“Fortinet’s products are regularly setting the norm in terms of cost/performance ratio and reliability.” — Rajesh Maurya, Country Manager, India & SAARC, Fortinet

9th April 2014 | By Mouseworld Now Correspondent |
Rajesh Maurya, Country Manager, India & SAARC,  Fortinet

Rajesh Maurya, Country Manager, India & SAARC, Fortinet

The security scenario is experiencing a sea change.  The market every day is getting flooded with newer security updates from top vendors to meet fresher IT security challenges.  In a situation like this, it is a challenge for any serious security player to have his way in the market, but some like Fortinet have managed to sail well in this rough terrain. In an exclusive interview to Mouseworld Now,  Rajesh Maurya, Country Manager, India & SAARC, Fortinet, reveals his business priorities, plans, channel strategy and much more. Edited excerpts

 

 

Q. The journey of Fortinet has been phenomenal. What’s your current pace of growth? Where do you want Fortinet to reach in the next 5 years?

Ans: The year 2013 has been a great year for Fortinet. Globally our billing grew 14 percent YOY to $684.2 million, and revenue went up 15 percent to $615.3 million.

According to IDC Q3 2013 Security Appliance Tracker in India Fortinet holds a 12% Market share in the overall security appliance market in India which is pegged at $170 Million.

We are currently No. 3 in the Indian Security Appliance Market and we will continue to grow by expanding to new market and customers.


Q. What is unique about Fortinet security products vis-à-vis similar products from
 competition?

Ans: Fortinet was created on the vision of integrated security as the way to increase protection and control, while optimizing performance, simplifying management and reducing costs. Fortinet’s solutions were developed to provide comprehensive security to corporate networks, through a single platform to offer simplicity, streamlined installation and management, with the ability to update all the security functions concurrently.

Fortinet has pursued that vision for the last 14 years by continuing to innovate on its FortiGate platform and enriching its solution portfolio with products that provide protection at and around the gateway. Today, Fortinet provides broad, integrated, and high performance protection against dynamic security threats while simplifying the IT security infrastructure for enterprises, service providers and government entities worldwide.

Fortinet’s products are regularly setting the norm in terms of cost/performance ratio and reliability. Fortinet’s technology has been developed fully in-house from Day 1 and the company has total control over the design of its products, making no compromises on quality, performance and reliability. Fortinet has been awarded more than 149 patents, with 108 patents pending, and has more product certifications than any other security appliances vendor.

Fortinet is the only network security vendor, which has its own global threat research & response team continuously monitoring the threat landscape and providing customers with ongoing and real-time protection against the latest Internet threats.

The FortiGuard Labs’ research forms the basis of the FortiGuard Security Subscription Services, which provide continuous, automated updates for: antivirus; intrusion prevention; Web filtering; antispam; vulnerability and compliance management; application control; and database security services.

At the core of its security solutions, Fortinet developed a unique technology platform to specifically provide high security performance, simplified management and maximum scalability.

Fortinet’s FortiOS is a proprietary security-hardened, purpose-built operating system that brings intelligence and control into network security. FortiOS is coupled with Fortinet’s FortiASIC processors to help customers achieve advanced network security at extremely high performance (up to 160 Gbps within a single appliance and up to 500 Gps within a blade system) and exceptionally low latency levels (can be as low as 2-3 microseconds).

Fortinet’s purpose-built hardware and software enable the detection of malicious content at multi-Gigabit speeds. All the security functions of the FortiOS operating system have been developed on the same source code in order to optimize security performance and eliminate redundant operations related to packet or flow processing. Other security products on the market are unable to do this because security functions have been based upon multiple, disparate source codes.

Fortinet delivers Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) for today’s evolving networks. Over the last 10 to 15 years, threats have transformed from connection-based, then content-based and now advanced targeted attacks such as advanced persistent threats (APTs). Traditional security technologies are no longer able to differentiate malicious and legitimate content.

