Network Firewalls

The Top 10 Alternatives To Fortinet Next-Generation Firewall

Discover the best alternatives to Fortinet Next-Generation Firewall. Explore features such as intrusion prevention and detection, SSL traffic inspection, URL filtering, SD-Wan support, and more.

The Top 10 Alternatives To Fortinet Next-Generation Firewall include:
  • 1. Barracuda CloudGen Firewall
  • 2. Check Point Quantum Network Security
  • 3. Cisco Secure Firewall
  • 4. Forcepoint Next Generation Firewalls
  • 5. Hillstone Networks Next Generation Firewall Platform
  • 6. Juniper Networks Next-Gen Firewalls SRX Series
  • 7. Palo Alto Networks VM-Series Virtual Firewalls
  • 8. Sophos Firewall
  • 9. SonicWall TZ Series Next Generation Firewall
  • 10. WatchGuard Firebox M-Series

Fortinet is an industry leader in the cybersecurity sector, with a particular focus on their world-class firewall solutions. However, Fortinet Next-Generation Firewall is a highly powerful, complex solution that often requires extensive onboarding and a large learning curve when it comes to deployment and subsequent management. 

While the product is world-class and certainly robust, it might not be the perfect fit for your environment. Either it’s more than some organizations and their teams can chew, it doesn’t quite offer all the capabilities you need, or it has more capabilities than you actually need.

Luckily, there’s a whole world of alternative firewalls out there just waiting to be discovered. Some are more suited for MSPs, some for SMBs, and some for global enterprises. Some are suitable for certain industry sectors, while others aren’t. 

In this article, we’ll explore the top alternatives to Fortinet Next-Generation Firewall. We’ll look at features such as intrusion prevention and detection, SSL traffic inspection, URL filtering, SD-Wan support, and more. We’ll give you some background information on the provider and the key features of each solution, as well as the type of customer that they are most suitable for.

Barracuda Logo

The CloudGen Firewall from Californian vendor Barracuda is a cloud-native firewall solution that delivers world-class network security for cloud, multi-cloud, and hybrid environments, and can also be deployed on-prem. Admins can manage the CloudGen Firewall through the Cloud Control feature, which they can access remotely. Cloud Control allows for configuration and management of all firewall activity, such as deploying software updates, networking, managing access policies, and more. Users have praised the level of protection from threats and vulnerabilities, though some had a learning curve with deployment and configuration.

CloudGen Firewall offers real-time protection from known and unknown threats, vulnerabilities, and exploits through a mix of machine learning and multi-layered security. The firewall performs deep packet inspection into every packet that passes into the network. IPS and IDS work in tandem to prevent SQL injections, lateral movement, DDoS and DoS attacks, backdoor attacks, and other highly sophisticated attacks. Multi-factor authentication can be applied through the network. All SSL encrypted web traffic can be inspected and monitored through a consolidation of various security measures.

The platform protects against botnets and spyware by blocking any malicious websites and servers using DNS sinkholing technology, which monitors outbound DNS requests that pass through the firewall. Other features include supported BYOD and remote access, automation APIs, real time reporting, dynamic bandwidth and latency detection, application-based routing, and secure SD-WAN support.

A powerful yet complex platform, we would recommend it as a strong alternative to Fortinet Next-Generation Firewall for large organizations that have to manage an extensive cloud or multi-cloud network and have a large number of remote users.

Check Point

Israeli cybersecurity provider Check Point is another industry favorite. Their Quantum firewall range is particularly popular, with many users liking the fact that it’s a highly scalable solution that is also simultaneously easy to manage. The Quantum series has a range of deployment options possible, catering to on-prem, SaaS, and cloud environments (including public, private, hybrid, and multi-cloud environments). It works well with a range of public cloud environments, including AWS, Microsoft Azure, VMware Cloud on Google, Cloud Alibaba, and more.

Quantum offers flexible packages that cater to the size and need of your company. Also on offer is the Quantum Lightspeed series, which seeks to deliver faster, lower latency firewall capabilities than the original Quantum series. The Quantum series leverages two of Check Point’s high class security packages: next-gen firewall and Check Point Sandblast, the latter of which delivers zero-day threat protection. Sandblast performs threat extraction and threat emulation capabilities to tackle these unknown threats.

Configurations are highly customizable, as is thebuilt-in IPS feature. Management, updates, and general visibility into the network’s security can be performed via the intuitive and navigable admin console, which provides a single, consolidated view of all firewall activities. Logging capabilities are extensive, with detailed reviewing and reporting logs available.

