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Fortinet Branches Out, Launches Client Solution

Antivirus firewall vendor Fortinet Thursday introduced a new VPN client software that features a host of sophisticated security capabilities.

The new solution, titled FortiClient Host Security Software, will provide users with a complete suite of new features, including an IPSec VPN client, personal firewall, antivirus protection, intrusion detection and Windows registry alerts.

The technology will be rolled out in three phases over the next 12 months, with the first installation, FortiClient 1.0, available to channel partners immediately.

The new FortiClient offering marks a new strategic direction for Fortinet--a direction that now focuses on integrated security instead of security outside the DMZ (the gray area between the firewall and the LAN), said Rick Kagan, director of marketing at the company.

"This is the first time we've announced a product at the same time as a product strategy," he said. "It's the beginning of an extensive product set that will address security from an integrated, enterprisewide approach."

FortiClient 1.0 will offer a full-featured IPSec VPN client that will allow remote users to set up secure, encrypted and authenticated tunnels through a FortiGate device and into a corporate network, Kagan said. In June, the company will release FortiClient 1.2, which will add antivirus software, personal firewalls, centralized VPN policy management and the Windows registry.

Finally, toward the end of the year, Kagan said Fortinet would release FortiClient 2.0, which will combine functionality seamlessly into one solution and enable different users to implement different security settings at different locations.

Reaction to the new solution among Fortinet channel partners was encouraging.

Dean Hawley, director of business development at 1Source , South San Francisco, said that the product signals a welcome expansion of Fortinet's corporate strategy into the endpoint-level intrusion detection and prevention market.

"The fact that Fortinet is now offering a client-level solution is an indication that they're ready to tackle all of the security issues in the enterprise," said Hawley, whose company also has participated in channel programs from Check Point Software Technologies and NetScreen. "With FortiClient, customers can literally turn to Fortinet for everything."

Steve Goldsby, CEO of Integrated Computer Solutions, Montgomery, Ala., said he believes that FortiClient will enable him to upsell to many of his existing customers, boosting his profit margin.

"For customers that are running [Fortinet's] gateway appliances, this is an easy solution to pitch," he said. "It gives you the best of the company's VPN client and the best of antivirus all in one cost-effective solution. It works spendidly with Fortinet boxes. If you could deal with one vendor and one product line at a good cost, wouldn't you?"

Pricing for the new solution varies by user base and was expected to range from $15.95 down to $1.95 per client.

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