Accelerate 2022 kicked off today with a series of keynote addresses from Fortinet’s executive team. Despite this being the first hybrid in-person and virtual event in over two years, these leaders’ vision and enthusiasm for the future were clear. While many competitor organizations struggled due to the global challenges of the recent pandemic, Fortinet not only experienced unprecedented growth but was also able to demonstrate the value of its founding vision.
Over these past two years, business continuity required networks to rapidly adapt and diversify, resulting in the creation of hybrid networks and highly distributed workforces. This resulting digital acceleration also led to fundamental changes in businesses, customers, industries, and governments. Today, people worldwide expect to access any information or application, regardless of where it has been deployed, using any device, and from any location.
Hybrid Networks Require a Converged Strategy
To meet these expectations, organizations have had to support two critical functions. First, they have had to rapidly expand the network edge, resulting in hybrid networks that span data centers, campus networks, branch and home offices, mobile users and devices, and multi-cloud environments. And second, they have had to provide consistent protection against the rising rate of cybercrime.
Helping customers effectively address these changes requires rethinking critical strategies, resulting in the need to converge networking and security. One result of this transition has been the merging of these markets, resulting in a total addressable cybersecurity market of nearly $200 billion. However, as networks and user demands continue to grow, the need for effective cybersecurity is growing significantly faster than the overall market. This demand is driven by a heightened awareness of the issues and challenges of cybercrime and the need to maintain visibility, control, and response by consolidating vendors to reduce overhead.
Key Fortinet Differences
As the Accelerate 2022 keynote presenters made clear, Fortinet’s dramatic growth is a direct result of our founders seeing, and then acting on, the growing need for security performance, consolidated security functions, and the convergence of security with the network. Fortinet is enjoying the benefits of being uniquely positioned to address current market opportunities by being the only vendor to provide the following unique capabilities:
The industry’s fastest hardware
Rapid network expansion is outpacing the ability of IT teams to maintain their traditional point solution security approach. The reason, outlined by Ken Xie during his keynote session, is that security traditionally operates much slower than the network. To keep pace, security devices need to operate nearly a hundred times faster than the networking solutions they need to monitor and protect. While networking devices are all about connectivity, security solutions need to perform higher-level functions and provide deep inspection of traffic to protect the organization.
However, Fortinet is still the only security vendor to have invested in technology that can continue to deliver the performance organizations need. Fortinet’s custom security, networking, and SoC processors enable us to provide an average of five to ten times the performance of similarly priced solutions. And in some critical areas, such as inspecting encrypted traffic, that difference can be as much as 40 times faster.
And as anyone can see, as organizations invest in digital acceleration, the demand for performance will only increase. And without the innovation required to deliver the performance and integration today’s networks require, security vendors will continue to lag further and further behind. Investing in custom hardware can cost hundreds of millions of dollars and take a decade to produce an effective solution. Fortinet took that leap early and is already on its 7th generation (in the case of NP7) and 9th generation (in the case of CP9) of these processors.
And the result of this investment is not limited to hardware. The same engineering techniques used to build our custom ASICs have also allowed Fortinet’s engineering teams to develop and deliver virtual processors. This innovation ensures that Fortinet customers can enjoy reliable security performance that meets their networking needs across their entire distributed network.
Most organizations are becoming overwhelmed by the dozens of security solutions they have in place and the rapid expansion of those solutions and vendors as they add new network edges and environments. Point security solutions—even those bundled together in a single device—struggle to share and correlate threat intelligence, detect threats, and automatically deliver a coordinated response. Rather than building effective defense systems that can span the network, most IT organizations spend a third of their time simply trying to troubleshoot the workaround they have put in place to achieve a workable level of visibility and control.
FortiOS was designed over 20 years ago to address this issue. Beginning with four essential functions—firewall, VPN, antivirus, and IPS, today’s FortiOS supports nearly 30 critical technologies, including the industry’s broadest portfolio of security solutions and advanced networking functions. Because these solutions run on the same OS, they don’t just work well together. They are all actually the same product. This unique approach to product development means that management, orchestration, correlation, and interoperability are seamless and that a level of automation can be achieved that is simply impossible using separate point solutions.
This is possible because most Fortinet solutions are built organically. An SD-WAN solution built natively using the same OS as a firewall will simply function better than a solution that attempts to add security after the fact. And by building critical network capabilities into the OS, every solution is better able to see and leverage networking functions. And for those solutions acquired through M&A, Fortinet intentionally acquires organizations early in their development cycle to simplify their integration into FortiOS.
The Fortinet Security Fabric
Because today’s networks are highly distributed, it is also imperative that security can be deployed consistently and run natively in any environment. FortiOS is also designed to be deployed anywhere—hardware, software, endpoints, clouds, containers, and even highly specialized OT environments. This enables organizations to deliver the same security regardless of where their network, applications, resources, and users are deployed, from offices to manufacturing floors to smart cars to harsh OT environments.
FortiOS powers the Fortinet Security Fabric to ensure that every deployment operates as part of an expansive, integrated platform. Fortinet solutions deployed natively in one cloud environment, for example, can use specialized Fabric Connectors to dynamically translate policies and configurations so applications and workflows that span hybrid networks, including multi-cloud environments, can provide consistent visibility and enforcement end-to-end. Similarly, Fortinet’s cloud-based solutions not only provide essential security SASE functions for remote and mobile users but also seamlessly tie them to the physical network, addressing a critical gap in most SASE offerings today.
The Fortinet Security Fabric also enables organizations to leverage their existing security and networking investments through its extensive use of common standards and open APIs. Over 500 integrations from across the industry, spanning security, management, networking, and even specialized OT solutions, interoperate seamlessly with the Security Fabric.
Fortinet is Uniquely Positioned to Secure the Network of the Future
Looking at the development of the security market over the past two decades makes it clear that the original insight of Fortinet’s founders will continue well into the future: Security will become a larger share of the networking market. And Fortinet is well-positioned to continue to meet the needs of organizations looking to enable digital acceleration through convergence. New advanced solutions, such as AIOps, integrated ZTNA and identity, zero-trust, and AI-enhanced outbreak detection, are only possible because Fortinet has converged critical security and network functions into a single, expansive platform.
Our unique approach makes Fortinet the only company able to excel at all key stages of network security. While virtually every security company claims the ability to detect threats, less than 50 have developed technology able to provide effective prevention and remediation. And of those, only a handful offer any sort of meaningful integration between solutions. But in most of those cases, not only is that integration superficial, but it also tends to only address a small subset of the entire expanding network. With our unique focus on organic innovation, only Fortinet provides a converged network and security platform that also delivers the performance and value that today’s networks require.
Fortinet is one of the world’s top cybersecurity brands, delivering broad, integrated, and automated protection via the Fortinet Security Fabric to enable organizations to securely accelerate their digital journey.