To defend against ATPs, Fortinet provides a complete Advanced Threat Protection solution that includes the necessary technologies and human intelligence to mitigate threats before they enter the network, detect those that have already entered, or have tried to enter, and finally allow a response to any threats that have breached the network. Those three pillars of ATP are delivered through the unique combination of Fortinet’s advanced anti-malware, its sandboxing capabilities and integrated FortiGuard threat research & response.

Q. As a leading player in the security space, what are current trends observed by you in the Indian security market?

Ans: There are several emerging trends that are driving the network security market today that are logical extensions of some trends that have been around for several years. These trends are focused around advanced visibility and control, expanded access to the network and integrated security.

With regards to advanced visibility and control, UTMs today need to offer the advanced threat protection that customers have come to expect from enterprise firewalls. Customers today expect products to have features like granular policy enforcement of applications, users and devices, as well as On-Device and Cloud-based Sandboxing for advanced threat protection.

In terms of expanded access to the network, we’re finding customers are connecting more devices their networks, and they want their UTM to manage that access. Customers want their UTMs to manage switches, wireless access points and 3G/4G extenders.  And they’re asking for Power over Ethernet (PoE) support to their UTM devices as well to enable easy deployment of Point of Sale (PoS) terminals, IP video cameras, VoIP phones, and so forth. Enabling these devices to be extensions of the UTM, instead of stand-alone devices or systems, is a critical aspect to simplifying customers’ networks.

Customers are also asking for integrated security, meaning they want to have a single point of control for all network traffic, including wireless. Since so much data is accessed via mobile devices today, it is essential that customers have an integrated wireless controller and single-pane-of-glass console to ensure consistent enforcement of all traffic.

Q. These days, cyber attackers are adopting newer methods of phishing and malware attacks. What newer cyber threats do you foresee in the coming days?

Ans: Given the ubiquitous adoption of cloud computing, social networking, BYOD, and mobile communications, cyber criminals now have unprecedented reach across and into more organizations, databases, desktops and mobile devices than ever before. Infrastructure advances and the enormous number of avenues for attacks are giving cybercriminals a smorgasbord of attack vectors to choose from.

While defensive strategies are more nuanced and complex, cyber crime operators are always a few steps ahead. FortiGuard labs security prediction highlights 5 threats to watch out for this year.

  • Android Malware Expands to Industrial Control Systems and Internet of Things

As sales of mobile phones likely plateau in the coming years, Android developers are being tasked to find untapped markets for the Google operating system. A few of these emerging markets include tablets, portable game consoles, wearable devices, home automation equipment and industrial control systems (ICS/SCADA). This year, we predict we’ll see the first instances of malware on these new device types, specifically around embedded ICS/SCADA systems. While we don’t believe we’ll see a “mobile-Stuxnet” in 2014, we think cybercriminals will be attracted to platforms that go beyond common SMS fraud. This includes new home automation devices that have control over our electrical consumption, the temperature of our fridges, etc. and feature software with remote login control panels to show/confirm who may be at home at a given time. This is bound to give cybercriminals new and nefarious ideas around how and when to rob someone’s home.

  • The Battle for the Deep Web

While the FBI will broaden its scope of targets in 2014, we believe the agency will also continue to make inroads into the Tor dark net and questionable file sharing services such as Mega Upload. Knowing the cat and mouse games black and white hats have been playing since the dawn of the first computer viruses, we predict the increased scrutiny of these “anonymous” services will lead to new and, dare we say, improved versions that will be even harder to infiltrate, compromise and/or take down. We’ve already seen the MegaUpload takedown birth Mega, a fundamentally more robust platform. Expect to see similar renewed development vigor around Silk Road in this year.