Check Point’s next-gen firewalls have a range of sizes and options, catering from SMBs to large-scale enterprises. We would recommend their firewalls for any sized organization of any industry looking for a user-friendly, navigable alternative to Fortinet Next-Generation Firewall.

Cisco Logo

Headquartered in California is industry giant Cisco. Forrester recognized Cisco as a “leader” in the firewall sector in 2020, and users praise it’s ease of integration and deployment, quality of evaluation and contracting, and an overall strong positive experience with Cisco’s support team.

Proactive and defensive, Cisco Secure Firewall delivers world-class security for a range of environments, including on-prem, SaaS, and cloud networks, including multi and hybrid.  The Secure Firewall Management Center helps to centralize and streamline management from a single, integrated console. Cisco’s Next-Generation Intrusion Prevention System (NGIPS) ensures heightened visibility into all traffic, encrypted or otherwise, defending your network from known and unknown threats. The cloud-native Defense Orchestrator feature allows for admins to be able to manage security policies and access controls in a non-complicated, overarching way.

Cisco’s Secure Firewall is particularly useful in allowing users to work remotely safely by enabling VPN remote access, with employees also able to access the internet this way to complete their work. Standard features include malware protection, URL filtering, application visibility and control, zero degradation, integrated Cisco IDS, and more.

Cisco’s firewall solutions are powerful and effective. While the company usually caters for larger enterprises, they have a range of firewall series’ that suit a range of organizations, from small businesses to industry giants. Therefore, we particularly recommend Cisco as a strong alternative to Fortinet Next-Generation Firewall for small- to mid-sized businesses looking for protection that’s all-encompassing and easy to manage.

Forcepoint logo

Industry leader Forcepoint’s provide a series of next-gen firewall products that prioritize flexibility and scalability without compromising on security. They’re highly integrable solutions that don’t disrupt existing workflows, and upgrades can be performed without causing downtime. World-class security is part and parcel, with VPN, anti-evasion techniques, encrypted inspection, IPS, application proxies, and SD-WAN built into all models.

Management of Forcepoint’s firewalls is streamlined through centralized and clean dashboards, with granular controls and detailed analytics and reporting. Management of multiple firewalls at once does not compromise performance. The level of security is highly praised by users, as well as the lack of need for local administration–troubleshooting and log diagnostics can be investigated from the security management center. Users also praise the ease with which they can upgrade their solution, though some users have noted complications and a learning curve with initial onboarding and deployment.

Features include anti malware controls, URL filtering, advanced malware detection, IPS inspection, SD-WAN multi-link optimization, server load balancing, and web security cloud service chaining. Performance is strong, with unlimited VLAN tagging and TLS 1.2 inspection on all models. Varied performance specifications leave a wide range of options for various organizations of differing sizes and needs. Models are highly configurable, customizable, and come with flexible upgrade options, meaning solutions can be upgraded as and when needed to extend their lifetime.

A useful tool when managing multiple networks, though with a reported learning curve on initial deployment, we would recommend Forcepoint’s firewall solutions as a strong alternative to Fortinet Next-Generation Firewall for enterprise level organizations with available resource to dedicate to the solution’s deployment and ongoing management.

hillstone logo

Based in Suzhou, China is Hillstone Networks, a cybersecurity company with a particular focus on next-gen firewall solutions that deliver powerful and stable performance. Hillstone Network’s Next Generation Firewall products have been received favorably by users, who have praised their firewall series’ for their simplicity and ease when it comes to deploying, management, and configuration. Their series of firewalls all perform more or less the same, though certain offerings have certain nuances to make them more suitable for targeted companies. In particular, the Hillstone X-Series Data Center Next-Generation Firewall is designed specifically for organizations that have to deal with large volumes of company and client data. The T-Series iNGFW uses threat detection, behavioral analytics, and a threat correlation analysis engine. Other firewalls under the Hillstone belt have slightly different capabilities, offering a wide range of options to companies. All firewalls have a large range of module options and varying specifications.

All firewalls offered by Hillstone Networks are high performing, with clean, intuitive dashboards that are easy to understand, with granular controls and detailed reporting. Multiple firewalls can be managed from a central console. High-density ports are featured in all, ensuring strong access capabilities and large storage options. The sandboxing feature prevents against zero-day and unknown threats, harnessing global threat intelligence feeds to assess and block threats in real-time. A large portion of the firewall solutions on offer support a zero-trust architecture, with managed application access via granular controls and continuous verification.

