Enabling networking and security convergence

Sean Campbell, Director Canadian Channels, Fortinet

A recent survey showed that enterprises have, on average, deployed 45 security tools, which require coordination across several different solutions when a cyber security incident occurs. Unsurprisingly, the survey found that dwell time for security breaches is now measured in months, and the escalating cost in the United States per breach is now upwards of $8.6 million.

In this new reality, a convergence networking and security platform offers an attractive way to combat vendor sprawl and device proliferation. Partners able to provide solutions that integrate critical security functionality and IT to protect the entire network will have the advantage as customers look to streamline and modernize their security platform.  

Evolution of integrated approaches 

The road to an integrated and modern platform is often challenging. Consider the widespread adoption of Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW), introduced to reduce costs and simplify setups by combining disparate products. While a step in the right direction, interoperability remained a problem. Often the technologies pre-loaded onto the NGFW (firewall, IPSVPNweb filtering, antivirus, and sandboxes) could use different operating systems and management consoles or included solutions of varying quality. 

Today, organizations face even more complexity. The traditional perimeter has been fragmented by multi-cloud environments, physical and virtual data centers, and distributed branch offices. On top of this, many organizations continue to struggle with work-from-anywhere (WFA) solutions. While SD-WAN makes it possible to provide a consistent user experience for employees working from home, the office, or anywhere else, most SD-WAN solutions don’t have integrated security which can open customers up to new threats. 

An integrated approach with zero-trust network access (ZTNA) for remote access combined with a next-gen firewall-based SD-WAN solution in a single platform can eliminate device sprawl and enable the enforcement of one policy consistently across all edges to protect the entire attack surface. 

Broad, integrated, and automated

Ensuring a seamless and integrated security platform requires three key attributes – it must be broad, integrated and automated. Broad applicability means the solution can be deployed easily and consistently to every network edge. This approach enables consistent protection because it can function as a single, integrated system, either with a single operating system or by leveraging open APIs or common standards. 

When built correctly, interoperability can be maintained even when introducing tools from different vendors. Beyond security functions, this interoperability should include networking. At Fortinet, we call this security-driven networking. It enables security teams to respond dynamically to threats and network changes using AI and automation, controlled from a single management system that increases visibility and control across the entire distributed network.

Security-driven Networking enables partners to offer customers greater levels of protection while growing their own businesses. Helping customers converge networking and security also gives partners a way to demonstrate value by providing guidance when addressing hybrid IT challenges. To address these changes, partners must shape their product and service offerings around this type of convergence.

A New Security Approach

Security platforms must evolve beyond NGFW and SD-WAN to remain competitive and protect against business disruption. Organizations with fragmented and complex infrastructures will find it harder to deploy the new technologies and managed services needed to address the needs of today’s networks – and tomorrow’s. The solution is a singular platform that can ensure broad implementation, integrate security and networking, and leverage advanced automation built around machine learning and AI. This integrated platform offers centralized management and visibility and can automatically adapt to dynamic changes in the network. 

Partners able to provide an automated cybersecurity mesh platform will have the advantage as customers seek solutions that help them reduce complexity and cost, increase security effectiveness, and ensure their network can grow with their business. The convergence of security and networking can offer significant opportunities for partners, enabling them to meet their customers’ demands for performance and protection.

Sean Campbell is Director of Canadian Channels at Fortinet