Wednesday, May 20, 2009

FortiOS 4 - New Feature Spotlight - Application Control

One of the greatest new features in FortiOS 4 in my opinion is application control. Using application control you can now getter a better understanding of what your users are doing on a daily basis and you can control the applications which they are using. Application control not only gives you the ability to see what users are doing but it also allows you to block and in certain cases traffic shape the applications as well.

Most organizations today probably do not have a very good understanding of the types of applications in use. Application control gives you the ability to baseline application usage and to write policies around it.
As a simple example consider a business which permits port 80 for their employees. Instant Messaging applications are blocked by not permitting any traffic other than HTTP. Management is starting to get concerned that people are spending too much time using web based instant messaging clients to get around this restriction. In the past there was no real way to tell the two apart. Now with application control Fortinet is building on their IPS signatures to let you determine if users are simply browsing the web or using Facebook Chat. IT now has the ability to block any unwanted web based chat clients.

Fortinet already has a list of over 1000 applications which they can distinguish today. They are categorized so you can easily build them into your policies. If you need additional applications recognized you can easily submit them at the FortiGuard Center ( Updates can be pushed down to your firewall via IPS signature packages and no longer require a firmware upgrade.

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