  • Network Security Vendors Forced to Become More Transparent

In September 2013, the US Federal Trade Commission severely penalized a company that marketed video monitoring technology to consumers for suggesting in its literature that their product was “secure” when evidence clearly showed it was not. This was the agency’s first action against a marketer of an everyday product with interconnectivity to the Internet and other mobile devices, and the company was required to make a number of . This year, we predict we’ll see this level of increased scrutiny and accountability at the network security vendor level. Customers are no longer going to accept the “proprietary security-hardened OS” marketing spin. They will demand proof, and when they are subject to undue risk, they will demand accountability. This will be in the form of greater transparency around supply chain management, patch management and Secure Development Lifecycle (SDL) practices.

  • Increase in attacks targeting Windows XP

Microsoft has ended support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. This means that newly discovered vulnerabilities will not be patched, leaving systems around the world vulnerable to attacks. According to NetMarketShare, as of September 2013, Windows XP is still used on 31.42% of PCs in the world. According to Gartner, by the time April 8 rolls around, it is estimated that more than 15% of mid- to large-sized enterprises will still have Windows XP running on at least 10 percent of their PCs. Next year, we predict hackers, already in possession of zero day exploits, will wait until the 8th in order to sell them to the highest bidder. Because of their expected high price tag, these zero days will likely be used to launch targeted attacks against high-value businesses and individuals rather than deployed by common cybercriminals in order to propagate mass infections.

  •  Biometrics for authentication will increase

Last year Apple made a bold move when it announced its new iPhone 5s would integrate fingerprint authentication into the device. Never mind that it was hacked a few days after the phone shipped. It got people talking about the importance two-factor authentication in a world where the single factor password login is growing increasingly archaic. As a result of this renewed interest, we predict next year we’ll see additional mobile companies including a second factor of authentication into their devices. We’ll also see an increase in additional forms of authentication, such as tattoos and pills, iris scanning and facial recognition.

Q. What constitutes your key market strategy in India?

Ans: Fortinet will continue to support its channel partners, stay invested in research and development, and devise better strategies to add value to our partners and provide competitive security solutions to increase our market share.

Q. What is the prime focus of Fortinet today? What are some of the top priorities for the Company?

Ans: Fortinet already provides a wide array of solutions that extend beyond perimeter network security. For example, we offer advanced wired and wireless access solutions, application delivery controllers, authentication, analysis and management solutions, as well as advanced and specialized threat protection solutions, such as DDoS, DNS, WAF and database security. Our view is that if the network is involved, then we are there to protect it. Based on that, future developments will revolve around ensuring data, networks and applications are protected.

Q. How many channel partners you have? Do you plan any major channel expansion in near future? What kind of channel engagement happens at Fortinet?

Ans: Fortinet is a 100 percent channel company. The contribution from the channel in supporting our growth is paramount and we have ensured that our partners get the required support in terms of technical expertise along with sales and marketing benefits to grow their business. Currently we are consolidating our strong channel base of 500+ registered partners and at the same time we are open to new partner engagements.

Our Channel Roadmap unfolds a new vision that proves Fortinet continues to evolve with its partners by maintaining a structured, best in-class channel ecosystem.

As more enterprises embrace BYOD (Bring-your-own-Device), a clear opportunity has emerged for an end-to-end security provider like Fortinet to take a larger slice of the wireless pie. Fortinet offers strong value proposition in wireless LAN security through its range of FortiGate, FortiWifi and FortiAP product lines. The FortiGate network security platform acts as a wireless controller and when deployed along with FortiAP thin access points, they provide firewall, VPN, intrusion prevention, application control, web filtering and many other security and network functionality to a wireless network.

Fortinet is looking to expand its wireless partner base as a part of our strategy to increase share in the Wireless Appliance market in India.

Fortinet has recently appointed a dedicated channel account manager to strengthen relationships and better capitalize on business opportunities with its national-level partners in the country. The Channel Account Manager will give Fortinet’s most important system integrator partners a single point of contact, and enable Fortinet to more strategically and cohesively manage them on a country-wide level.

Fortinet partners like Dimension Data, HCL, HP, IBM, Sify and Wipro Infotech contribute to a large chunk of our business in the country, with more growth projected in the coming year. It is therefore timely to have a dedicated executive take care of these important partners’ needs, covering areas like customer account mapping, resource connection for large deals and marketing support.