Other features offered across the firewall range include link load and server load balancing, remote user authentication, single sign-on capabilities, IPS, threat correlation analytics, advanced threat detection based on behavioral analytics, abnormal behavior detection, SSL description, URL filtering, antivirus, antimalware, and endpoint identification and management capabilities.

We would recommend Hillstone Networks’ firewalls as a strong alternative to Fortinet for SMBs and larger enterprises in the government, finance, and legal sectors. Organizations with specific needs such as cloud, multi-cloud, or hybrid environments would also stand to benefit from these solutions, as would any organization handling high volumes of data.

juniper logo

Another vendor with a series of powerful firewalls in their toolbox is California-based Juniper Networks. Their SRX Series is a collection of adaptive yet robust next-generation firewalls that have a range of deployment options and sizes, meaning organizations of any size will be able to find their perfect fit. A virtual version of the SRX is also available. Juniper’s firewall solutions are flexible and highly scalable–particularly the virtual option. Users have praised the SRX series for its ease of deployment and subsequent management and configuration. It integrates well into existing environments, and users particularly like the API integration with automation tools.

The SRX Series aims to deliver next-gen security and SD-WAN capabilities within a comprehensive, fully kitted out firewall solution. Pervasive and adaptive SSL VPN secures access for remote users and on/off box automation allows for remote and automated configuration of network and securities policies on associated devices.

As a next-gen firewall solution, the SRX Series includes the standard NGFW capabilities such as IPS, user ID and role-based access control to prevent lateral movement, anti-spam, anti-virus, anti-malware, web filtering, application security. SD-WAN consolidates control over WAN connections through various types of network interfaces. Advanced threat prevention is achieved through a strong set of security capabilities that include malware sandboxing, encrypted traffic insights, and extensive threat intelligence feeds.

Juniper’s firewall models hold appeal in being API-driven and for the range and scalability of deployment options. We would recommend Juniper’s SRX Series Firewalls as a strong alternative to Fortinet Next-Generation Firewall for organizations at enterprise level as well as SMBs.

Palo Alto Logo

Another leading firewall provider is Palo Alto Networks. Their contribution to this list is the VM-Series firewall–a VM-focused next-gen firewall. The VM-Series offers all the capabilities offered in Palo Alto’s regular NGFW firewalls, except this is offered in a VM form, making it highly scalable and more suited to cloud environments. Its virtual nature enables a range of flexible deployment options, including on-prem or cloud, including hybrid and multi-cloud environments. Updates and management are streamlined through a navigable, intuitive dashboard. Firewalls that are deployed in multiple places can be managed from a singular console.

The VM-Series also draws on zero-trust when it comes to managing access control policies for users, applications, and devices, preventing lateral movement within the network. It’s supported through integrated IPS, which delivers enhanced segmentation and micro-segmentation. IPS and sandboxing capabilities operate in real time to protect your network from known and unknown threats, respectively. Every packet that passes through the network, either inbound or outbound, is deeply inspected for any type of threats.

Outbound traffic and data exfiltration is prevented by strong integrated data loss prevention features and can be managed via granular application-level controls. The firewalls are able to decrypt traffic for outbound content inspection to further ward against data loss. Other important features include URL filtering, DNS Security, threat management, IDS, and SD-WAN support.

The level of protection and prevention delivered by the VM-Series helps companies stay in line with regulatory compliance standards, which include, HIPAA, PCI DSS, and the SWIFT Customer Security Controls Framework.

A powerful solution that can sometimes be complex to deploy and manage, we would recommend Palo Alto’s VM-Series firewalls as an alternative to Fortinet for large to enterprise level organizations with cloud networks and which must comply with strict regulatory data protection standards.

Sophos Logo

Sophos is a cybersecurity company founded and based in Abingdon, United Kingdom. Eponymously titled Sophos Firewall, their firewall product is a next-generation firewall that leverages machine learning to identify and block cyberthreats. Clever and intuitive,Sophos Firewall is highly regarded in the cybersecurity industry, with users praising it for its in-depth filtering and its user-friendly interface. The solution offers flexible deployment options, including appliance, virtual, and cloud. The entire firewall is managed centrally from the Sophos Firewall’s Control Center, which offers enhanced visibility into the entire network and subsequent firewall.

