CRN Exclusive: Fortinet Tightens IoT Security Focus With New OT Security Solution For Partners

Fortinet is tightening its focus on the Internet of Things with a broad security fabric architecture for operational technology in the industrial market.

The security company said its new solution integrates a ruggedized firewall, switching and wireless access point appliances with FortiGuard industrial threat intelligence so that partners can help industrial customers protect their industrial control systems and SCADA systems.

"If hackers can access these devices it can cause a lot of damage to critical infrastructure," John Maddison, senior vice president of products and solutions at Fortinet, told CRN. "Our solution is unique because it’s end-to-end – right from the farthest point of the network all the way into the harsh environment, all the way to the IT data center to the cloud. So we cover the breadth of the portfolio."

[Related: Solution Providers Look To Score In Industrial IoT As Manufacturers Plan To Spend Big Bucks In 2018]

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The industrial market is facing an array of security issues as operational technology becomes connected to the network. A 2016 survey conducted by Forrester and Fortinet found that 51 percent of operators have experienced a SCADA or ICS breach within the past 12 months.

A manufacturing company may not even know which of its systems are connected – and Fortinet’s FortiGuard industrial intelligence, which is at the heart of its solution, will help by giving security teams visibility to these connected assets, and then detection tools so that companies can formulate a response when a breach occurs.

The solution also offers automated operations and analytics so that companies can monitor and assess the security of their systems.

The solution, which is available on Tuesday, enables industrial organizations to deliver segmentation, access control and malware protection across their operational technology, said Peter Newton, senior director of product marketing at Fortinet.

"The networks that OT are on are traditionally segmented out, and IT and OT are run by separate groups," he said. "From a partner standpoint a lot of business out there for folks looking for help and solutions. Fortinet partners well versed on the IT side – now talk the OT talk."

Fortinet has been ramping up its efforts around securing critical infrastructure as more infrastructure comes online.

"Fortinet offers a true integrated security solution so that we can get the IT side as well as the OT side," said James Morris, sales and services director at Winnipeg, Canada-based Epic Information Systems. "Honestly that’s the most important thing from a security perspective. We’ve never really had that capability on the OT side before … the fact that we can offer visibility to devices for both the enterprise but the OT as well."

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company has bolstered its OT portfolio with rugged products such as FortiGate Rugged series, which are all-in-one firewalls to secure critical infrastructures, as well as FortiSwitch Rugged Series to enable management of connected products.

"Buyers are turning to their trusted security providers, like Fortinet, to deliver these solutions in combination with specialized OT cybersecurity experts like Nozomi Networks," said Chet Namboodri, Vice President of Alliances and Business Development at San Francisco, Calif.-based Fortinet partner Nozomi Networks. "The channel and their customers are the real winners. They can leverage their existing relationships to get the products and services they need to ensure their operational systems stay up and running despite the escalating attacks that target OT systems."