Business & Technology

Fortinet is Deeply Woven into Canada’s Digital Fabric

By Graham Bushkes and Nick Alevetsovitis | September 30, 2022

Fortinet has over 2,257 employees in Canada, and there are Fortinet team members throughout the country engaging with Canadian customers, prospects, and partners in businesses, nonprofits, educational institutions, and government agencies.

Although, Canadians and their organizations are experiencing some of the same cybersecurity issues similar to other countries, there are some differences. Fortinet Canada's Graham Bushkes, Vice President Sales, Public Sector and Channels and Nick Alevetsovitis Vice President, Enterprise and Commercial Business, share some perspectives from customers and partners they work with every day.

According to Graham Bushkes, the top-of-mind issues for both public sectors and private industries are the lack of security operation center (SOC) resources; the need for SOC-as-a-Service solutions; the epidemic of ransomware; and the growing demand for incident response and remediation, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML).

The Cybersecurity Skills Gap

In Canada as well as the rest of the world, the quantity of formally-trained cybersecurity professionals is not keeping pace with the speed of growth of cybersecurity threats, nor the open cybersecurity positions that need to be filled to better defend against cyberattacks. In the industry, this is referred to as the cybersecurity skills gap.

We believe this is a telltale sign of a big problem with security staff resourcing. It is encouraging customers to buy point products for their challenges, instead of purchasing broader and more intelligent solutions, because they often cannot find enough qualified people to manage them and assume a “box” is easier. "The reality is that an integrated platform is the only way to consolidate security devices seamlessly across every part of the network to adapt in real time to any changes the business requires and be powered by actionable threat intelligence," Nick Alevetsovitis commented.

In addition, a recent global research study, which included respondents from Canada, indicates that 80% of organizations surveyed have suffered at least one breach that they could attribute to a lack of cybersecurity skills or awareness. This is part of the reason Fortinet has a goal to train one million people by 2026 to help to bridge the cybersecurity skills gap. Also, in Canada Fortinet is working with local universities and colleges to create cybersecurity training curriculim along with our Fortinet Training Institute

Using Artificial Intelligence

The talent shortage is compelling organizations to employ AI to automate their cybersecurity initiatives. And the need for automation is tied to minimizing the human capital that is required to address the ever growing and evolving cybersecurity challenges.

“By applying AI and machine learning, more threats can be discovered, stopped, and prevented, which enables humans to concentrate on the threats that are unknown or higher level security operations. It is important to note that AI alone cannot handle this challenge. What’s needed is human capital and trained AI along with machine learning to deal with these types of threats,” says Nick Alevetsovitis. "Fortinet has been doing this for years and a lot of this engineering is taking place right here in Canada. Fortinet has been in the AI business for more than a decade."

Securing Critical Infrastructure and Operational Technology

In addition to the cybersecurity talent shortage and artificial intelligence usage, Alevetsovitis hears Canadian customers talking about how many critical infrastructures and OT devices are running older operating systems, and becoming vulnerable to cyberattacks given IT and OT convergence. “This legacy technology doesn't only live in nuclear power plants and oil and gas companies, but exists everywhere, including in verticals like retail and manufacturing. There's a lot of consideration being put there, because if you read the news, you will see they are under attack or being threatened by cybercriminals or nation-states,” said Alevetsovitis.

The trend of attacking operational technology is continuing to grow. When organizations see other companies’ critical infrastructures get attacked and taken down, it inspires them to put a lot more emphasis and priority on securing their own OT networks. The challenge is that even though those OT networks are often off Internet, it's extremely difficult nowadays to have an OT network that's not touching the Internet, to some extent.

Reducing Complexity is Key

Today, operational complexity is slowing down digital initiatives. Applications are distributed in the data center, in the cloud, and aaS. Users are in constant movement across home, office, and travel. More devices than ever are attaching to applications, and most organizations are faced with too many IT and security stacks, too many vendors, and too many products that operate in a silo.

By consolidating point products – across both security and networking – organizations can reduce complexity to close security gaps, improve operational efficiency, and optimize user experience. Two key concepts to achieve consolidation are the convergence of networking and security and an integrated cybersecurity platform.

"No matter where staff is working, they will be expecting a good user experience, which means seamless user interaction from anywhere from any device. Strong cybersecurity is the key to this strategy’s success. A Security-driven Networking approach can improve user experience and simplify operations at the WAN edge with Secure SD-WAN," says Alevetsovitis.

"Every organization across Canada has a unique digital acceleration journey," Graham Bushkes stated. Some are implementing controls inside data centers and in the cloud, and are offering secure connectivity across branches, campuses, and other facilities. Some are implementing SD-WAN for application needs, and others are taking the next step and adding secure remote access through SASE.

"Wherever customers are on their journey we want to help them unify security and networking solutions because converged technologies are a great way to reduce complexity and increase security effectiveness across today’s expanding networks," Graham Bushkes added.

"Organizations in Canada are also looking for automated cybersecurity platforms composed of integrated products working as a collaborative across networks, endpoints and clouds," Graham Bushkes commented. They are seeing the need to enable: automated response with actionable threat intelligence, centralized decision making and control, better attack surface coverage, and advanced detection and mitigation. 

Fortinet Canada: The Leader for a Reason

Fortinet is the cybersecurity leader in Canada with years of organic innovation developed in our major R&D centers in North America and Canada. With 1,255 awarded patents, Fortinet has nearly 3x more patents than comparable cybersecurity companies. In addition to the superior innovation of our products and services, our continuous commitment and local investments in engineering and threat research are several reasons why Fortinet is a leader in Canada. 

Fortinet has staff and offices across Canada and customers from all types of sectors from financial services, retail, education, utilities, or government. 2,257 of Fortinet’s 12,091+ employees are based in Canada. We are working with Canadian higher-education institutions like Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, and others to recruit graduates into our company and many others. We are offering qualified individuals terrific career paths as soon as they complete their studies with Fortinet Training Institute curriculum. 

Our goal isn’t just to be the best or the biggest security vendor. It is to ensure that our customers and partners in Canada can safely and effectively compete in today’s accelerating digital marketplace.

Find out how the Fortinet Security Fabric platform delivers broad, integrated, and automated protection across an organization’s entire digital attack surface to deliver consistent security across all networks, endpoints, and clouds.