Alerts and warnings are assessed by level of urgency and are displayed in a way that is clear and easy for admins to notice, so they prioritize responding to bigger threats and problems. It responds to incidents in real-time, supported by the Synchronized Security feature which works in tandem with the Sophos Security HeartbeatTM tool, which shares intel between endpoints in your network and your firewall. Other notable features include the optimization of your organization’s SD-WAN network. Standard features include deep packet inspection, which helps to deliver TLS 1.3 inspection, next-gen IPS, zero-day threat prevention, block lists based on countries, and more.

Email and data are protected from spam, phishing, and data losses with a consolidated protection platform that seamlessly blends email encryption, data loss prevention, and anti-spam capabilities. A non-exhaustive list of features includes HTTPS scanning, static and dynamic file analysis, cloud sandboxing, and flexible user authentication options.

Sophos Firewall is a fully kitted out solution with endless configurations and helpful tools and features. We would recommend it for organizations of any size and of any industry looking for a user-friendly yet powerful alternative to Fortinet.

Sonicwall Logo

Headquartered in San Jose, California, SonicWall is a company specializing in firewalls and network security tools. Their TZ Series next-gen firewall is a light weight, yet powerful, firewall solution that is best suited to small to medium sized businesses. The firewall can be deployed in just a short space of time and is easily scalable.

SonicWall’s TZ Series firewall is robust, offering a range of attractive features. Decryption and inspection of TSL/SSL traffic is performed in real-time. Deep memory inspection and advanced threat protection help to defend your network against sophisticated and unknown attacks. Hidden threats can be detected and removed through the firewall’s VPN. Gigabit and multi-gigabit ethernet interfaces ensure that the solution doesn’t impact network performance. Protection can be extended to remote and hybrid workers with remote access supported by native 802.11ac wireless SSL VPN.

Most notably, SonicWall’s firewalls come with a network security manager that gives overarching, penetrative insight into your firewall and network. It streamlines management for admins, whocan manage potentially hundreds of firewalls from a single console. These firewalls can be deployed and managed from this console remotely, with technical support available to streamline the deployment and initial configuration process. Detailed analytics and reporting provide insights for admins to make better informed decisions and actions. Audited reporting can be automated through this feature as well.

All firewall solutions from SonicWall are highly customizable, with additional features available as add-ons. These add-ons include an advanced gateway security suite, advanced threat protection (which includes cloud-based, multi-engine sandboxing to protect your network from zero-day threats), content filtering service, and an anti-spam service.

SonicWall’s next-gen firewalls have a range of options and sizes, suiting organizations of any size. The TZ Series is designed specifically for small organizations, and as such we recommend it to SMBs looking for an intuitive, easy-to-deploy alternative to Fortinet. We would particularly recommend the solution for organizations in the healthcare, finance, legal, and governmental industries.


WatchGuard Technologies is a cybersecurity company founded and headquartered in Seattle, Washington. Specialists in network security, their Firebox firewall solutions are highly regarded amongst users. WatchGuard is aware that attackers are turning to SMBs as they’re perceived as easier targets with less robust security; as such, the Firebox Series has a range of sizes and options but doesn’t compromise on security no matter the product purchased. Users have praised the Firebox firewalls for their ease of basic deployments, though some noted that anything slightly more involved can become complicated and require a bit of a learning curve.

Admins are provided with a full panel dashboard that is navigable and intuitive to use, with extensive insight into the firewall and detailed analytics and reporting. Management and configuration of policies is also streamlined and is performed from one dashboard. The M-Series offers “enterprise grade” prevention, detection, and remediation capabilities. Larger variations of the firewall include built-in PoE+ ports. Compliance reporting is also extensive, with the platform also being PCI and HIPAA compliant.

The Firebox M-Series harnesses all the industry standards expected. Features include stateful packet inspection, TLS decryption, proxy firewalls, application proxies (including HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, DNS, TCP/UDP, and more), threat protection (from DoS and DDoS attacks, malformed packets, etc), antivirus, site-to-site VPN, remote access VPN, and enhanced visibility through the WatchGuard Cloud. The WatchGuard Cloud feature delivers extensive insights into the health of your network and firewall, providing round-the-clock reporting.

We would recommend WatchGuard’s Firebox firewalls for enterprise level organizations and SMBs looking for an alternative to Fortinet Next-Generation Firewall.

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