Fortinet will be organizing quarterly sales update sessions in 8 cities – Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Ahmadabad and Pune. These regular sales session will provide partners updates on markets, business opportunities, products, incentive programs and also help to improve relationships with partners.

One of our most important channel priorities for 2014 is to help partners define their approach to the market through specializations targeting one or more Fortinet solutions. The specialization will transform partners from box pushers to technology specialists giving them the power to create a lucrative revenue stream for their business. Fortinet partners can choose a specialization program to enhance their expertise in areas like  Wireless, Web Application or E-mail Security.

Q. From where is the next level of growth likely to come in for your company? Which are the business verticals that you find yourself strong in?

Ans: Emerging technologies such as BYOD and Cloud have opened up unprecedented opportunities for organizations to go anywhere, anytime. Borderless boundary has leveraged business opportunities besides connecting organizations globally. Business requirements of an organization have now become the preliminary foundation of building information security strategy. Today’s dynamic and digital business environments have changed the entire definition of application of information security in organizations.

There have been a number of moments in IT and network industry that can be considered a “Paradigm Shift”. The introduction of Wireless LAN (WLAN) is certainly one of those moments. The ability to cut loose from the tether of the Ethernet cable has revolutionized the workplace and completely changed the role and use of computers and other devices at home.

 

But the time has come to look more closely at WLAN technology in the 21st century, a century full of user trends and cyber threats that are exploiting the rapid growth and deployment of WLANs and their inherent weaknesses. Attacks on enterprise networks are increasing as are their level of sophistication and their success in passing through a network’s defenses. In such context, WLANs can no longer be treated as an “overlay” network that may or may not have some degree of integration with the primary wired network. To effectively combat today’s cyber threats, enterprise WLAN networks must be fully integrated into the overall network and protected by a robust, end-to-end security infrastructure.

 

Need For Deploying a Combination of Firewall Options

Security buyers today seek a cost-effective combination of firewall options, such as next-generation firewall (NGFW), unified threat management (UTM), and virtual and stateful firewalls, to support a wide range of network environmnets that can include data centers, small offices and distributed enterprises.

 

For example, an enterprise may have high-performance firewalls for its datacenters,  NGFWs for their campus perimeters and UTMs for their satellite offices. With its singular focus on innovating security and security-focused R&D, only Fortinet provides a true network security platform that can protect all of these environmnets and managemnt them all under a single pane of glass.

 

Securing Distributed Enterprise

The distributed enterprise market segment is also seeing some interesting changes. Smaller branch locations are consolidating their internal IT stack in order to reduce costs, enable secure wireless and simplify management. New network security appliances today can not only manage a branch’s perimeter network security with the full UTM feature set enabled, but they’re able to also secure their IP Phones, PoS devices, surveillance cameras and more. If it has an IP connection, it can now be managed through a single device that can be controlled internally or remotely from a corporate headquarters. From a headquarters, compliance reports can run and updated security policies can be pushed to all branch locations at the same time within minutes.

 

Data Center Customers Feel the Need for Speed

Infonetics recently conducted a high speed firewall survey of large organizations (over 1,000 employees) that have already deployed high-end firewalls, defined as firewalls that currently support greater than 40 Gbps aggregate throughput. The move to faster network technologies is forcing enterprises to look at upgrading every component of their IT infrastructure, and the need to add new high speed interfaces to firewalls (10 GbE, 40 GbE and eventually 100 GbE) tops the list of drivers for investing in new high-end firewalls.

Fortinet in India has a strong presence right from SMBs to Enterprise to Carriers across all key verticals – Service Providers, Government, BFSI, Education, Retail, IT/ITES, HealthCare, Manufacturing, Media & Entertainment and also the Service sector.

Q. What is your strategy for public and private cloud computing services?

Ans: In general, data entering and leaving the cloud should be subjected to the same level of scrutiny as any other data entering or leaving the network. In that sense, traditional network security technologies, such as firewall, intrusion prevention, application control and content filtering should be applied to provide that basic level of scrutiny.

