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Fortinet SD-WAN: Now Extended to Rugged, Remote Locations

The platform security player is demoing two new ruggedized products to its FortiGate 60 next-generation firewall for SD-WAN series to address harsh IT environments with unique space, power, security, and environmental requirements.

Fortinet is bringing SD-WAN to the harshest of environments, including oil rigs, electrical substations, and manufacturing floors.

The platform security vendor and newly-minted Gartner Magic Quadrant WAN Edge Infrastructure leader on Wednesday introduced two new ruggedized products to its FortiGate 60 next-generation firewall for SD-WAN series -- the FortiGate Rugged 60F and FortiGate Rugged 60F with built-in LTE – The two new appliances add integrated, advanced security and SD-WAN to operational technology (OT) networks in any location, the company said.

Operational and edge environments are generating data that needs to be collected, in some cases, for the first time, said However, factors such as space, power, and the surrounding environment must be considered, said Peter Newton, senior director of products at Fortinet.

The latest release demonstrates Fortinet’s long engagement with the OT space, Newton said. “We were able to pull together these capabilities and put them in a form factor with the right features that are relevant to the customer base. We’re the only ones that have brought together the security, the SD-WAN, and the LTE, all in a rugged package that makes sense for operators,” he said.

[Related: Fortinet Sees Surging SMB Demand As Remote Work Rises]

For industries such as manufacturing, power and utilities, and other critical infrastructure that has distributed locations, these businesses used to require pricy MPLS circuits for secure and reliable communications, but SD-WAN has become the go-to solution for operational technology environments, Fortinet said.

The two latest firewalls will let companies and partners bring SD-WAN to challenging operational environments or remote locations that aren’t controlled and account for factors such as ranging temperatures and vibrations or movement that can wreak havoc on IT gear that isn’t ruggedized, Newton said.

“We’re excited to be able to offer this new capability to OT operators because we’re already seeing them embrace SD-WAN as a part of their operations. They see the benefits of reliable connectivity using lower cost means,” he said. ”We’re reducing the number of boxes needed at these remote locations.”

Partners serving OT operators can now expand their offerings, Newton said. “They can give OT operators something they haven’t seen before; a solution for deploying SD-WAN out to remote locations … and areas that don’t have environmentally-controlled conditions. It’s a great opportunity to meet an unmet customer need for our channel partners.”

Fortinet partners, especially MSPs, have the option to take ownership of the gear and sell it as a service, Newton said. “This does enable partners to offer a new service that hasn’t previously been available.”

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Fortinet does 100 percent of its business through the channel, the company said.

The FortiGate Rugged 60F is designed for smaller OT sites and settings that require different mounting and power options than found in traditional IT wiring closets, Fortinet said. The FortiGate Rugged 60F with built-in LTE lets customers harness 3G and 4G cellular connectivity as an option. Once 5G is widely-available, Fortinet is planning another product to include this new form of cellular data connection, Newton said.

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