John Maddison, SVP, Products and Solutions
Software-defined wide area networks (SD-WAN), enabled by an agile, flexible, and scalable networking approach, have emerged as the answer to the modern needs of bandwidth-hungry SaaS applications and cloud-based distributed branches of an enterprise. Unfortunately, while most SD-WAN discussions in an enterprise are usually centered on network performance and throughput, the security aspects of an SD-WAN solution often takes a backseat. John Maddison, SVP, Products and Solutions of Fortinet, explains that instead SD-WAN vendors tend to approach the security challenge of protecting data in motion across a WAN by simply embedding basic security features into their offerings that are localized to Layer 3 network controls, which does not really address the sophisticated security challenges today’s networks are battling. Moreover, while it’s the networking team that selects and deploys an SD-WAN solution, the security team is responsible for securing it, most often by deploying a separate next-generation firewall (NGFW) that may or may not become a bottleneck for the services that the SD-WAN solution was deployed to provide. Additionally, since these two separate teams are required to manage two different types of siloed products using completely separate management consoles, not only the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the solution often exceeds what the CIO bargained for, but visibility and control often still remain constricted.
There is another approach. By consolidating security and advanced SD-WAN capabilities into a single, unified device, some next-generation firewalls are rising to the challenge. Fortinet offers FortiGate firewalls that are suited to cater to the efficiency expected of today’s networks. The SD-WAN-enabled NGFW, FortiGate, plays a leading role in protecting the critical infrastructure, from Layer 3
through Layer 7, while supporting the full range of functionality demanded by SD-WAN administrators. This approach improves WAN efficiency without compromising on security by enabling customers to dynamically distribute applications across multiple links, monitor those links to ensure optimum performance levels, while simultaneously inspecting traffic and enforcing security policies at every point along the SD-WAN connection.
“The two traditionally distinct markets of the distributed enterprise and branch office are starting to merge due to the increased adoption of SD-WAN,” says Maddison. “Integrating SD-WAN technology with next generation firewall (NGFW) security reduces the complexity and costs for these segments by optimizing transport, prioritizing applications, and providing high availability to business-critical traffic, while actively inspecting and monitoring that traffic for suspicious activity.
Fortinet’s secure SD-WAN capabilities are focused on optimizing transport, prioritizing applications, and providing high availability to business-critical traffic, all seamlessly integrated into a secure next-generation security appliance
All while continuing to deliver high performance and extensive WAN and LAN connectivity options.”
With such capabilities in place inside a single, integrated solution, enterprise branch customers can provide direct connections to cloud applications to improve performance and productivity, reduce costs by replacing traditional Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) with a cost-effective WAN solution, all while increasing the security of that information as it moves across the extended network. By integrating security and WAN functionality into a single platform, Fortinet helps companies streamline their operations by reducing the complexity with a single pane of glass controller and simplified deployment procedure.
Fortinet augments its SD-WAN capabilities through the Fortinet Security Fabric, an integrated, automated, and broad architecture designed to deliver distributed security for global enterprises providing protections against threats from IoT and remote devices, through the infrastructure core and into the cloud. The Security Fabric enables distributed enterprises to reduce complexity and simplify implementation of the advanced network architectures needed to compete in the current digital economy.
In tandem with burgeoning dynamic networks, Fortinet’s Security Fabric has been strengthened with the latest version of their network security operating system, FortiOS 6.0. Built on integrated and automated security framework, FortiOS 6.0 has more than 200 new features and capabilities that guarantee increased automation of security operations and advanced protection features to tackle the attacks lurking out on the horizon. The operating system delivers advanced security across the entire network by integrating platforms that were siloed by previous security solutions. This allows the Fortinet OS to have better visibility of the entire network and support faster deployment of resources if a threat is detected. The automation-driven security system in the operating system can learn trends and even anticipate security events over time.“As the world’s most deployed network security operating system, FortiOS improves the efficiency of the Security Fabric through broad visibility, integrated detection of advanced threats, and automated response, combined with the continuous trust assessment required to secure today’s digital businesses.”