Deployment

In the present digital world, threats can attack from multiple levels of the OSI model. Identifying these attacks requires advanced defense capabilities such as decryption at scale, post-decryption inspection, URL filtering, IPS and anti-malware detection, sandboxing, and threat correlation.

With industry-leading performance and innovative security and networking convergence, Fortinet NGFWs are the perfect network firewall for hybrid and hyper-scale data centers. Fortinet’s purpose-built security processors (SPUs) deliver scalable and low latency to reduce the cost of ownership while providing unparalleled visibility, control, and security effectiveness.

Unlike other competitors, Fortinet does not artificially inflate its security effectiveness numbers by excluding specific categories of attacks. Third-party testing labs independently validate their results.

Advanced Network Management

Fortinet NGFWs organically converge networking and security, allowing you to manage everything in one platform – from your firewall to SD-WAN, ZTNA application gateway, and 5G wireless WAN. This will enable organizations to consolidate their security solutions, decrease complexity, improve productivity, and reduce operational costs.

FortiGate NGFWs stop patient zero with industry-first real-time shielding against advanced threats and evasive attacks without compromising performance. Stop 40% more zero-days than the industry with inline machine learning and continuous trust verification.

Controlling SaaS applications and visibility is a significant strength for Fortinet virtual firewalls, and it provides granular policy and SSL decryption capabilities. Its UI is also easy to use and intuitive.

Zero Touch Deployment

The Fortinet Security Fabric lets you control and protect cloud apps with dynamic segmentation. The NGFW can also prevent lateral movement across your network and defend against advanced threats with threat intelligence updates.

ML-powered NGFWs provide real-time prevention against never-before-seen attacks. This is achieved through inline machine learning.

Fortinet presents a complete line of security products, including hardware and virtual appliances and a comprehensive network management system called Panorama. They also give you an identity-based approach to security with their NGFW and Prisma cloud. In addition, they present endpoint security and a cloud security platform called Cortex.

Virtual Patching

Fortinet’s NGFW solutions provide complete safeguarding AI/ML-powered FortiGuard security services, centralized network security management and automation, multi-cloud support, unified access control, and WildFire sandboxing capabilities. They also feature a natively integrated proxy and automated threat intelligence sharing with security fabric integration.

Palo Alto integrates firewall, IPS, anti-malware, and AV into a single platform that can be extended with Cortex for endpoint safety. This gives you a holistic view of the entire network, including IoT devices and cloud applications. This allows you to detect and prevent attacks that may have bypassed traditional protection.

Multi-Functional Security

Unlike other vendors, Fortinet offers a complete solution suite for networking and security. This includes NGFWs, SD-WAN, cloud capabilities, and management. Its centralized management appliance (Panorama) allows customers to monitor network ecosystems and endpoints, including SaaS applications.

In addition, Fortinet enables multi-functional security at the network edge with its patented security processors. This allows them to deliver industry-leading threat protection and SSL inspection performance for physical and virtual firewalls. 

This contrasts with other vendors who separate networking and security functions in separate appliances. This increases network complexity and latency, resulting in a less secure overall security posture.

Related Post

By subscribing, you accepted our Policy