Business & Technology
If anyone was unsure of Fortinet’s vision for the future of the digital world, or the impact they plan to have on the cybersecurity industry, the first day of Accelerate 2017 left no doubt in anyone’s mind.
The morning kicked off with the primary Keynote from Ken Xie, founder and CEO of Fortinet. He started by walking everyone through the transformation of the Internet and networking over the past 40 years, and drove home a couple of critical points:
1. The Internet was originally designed as a point-to-point connection service. But such things as hyperconnectivity, the exponential growth and value of data, and the explosion of increasingly autonomous smart devices have challenged that model. The result is that the Internet is now trying to manage traffic it was never designed for.
2. To meet new data, user, and device demands, the Internet and networks are undergoing a dramatic transformation. Concepts like cloud computing, the Internet of Things, SDN, or Intent-Based Networks didn’t even exist just a few years ago. Networks are hyperconnected, exist and change on demand, and have no physical borders. While data has become the fuel of the new digital economy, it has also become widely distributed, auto generated, and highly transient.
3. Security needs to change to meet these new demands. Traditional security devices protecting the network perimeter still comprise the majority of deployed solutions. But like the Internet, they are increasingly incapable of seeing and controlling the traffic that flows through or around them.
4. Seeing this need, Fortinet developed the first fully integrated and interconnected security fabric to enable security technologies to interoperate as a single entity. The Fortinet Security Fabric is a new generation of security designed to adapt to network changes, see deep into unstructured data, and automatically synchronize resources to respond to detected threats anywhere across the distributed network. A fabric-based architectural approach enables security to be BROAD enough to cover the entire attack surface, POWERFUL enough for the full security stack to be applied at any point of the network without becoming a bottleneck, and AUTOMATED in order to reduce the time to protect while keeping operational costs under control.
Ken then described the need for an open design strategy to increase visibility and extend coverage by including both security and network technologies from a variety of vendors. He then provided an overview of the Fabric-Ready partner program, and the inclusion of new partners, including Cisco and HP.
Ken also touched on today’s release of FortiOS 5.6, that extends the functionality of the security fabric, and the launch of Fortinet’s new fabric-enabled Security Operations Center solution.
Following Ken’s presentation, Drew Del Matto, Fortinet’s Chief Financial Officer, took the stage to talk about critical nature of digital trust, the power and value of today’s data, the need for security designed to protect it, and the mandate for companies to treat security as a business issue first.
A few data points he provided included these from IDC:
IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Industry/Technology 2017 Predictions, November, 2016
Securing this data is a top priority for ensuring that the new digital economy is successful. At the center of this is the idea of trust. Digital trust is neither a technology nor a process. It’s an outcome exemplified by secure, transparent relationships and engagement between the enterprise and its employees, partners, and customers. Every business must be able to have the confidence that their ecosystem maintains the same level of protection that they do, and vice-versa, especially in this age where data that can usefully impact your business lives everywhere.
Without trust, the digital economy will not be able to survive, and the businesses mining data for new insights and business models will not thrive.
Drew then focused on the unique ability of the security fabric to support business leaders in ensuring that they provide the inherent trust that business, consumers and citizens, and the market need in their data in order to accelerate the digital economy.
The next general session was a lively discussion between three CISOs who described the challenges they face in this new data-driven digital economy. It was an interesting mix of organizations. The session included Colin Anderson, the VP of Information Technology at Levi Strauss & Co., a retail chain and clothing manufacturer, Peter Keenan, the CISO at Lazard, a premiere financial services firm, and Jason Porter, the VP of Security Solutions at AT&T Business Marketing.
While a wide range of topics were discussed, the three key takeaways from this session were:
Colin Anderson, Levi Strauss: Security is a business issue, so security leaders also need to be business leaders. Security is not just about the technology. It needs to be understood and discussed in business terms, and how it can help the organization grow the business as well as address the problems they are trying to solve.
Peter Keenan, Lazard: Security is all about trust. In financial services we sell trust. It’s our most valuable asset. So when you are communicating with the board and executive staff about security, you have to communicate that and inspire the feeling of trust. They need to understand that the security being implemented will increase the level of trust across the entire infrastructure to not only protect assets but also enable profitability.
Jason Porter, AT&T: The biggest challenge we face is scale. This is at the core of why you need a fabric. Think of the breadth of things we need to secure: the perimeter, IoT, mobile devices – almost everyday there is a new thing I need to figure out how to defend. We see 130 petabytes of data every day, and we have also seen a 3000% increase in scans. Cybercriminals are preparing the battlefield, so the vast scale of the environment needing to be protected, combined with the security skills gap, makes integration, automation, and the fabric essential to survival in a cybersecurity landscape.
The general sessions concluded with a demo of the Security Fabric, showcasing how integrated Fortinet and partner technologies can detect sophisticated threats and identify and quarantine infected devices.
Darren Turnbull then walked attendees through Fortinet’s vision for expanding the power, visibility, and functionality of the security fabric over the coming year through a combination of enhanced hardware, interconnected solutions and fabric-ready partners, simplified and unified visibility and management, and increasingly automated responses to detected threats.
Read more about this year's Accelerate on our blog.