Fortinet Buys Cloud Security Startup Opaq To Protect Networks

‘Adding Opaq allows us to be more flexible in terms of where and how customers want to apply security,’ says Fortinet’s John Maddison. ‘We already had the most complete SASE offering, but this gives us more flexible consumption options.’


Fortinet has purchased Opaq Networks to strengthen distributed network protection everywhere from data centers and branch offices to remote users and Internet of Things devices.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based platform security giant said its acquisition of Herndon, Va.-based cloud security startup Opaq will allow Fortinet to deliver the most complete Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) platform on the market. Fortinet said the deal will combine its existing SASE offering with the industry’s only trust Zero Trust access and security.

Fortinet has historically delivered its SASE technology on-premise or in the data center, and said Opaq’s technology will make it possible to deliver those same capabilities in the cloud, said John Maddison, executive vice president of products. COVID-19 has driven customer interest in having these capabilities delivered in the cloud since the pandemic has complicated some on-premise installation efforts, he said.

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[Related: Opaq: Replacing MPLS With SD-WAN Helps Save Money, Boost Security]

“Adding Opaq allows us to be more flexible in terms of where and how customers want to apply security,” Maddison told CRN. “We already had the most complete SASE offering, but this gives us more flexible consumption options.”

Customers have been most proactive about shifting their Zero Trust networking and web filtering applications into the cloud since the later is very pertinent for protecting public cloud platforms, he said. Opaq has been offering Secure Web Gateway (SWG) and Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) in the cloud, and he said the deal will allow Fortinet to facilitate cloud or hybrid delivery models for existing clients.

“Opaq gives us the flexibility to run security anywhere,” Maddison said. “This adds another dimension to our SASE solutions. It’s great for our partner ecosystem to have another component in the Security Fabric.”

Fortinet’s stock is unchanged at $134.79 per share in after-hours trading. Terms of the Opaq acquisition, which was announced after the market closed Monday, weren’t disclosed.

Opaq was founded in 2016, employs 50 people, and has raised $43.5 million in two rounds of outside funding, according to Fortinet and Crunchbase. The company closed a $22.5 million Series B funding round led by Greenspring Associates in April 2018 to support its go-to-market initiatives for delivering security-as-a-service to midsize enterprises via its partners.

Opaq has been led by CEO Glenn Hazard and Chief Strategy Officer Ken Ammon since January 2017, both of whom held the same roles at privileged identity management vendor Xceedium prior to its acquisition by CA Technologies in August 2015. Maddison said he wasn’t sure which Opaq executives would be joining Fortinet.

The company’s Zero Trust cloud platform features: a software-defined network optimized for security and performance; integrated security capabilities; and the Opaq 360 single cloud console for customers and service providers to centrally manage network and security. Opaq secures Fortune 1000 and midsize enterprises across a variety of vertical markets, and has regional offices in eight states, Fortinet said.

Often cloud security providers are missing a strong security backbone or a scalable, high performant cloud architecture or - in some cases – both, Fortinet said. But unlike other Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) providers who leave many unprotected gaps in the attack surface, Fortinet said its combination with Opaq will provide a broad integrated suite of cloud security tools providing true Zero Trust security.

Fortinet said Opaq’s platform is purpose-built to be partner friendly, enabling MSSPs, carriers and high value-add partners to easily integrate the SASE multi-tenant platform into their own offering. And advanced professional services and Network Operations Center (NOC) and Security Operations Center (SOC) expertise will allow partners to add value for business and government organization customers.

By joining forces, Fortinet and Opaq will be able to deliver industry-leading next-generation firewall (NGFW) and SD-WAN capabilities, web security, sandboxing, advanced endpoint, identity/multi factor authentication, multi-cloud workload protection, cloud application security broker (CASB), browser isolation, and web application firewalling capabilities

The Opaq deal comes just seven months after Fortinet purchased Security Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR) provider CyberSponse to make security operations teams more efficient and bolster incident response. Two months earlier, Fortinet bought endpoint security startup enSilo to strengthen its real-time automated detection and response capabilities around endpoint and edge data.

In 2018, Fortinet purchased threat analytics company ZoneFox for $18 million and IoT-focused security firm Bradford Networks for $17 million. All told, Fortinet has acquired 14 companies since its founding in 2000, according to Crunchbase.