The open security requirement in the age of the Cloud

By Amy Thompson

In a 2015 article posted by Forbes, it was reported that 87 percent of people hadn’t heard of the term “Internet of Things” (IoT). At that time, Gartner Inc. estimated that there were 4.9 billion connected devices in use. Fast forward to 2017, and Gartner now reports that number has grown  to 8.4 billion, with a look ahead to 2020 predicting that 20.4 billion connected devices will be in use. The IoT has gained traction in day-to-day life by adding new applications and capabilities at a rapid rate, and as this technology begins to permeate both our work and personal lives, security threats are beginning to take shape in the shadows.

But the change being driven by the IoT is just the beginning of the radical transformation of the cyber world we are now experiencing. We also have to factor in our growing reliance on the cloud and increasing interconnectivity between networks and devices. With all this change, it’s imperative that security solutions are able to adapt and expand their abilities to meet the demands of the shifting landscape they are being called on to protect. An open approach to security is critical if it is to adapt to the amorphous and often temporary framework that’s taking over today’s networks.

Providing your customers with an integrated security framework can help them simplify this transition. Given the speed at which cyberattacks can penetrate and compromise a network, most legacy security solutions can only act as a Band-Aid for the deep wounds that modern cyber threats can open. Unlike these traditional security devices and platforms, the ability of the Fortinet Security Fabric to dynamically scale and adapt to shifting network requirements enables it to remain in step with the modern network’s increased pace of expansion, including IoT, mobile workers, autonomous devices, and the variety of cloud-based network services and applications, while losing none of its security capabilities.

The Rise of Interconnectivity

A sweeping cultural shift is also taking place in the cybersecurity industry. In addition to faster and more intelligent security tools, the market is also demanding the adoption of new ideologies and strategies to respond to both the rise of cloud computing and the simultaneous increase in attacks on the very networks your customers have been investing time and resources to protect. This shift towards cloud computing and other new technologies means guiding your customers to make strategic decisions about designing a flexible security architecture that can grow with them. Investment in security technologies must be made strategically so they can seamlessly adapt whenever the market switches lanes.

For your customers, the rise of interconnectivity is a good thing. This trend in technology means new opportunities, efficiencies, and avenues for revenue and allows them to take advantage of the emerging digital economy. The downside is that attacks directed against the cloud and IoT devices are growing exponentially, and show no signs of stopping.

Unfortunately for businesses, many of the existing security platforms currently in use present a number of hurdles for those that employ them, including:

  • Increased expense and overhead
  • Efficiency loss
  • Network blind spots

These solutions were at their most effective when an extravagant firewall was all you needed to protect singular entry points from cyber threats. They were constructed as a siloed technology, only capable of solving a problem in the pre-determined scope. With the development and increased use of cloud services and continued incorporation of unsecured devices, the attack surface has expanded beyond what security platforms of the past are capable of providing adequate protection for.

That is no longer good enough. Legacy security solutions are at risk of going stale due to their inability to adapt to advancing technology. In order to remain effective, such security solutions require constant maintenance and upgrades that are both extensive and expensive, and even then, they still often leave blind spots in the network.

The Security Fabric

That’s where the Security Fabric, built around tiered interconnectivity between security technologies, combined with open API strategies, comes into play. The Security Fabric is a fresh architectural approach to security. Its unique ability to interoperate and collaborate is built around a common operating system and a series of open API standards that allow your customers to connect different security devices into a single, integrated system that can operate seamlessly across their ecosystem of distributed networks. With the Security Fabric’s ability to adapt to the constantly shifting cloud computing climate, your customers will be able to grow without being held back by an inefficient security solution.

The Fortinet Security Fabric is a reflection of our commitment to developing a robust ecosystem of partnerships that not only span across a wide variety of security, telemetry, and management tools, but that can also be driven deep into the network itself. At a time where the cloud has extended its reach from offices to homes, and IoT devices span across our environments, integrated solutions built around open API strategies are the best opportunity we have in our fight to secure the networks that support your customers’ most important digital assets.

As networks continue to adapt and change, the Fortinet Security Fabric will likewise be evolving, learning, and increasingly separating itself from platform security solutions that have become the underwhelming norm.

Unfortunately, traditional security solutions are simply not up to the task of being responsible for protecting your customers’ growing attack surface. But with open and flexible solutions like the Fortinet Security Fabric, this challenge can be filed under the “old problems” tab.

Final Thoughts

With its robust open architecture, Fortinet has extended the Security Fabric’s functionality and intelligence to include existing third-party solutions. This enables many pre-existing security solutions to participate in a truly cohesive security strategy by both sharing and leveraging critical threat intelligence from trustworthy sources that have been intentionally integrated together. It’s also a flexible strategy, which means it can be gradually implemented to give organizations an opportunity to adapt and acclimate to a more comprehensive approach to security.

For Fortinet partners, open functionality also leads to greater efficiencies for the channel, removing the burden of validation and reducing the load on your engineering resources. As a result, solutions will be able to be brought to market and delivered to your customers faster than ever before.

(Reproduced from Fortinet blog).


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