Also, cloud environments, like physical environments, require regular updates to the security architecture to repair vulnerabilities and ensure sustained defenses against malware and other threats. As with physical infrastructure, the cloud should be equipped with a comprehensive global intelligence network and frequent updates that identify and protect against new vulnerabilities before they are exploited in the wild.

However, the additional challenge associated with securing data in the cloud is that the security architecture must also secure the multi-tenant nature of the traffic. As such, security architecture must have the ability to enforce separate policies on traffic, depending on origin or destination. In that regard, non-traditional security technologies must be established to keep traffic entirely separate and avoid any risk of unauthorized access.

Fortinet is working with service provider partners to enable new solutions.  For example, to secure increasing mobile devices that access cloud services and bypass the internal network, we delivered more security and inspection for carrier LTE networks.  We also enable MSSP’s and cloud providers to deploy and offer our security-as-a-service to secure instances in public clouds, rather than forcing all tenants to bring their own security virtual appliances.

Q. Any new security solution products to be launched in the next few months?

Ans: We recently announced significant update to the company’s FortiOS network security operating system, along with new releases for integrated reporting, advanced threat protection (APT) and strong authentication. These releases demonstrate Fortinet’s vision of extending the next-generation firewall (NGFW) to address the challenges facing today’s enterprises including increasingly complex cyber threats. As a result, Fortinet’s FortiGate appliances, which routinely deliver five times faster performance than competitive offerings, will deliver even greater performance and more security.

Fortinet released a FortiAnalyzer 5 update and announced the upcoming FortiAnalyzer-3500E. Software enhancements include a wider selection of prebuilt reports and greater drilldown capabilities for better visibility into network behavior and tighter integration with the company’s FortiGate platform. In addition, the new FortiAnalyzer-3500E will feature 24 TB (upgradable to 48 TB) of storage to meet the requirements of high volume enterprises.

The company also introduced the enterprise-grade FortiAuthenticator-1000D, which provides multiple methods of authentication, including hardware, software, email and SMS tokens to help enterprises move to a stronger, user-based authentication model in an increasingly BYOD world. The new appliance supports up to 10,000 users and integrates seamlessly with FortiGate appliances.

Many organisations are looking at advanced or specialty threat detection solutions, including sandboxing, to complement traditional defenses and speed identification and response.  

To help Fortinet customers meet this challenge, Fortinet has announced the new FortiSandbox-1000D. Its unique dual-level sandbox along with proactive pre-filtering, dynamic threat intelligence and rich reporting are effective in detecting highly targeted attacks. And its consolidated approach to covering all protocols and functions in one appliance together with its ability to deploy stand-alone or as an integrated extension of FortiGate and FortiMail appliances, reduce cost and complexity. Finally, the new FortiSandbox-1000D (and previously released FortiSandbox-3000D) now run software version 1.2, which features enhanced instrumentation to better deal with increasing virtual machine (VM) evasion techniques, an updated assessment engine to increase detection rates and new call-back detection to identify outbound communications both in the sandbox and on the wire.

Frotinet also recently unveiled three new high performance application delivery controllers (ADCs) for enterprise data centers and managed service providers that are designed to provide scalability and availability for Internet-based applications that reside in one or more datacenters.

The FortiADC-1500D, FortiADC-2000D and FortiADC-4000D represent an expansion of Fortinet’s Application Delivery Controller lineup that provides high performance, rich features and strong security for high-volume application environments while reducing overall total cost of ownership (TCO). Unlike competing ADC manufacturers that require additional options for advanced port connectivity, these new units include up to 16 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) ports and up to eight high-performance 10-Gigabit SFP+ Ethernet ports at no extra cost.

These new FortiADC products are leaders in price to L4 performance, include Global Server Load Balancing and Link Load Balancing at no extra cost and use hardware SSL acceleration to support continuing growth in secure application traffic.

 

 

 

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