Fortinet has made major inroads in the SD-WAN marketplace by delivering a comprehensive SD-WAN solution that provides both SD-WAN and security functionality in a single integrated offering for distributed enterprise branches.
“The enterprise branch is undergoing intense digital transformation and we’re seeing application consumption models rapidly move to the cloud. As our customers move toward direct internet access, they understand the growing need for next-generation firewall capabilities and high SSL inspection performance,” Fortinet SVP of products and solutions John Maddison said.
“To make sure customers realize the benefits of SD-WAN without compromising security, we have evolved our advanced SD-WAN features in the latest FortiOS releases. This focus on secure SD-WAN is clearly resonating with the hundreds of customers and partners who are taking advantage of Fortinet’s unique combination of next-generation firewall and SD-WAN in the same offering, managed through a single centralized controller.”
Growing appeal of SD-WAN
The growing appeal of SD-WAN technologies has caught the attention of the IT world and many are realizing the benefits of efficient cloud adoption, broad application visibility and lowered operating costs. But without the right solution, the speed and agility of SD-WAN can come at the expense of security.
To respond to this pervasive industry challenge, Fortinet produced the industry’s first NGFW-centric approach to SD-WAN by tightly integrating SD-WAN functionality into the FortiGate Next-Generation Firewall. This approach combines the increased scalability, flexibility, simplicity and cost savings of SD-WAN with strong security protection.
“As a leader in the distributed enterprise market, Fortinet deeply understands the needs of customers looking to deploy the newest WAN initiatives, such as SD-WAN,” said Zeus Kerravala, ZK Research.
“Fortinet has been evolving SD-WAN as an industry-leading feature of its FortiGate Next-Generation Firewall to offer a compelling combination of SD-WAN and security in a single appliance. This significantly increases business agility, simplifies customer deployment and provides single-pane-of-glass management for better visibility and protection.”
Three use cases
According to Maddison, hundreds of customers from around the world have already chosen Fortinet for its secure SD-WAN solution. Among this group, Fortinet has seen three distinct use cases emerge that tackle the most difficult challenges in the distributed enterprise branch. In response to customer feedback, the latest updates to the FortiOS operating system have directly addressed these issues.
Use Case #1: Digital transformation at enterprise branch
In the wake of digital transformation, enterprise branch customers face a unique set of security challenges as cloud adoption directly connects their network to the internet. In this environment, security becomes increasingly important but also increasingly challenging.
To solve this issue, Fortinet’s secure SD-WAN solution combines security and SD-WAN cloud adoption features together in one solution on a single console to secure SaaS applications and multi-cloud access from the branch. In this environment, IT teams are able to map WAN resources directly to business function, making the network more efficient and responsive, but also making application awareness even more important for the health of the network.
Recent updates to FortiOS allow IT professionals to choose from over 3,000 applications and easily see how many applications are supported, the prioritization of applications based on business criticality, and affords the ability to look deep into individual applications in order to set different policies for sub-applications. This level of granular insight helps enterprises to better allocate resources to increase productivity and reduce business costs.
Use Case #2: Reduce WAN OPEX spending while maintaining high application performance
As bandwidth requirements increase and OPEX budget requirements grow for IT, many customers are migrating away from MPLS and turning toward SD-WAN to reduce OPEX spending. As customers adopt low cost WAN connectivity, they often run into issues with application performance. To address this issue, automated multi-path intelligence, a key feature of FortiOS for SD-WAN, significantly reduces this time by selecting the most efficient route for SaaS, Voice over IP (VoIP) and other business-critical traffic through the tracking of granular WAN path information, such as latency, jitter and packet loss.
Use Case #3: Consolidation of networking and security
Without an integrated solution, IT staff is required to manage both SD-WAN optimization functions and security functions using two different interfaces. This separation of network and security operations is not only labor-intensive, it also makes it difficult to tie things like traditionally network-centric issues such as performance and functionality to critical security and data inspection.
To solve this issue, Fortinet has simplified monitoring of SD-WAN deployments with a single-pane-of-glass view for centralized management, configuration and monitoring tools for both SD-WAN and security.
First published in Computerworld Hong Kong