Much has been written about how some applications and data have moved out of the corporate data center to the cloud. And now, after years of hype, cloud adoption has passed the “gee-whiz” novelty phase and reached a level of maturity. The pandemic required workforce and technology changes that accelerated the move to the cloud. Gartner reports that 65.9% of spending on application software will be directed toward cloud technologies in 2025, rising from 57.7% in 2022.
The cloud has many benefits. But despite what many vendors imply, it’s certainly not the only technology enterprises are using. On-premises deployment can offer better customization and flexibility of upgrades and security than cloud.
Another very important dimension is the speed and scale that on-premises applications offer to end-customers, partners, and corporate users. Additionally, these applications must meet some SLAs and deliver the optimal user experience that was available before any security solution was deployed.
At many enterprises, applications and data aren’t contained solely in the cloud or exclusively within a corporate data center. They are distributed across hybrid multi-cloud and data center networks that are in a constant state of flux. With this ever-expanding and highly dynamic attack surface, organizations need to provide consistent security and policy everywhere to defend against attacks yet still retain the flexibility to adjust to rapidly changing business requirements.
Hybrid IT Needs Consistent Security Everywhere
Hybrid networks make sense for many organizations because they can take advantage of the strengths of a given technology where it’s appropriate. In situations where flexibility and scalability are critical, the cloud is a good option. But for workloads where the administrative control, compliance, or unpredictable costs from a cloud provider are a concern, keeping workloads on-premises is a better choice. Data plays a critical role in this dichotomy and weighs in on any decision to move any application to cloud with a plain question: Is this data going with the application or staying locally – now or for the foreseeable future?
Although hybrid networks have advantages for the business, they also significantly increase the attack surface, leaving it more vulnerable to increasingly diverse and sophisticated cyberattacks. Today, organizations need to secure more locations, devices, applications, and services than ever before. The environment is also in a state of constant flux; and as the network perimeter has become more fragmented, many organizations end up with security teams and tools operating in silos, which limits visibility and control.
In a hybrid network, security needs to be everywhere and able to adapt as the network it is protecting continually expands and adjusts to shifting business requirements. Data may reside across the distributed networks and edges created by the Internet of Things (IoT) and mobile end-user devices. Additionally, because of the increase in remote and mobile workers, the security policies and enforcement need to follow both applications and workflows.
Instead of using multiple single-purpose security products that increase complexity and make sharing of threat intelligence almost impossible, organizations should look for a unified platform solution that converges security and networking. This platform should start with a next-generation firewall (NGFW) capable of securing hybrid networks. FortiGate NGFW enables organizations to secure any network edge at any location, providing more visibility and coordinated end-to-end security with AI/ML-powered FortiGuard services. Delivering consistent policy and optimal user experience, the FortiGate NGFW is designed to secure hybrid IT architectures by offering additional applications that provide:
- Converged networking and security that culminates as integrated zero trust network access and provides the foundation to build a zero-trust strategy
- Seamlessly integrated SD-WAN capabilities that include advanced routing capabilities that make it possible for it to peer with wide-area network (WAN) providers and interconnect with a wide array of local-area network (LAN) vendors
- Ultra-high scalability with purpose-built security processing units (SPUs)
- Contextual threat intelligence sharing while acting as a core component of the Fortinet Security Fabric to make effective security decisions
- Visibility with high-performance SSL inspection and the ability to detect threats in encrypted paths without performance degradation. Post decryption is augmented with advanced content and web filtering capabilities
- Flexible and dynamic micro- and macrosegmentation to help prevent the lateral spread of malware
- Unified management, automation, and orchestration across the Fortinet Security Fabric for a unified security strategy that is designed to span dynamic, hybrid environments
FortiGate NGFWs for Secure Hybrid IT
Today’s hybrid networks require consistent security everywhere, but most security solutions aren’t designed with networking in mind and most networking solutions do not have security that is natively integrated. Organizations with hybrid networks need to establish and maintain consistent security across the network with consistent protection, visibility, and control across even the most distributed and dynamic environments. Additionally, the organizations need to provide granular access control to applications with dynamic trust, constant authentication, and posture check.
With multiple form factors, the FortiGate NGFW can operate at any edge to integrate networking and provide consistent policy enforcement, easy-to-manage centralized policy orchestration, real-time intelligence sharing, and correlated threat response.
Learn more about FortiGate NGFW solutions and the FortiGate 3000F.