Helping customers move towards Universal Zero Trust

Sean Campbell, Director Canadian Channels, Fortinet

Many Canadian CISOs are paying attention to the latest ransomware trends. In fact, a Global Threat Landscape Report from FortiGuard Labs indicates that ransomware threats continue to expand with more frequent attacks and new attack vectors. In the first six months of 2022 alone, FortiGuard identified a 100 percent increase in ransomware variants over the previous period.

This increase in ransomware has been fueled by the expansion of Ransomware as a Service (RaaS) and security gaps that have been exposed by the increase in hybrid work. CISOs need more robust security controls to combat ransomware, so it’s essential to move to the  zero-trust security model. And partners can help lead the charge. 

The Path to Zero Trust

Initiating a true zero-trust model requires a close examination of business processes and the development of rules that can be administered consistently across the expanded network. Partners can help guide customers as they integrate zero-trust principles into their security strategies, such as deploying Universal Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). 

  • MFA provides the foundation for access control and monitoring; it should be the first place to start for any organization implementing zero trust. 
  • With ZTNA, zero-trust principles are applied to application access to ensure all devices and users are authenticated and monitored every time they access an application. 

Both MFA and ZTNA are essential to improving security, and many partners who have customers that are looking for an easy transition away from VPNs are successfully introducing Fortinet Universal ZTNA. This solution provides ZTNA with a consistent user experience regardless of where users are located and where the resources and applications are situated, whether they’re in the cloud or on-premises. 

Help Your Customers Reduce Risk

Protecting against potential cyber threats requires a layered approach to security that partners are well-positioned to provide. Resellers and integrators have significant opportunities to help customers develop a security mix that reflects the velocity and sophistication of today’s threat landscape. 

Partners who help implement zero trust as a security strategy will reduce their customers’ risk and facilitate their digital initiatives and work-from-anywhere plans. By treating every person or device trying to connect to the network as a potential threat, zero-trust models enforce verification, and with segmentation in place, limit access to only the resources required by that specific user for a particular task. 

Zero trust approaches also can help combat one of the most significant risks to network security: human behavior. A recent Verizon 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report found that human error was a factor in more than 80 percent of breaches, and over half involved compromised credentials. By requiring MFA and using ZTNA to limit access to specific roles organizations can reduce risk. 

The Benefits of Zero Trust 

While transitioning from implicit trust to an explicit Zero Trust model is a top strategic concern, most organizations – over 80% according to a Zero Trust survey from Fortinet – have found it difficult to execute without the right solution. ZTNA has emerged as a top technology adopted by organizations as a first step to implementing zero trust principles to the corporate network.

A zero trust strategy can benefit organizations in any sector, particularly those with specific compliance requirements such as healthcare or telehealth providers. Zero-trust approaches provide increased protection and data security for organizations that must manage personal or sensitive data. 

Zero trust also is a key to protecting the network edge in hybrid cloud environments. A 2021 survey showed that 73 percent of enterprises use two public clouds and just over a quarter use three or more. Many companies also mix public clouds with private clouds, edge compute clouds, and on-premises environments. Although a hybrid cloud environment can have business benefits, it also expands the corporate attack surface, but by combining MFA and ZTNA, organizations can minimize risks. 

With Fortinet Universal ZTNA, Fortinet continues its legacy of delivering solutions that converge networking and security across its FortiGate platform. Unlike cloud-only ZTNA, Fortinet Universal ZTNA enables universal enforcement and the same user experience and security policies whether employees are located in offices, working remotely from home, or on the road. Customers with existing FortiGate and FortiClient investments already have what they need to start applying Fortinet Universal ZTNA. 

As the threat landscape continues to expand and attackers find innovative ways to infiltrate networks, zero-trust strategies will play an increasingly important role. Partners that can help customers implement the zero-trust philosophy through a mix of the right technologies, solutions, and services will have a competitive advantage. 

Sean Campbell is Director of Canadian Channels at Fortinet