Business & Technology

Empowering the Hybrid Workforce with FortiOS 7.0-powered SASE

By Nirav Shah | February 04, 2021

The rapid transition to a remote workforce and the resulting growth of the off-network user as a central part of the modern enterprise network has exposed one of the weakest links in most security strategies – remote access. And this trend is likely to become permanent, as a recent IDC report suggests that, post-COVID, more than 50% of workers will either continue to work remotely or have a flexible arrangement. As a result, many organizations are looking for a new approach to security and network connectivity for hybrid workforces. 

The Convergence of Networking and Security 

Today’s reliance on cloud-based applications to run businesses enables digital innovation. This, in turn, is expanding the network and creating new network edges. But for that to work, for businesses to be as agile and adaptive as they need to be, application availability and user experience need to be consistent, regardless of where today’s users are working. But that’s just half of the story. While today’s networks are designed to be highly agile, accommodating the needs of today’s distributed and mobile workforce, most traditional security solutions are not. That means that a dynamic network environment may leave critical resources and data unprotected while approaches to security struggle to keep up with expanding infrastructure and shifting resources.

Fortinet has addressed this challenge by converging security and networking functions into a single, integrated system that can expand to any edge. This Security-driven Networking strategy, delivered through advances in our FortiOS operating system, has been delivered in a variety of solutions, including Secure SD-WANSD-Branch and in our FortiGate network firewalls. We believe this unique approach helped Fortinet placed as a Leader in both the November 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Network Firewalls and September 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant for WAN Edge Infrastructure reports for the same product – FortiGate – powered by FortiOS.

And now, with the release of FortiOS 7.0, we are expanding the power and functionality of Security-driven Networking to the cloud and the thin edge branch by delivering a Fortinet SASE solution in the cloud. 

This means that organizations can provide rapid access to business-critical applications, reliable, self-healing connectivity and consistent security inspection and policy enforcement to their most remote, and often most vulnerable workers, whether they are highly mobile, or working from home offices or remote branch offices. Rather than requiring these workers to connect directly back to the core network, remote users can now connect to the Fortinet SASE solution to ensure that connectivity anywhere is secure, optimized, and highly elastic.  

This approach not only ensures that end users have secure access to the resources they need, but it also enables organization to accelerate their digital innovation efforts to meet the cutting-edge business requirements of today. As organizations go through their hybrid journey, Fortinet is able to support them by delivering consistent security everywhere.

It is also important to note that Fortinet is the ONLY vendor to provide consistent protection and connections to and across every network edge. The challenge holding organizations back implementing a true “work from anywhere” strategy is that they have not been able to provide consistent security wherever their users are located. Fortinet’s Security-Driven Networking strategy, now enhanced with SASE, extends our leadership position at the WAN edge to the cloud, providing consistent security and network connectivity everywhere. 

FortiOS 7.0 and Fortinet SASE Provide a Better Approach

This all begins with the Fortinet Security Fabric. The Security Fabric platform enables organizations to consolidate their security resources around a single, integrated security architecture to ensure consistent security, policy enforcement, management, and end to end visibility across every network edge ­– LANs, WANs, datacenters, public clouds, private clouds, OT networksIoT systems, NOC and SOC environments, and mobile and IoT devices.

This latest release of FortiOS extends the Security Fabric even further by adding an additional layer of security for remote, off-net end-points, thereby closing the teleworker security gap and addressing the increased focus of cyberthreats targeting remote workers, home office networks, and off-net assets. FortiOS 7.0’s new, cloud-based SASE Security-as-a-Service delivers improved user experience combined with enterprise-grade security to reduce the risk profile of remote workers and harden the weakest link in most security architectures.

Fortinet SASE combines consistent policy enforcement with maximized user experience for all users roaming off-net, providing FWaaS, IPS, DLP, DNS, SWG, Sandboxing, and networking peering where users are located. Rather than backhauling traffic to HQ, connecting to a cloud-based SASE solution ensures direct and secure internet access for users anywhere. This cloud-based consumption model is especially suited to enhance and enable business agility for organizations trying to support a dynamic and distributed workforce. It empowers organizations to build and extend their remote workforce and distributed business models with the assurance that not only will their remote users have high-performance access to critical applications and services, but that everyone and every device, regardless of location, will receives the same level of enterprise-grade protections.

Looking Ahead

Organizations that prefer a lightweight simplified branch (Thin Edge) are also supported via Fortinet’s SASE cloud-delivered solution. Our cloud-based SASE solution enables organizations to establish and maintain secure, high-performance connections for branch offices. An easy-to-deploy thin client enables simple, zero-touch provisioning, effectively extending LAN access controls to the remote branch. This also helps ensure consistent security between all of the Security POPs over which thin edge devices communicate. By moving the compute workload into the cloud, customers can achieve their desired OPEX-based purchase model – all while providing security in a scalable, flexible, and cloud-managed SASE form factor. 

Hardening the Weakest Link in Your Security Chain

The cloud-based Fortinet SASE services provided by FortiOS 7.0 are an essential step forward in enabling organizations to embrace their accelerating digital innovation strategies and empower their hybrid workforce. Fortinet SASE extends high performance, reliable connectivity, and enterprise-grade security to the network’s most vulnerable assets: remote workers and home offices. And it does so while keeping costs under control through an OPEX subscription model, enabling innovation without compromise, without breaking the bank.