Fortinet Extends Security Fabric To The Cloud, Creating New Cloud Security Opportunities For Partners

Fortinet is expanding its Security Fabric to the cloud, announcing on Tuesday the launch of a new, cloud access security broker solution, public cloud integrations, and SD-WAN capabilities.

The extension is part of Fortinet's FortiOS 5.6 release, which was first announced in early March. Fortinet has now announced that it is extending its virtual FortiGate capabilities with performance to meet both private and public cloud needs.

Fortinet also announced it is enhancing its capabilities specifically around the public cloud, announcing that its solutions are now available on the Microsoft Azure Marketplace and that it is extending its orchestration and automation capabilities around AWS, where it had already been integrated. John Maddison, senior vice president of products and solutions at Fortinet, said the company will continue to be "aggressive on roadmaps" around public cloud providers.

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Fortinet also announced the launch of the FortiCASB, a cloud access security brokerage solution at the end of the second quarter. The FortiCASB offering provides customers and partners with an interface to gain visibility and control over SaaS applications. Fortinet developed the CASB solution internally, Maddison said in an interview with CRN.

Finally, Fortinet added new SD-WAN features and functionality for the operating system. The new capabilities include centralized management, orchestration, zero-touch deployment, link load balancing and health monitoring, dynamic SaaS application database, IPSec VPN tunneling, and prioritized business applications.

Fortinet's Maddison said the new enhancements are evidence that Fortinet recognizes that customers need a single set of solutions that let them secure their data as it moves into public and private clouds.

"What customers are trying to do is make sure they can provide a single risk management framework all the way across – all the way from Internet of Things to the most disparate cloud," Maddison said. "That's a big focus area for us."

Justin Kallhoff, CEO of Infogressive, a Lincoln, Neb.-based Fortinet partner, said it was good to see Fortinet expanding its business around cloud security.

"They’ve really doubled down on that area," Kallhoff said.

Kallhoff said cloud security is one area that his MSSP business is looking to "get smarter around," as more clients look to embrace cloud solutions. He said it is key for a business like his to provide value for clients around the cloud with new solutions like these, or else they might go directly to a cloud provider marketplace.

The launch builds on a viable integrated security strategy at Fortinet, which the company calls the Security Fabric. Maddison said the latest launch helps further extend that strategy to provide more integrated security options around the cloud.

"If you look at the fabric our goal is to cover the entire attack surface ... each of these areas continues to evolve from an infrastructure perspective. The way this fits in is it really beefs up the cloud component, both SaaS, and visibility through the CASB, public cloud, private cloud … and also starts to migrate some of the network capabilities," Maddison said.

Maddison said this is a "big play" for partners to be able to build out cloud capabilities, and then provide security for public cloud, private cloud, SD-WAN or cloud applications through a cloud access security broker solution. He said partners can now provide a "single policy and risk framework" across all of these areas.

Maddison said the new solutions would be managed with FortiManager from a single management console for endpoint, network and cloud capabilities. He said that would be complemented with an additional cloud console for the CASB service, which will be integrated back into the FortiManager. Maddison said the single console is "very appealing to customers."

"For a partner, they can bring a value by integrating in multiple clouds …and be able to provide that security across multiple clouds," Maddison said. "We're definitely seeing a lot of customers now have a more holistic approach to their security, but they can't keep adding vendors to [their line cards]. It's also more complex for the partners."

Maddison said Fortinet would be rolling out hands-on training workshops for the new cloud security and FortiCASB solution. He said that training would help partners get up to speed on underlying infrastructure, new security offerings from Fortinet, and how a partner can add value through a single risk framework for customers.