Business & Technology
Digital transformation at the branch office, including remote retail locations, school campuses, and healthcare and financial offices, is fundamental if today’s distributed workforce is going to be able to keep up with evolving business and consumer demands. Conducting digital business today requires access to critical services and applications located in the cloud. And many of these business-critical applications, such as unified communications, are highly sensitive to bandwidth limitations or things like jitter or lag times that often result from unreliable connections, which becomes an obstacle for efficient operations.
Historically, these remote locations were all connected to business applications and services through a single connection back to the core network. An MPLS connection and WAN router provided reliable, yet static connectivity for millions of offices. However, because this hub-and-spoke model means that all applications and access to online resources need to be backhauled through the core network, local servers are being overwhelmed with huge volumes of traffic, along with the capacity of the fixed MPLS and router combination at the branch office. As a result, productivity and user experience are severely impacted.
While SD-WAN solutions address this challenge with a more flexible and dynamic connectivity strategy, early-to-market solutions failed to consider the security needs of these connections. The one thing that the traditional model had going for it was that all traffic was at least inspected and secured using the full stack of enterprise-grade security solutions deployed at the core. Direct access to cloud and internet services from the branch means that protection is no longer available. Unfortunately, the vast majority of SD-WAN solutions on the market provide little more than a VPN and a stripped down firewall to protect this critical link in today’s distributed networks, which leaves organizations poorly protected and highly vulnerable.
Fortinet believes that our focus on Secure SD-WAN innovation contributed to our placement of highest ability to execute and highest completeness of vision in the Challengers Quadrant of the November 2019 Gartner Magic Quadrant for WAN Edge Infrastructure. Unlike many SD-WAN solutions, we think Fortinet Secure SD-WAN is one of the few solutions on the market that addresses the FULL range of challenges being faced by organizations, combining advanced connectivity and traffic and application management functionality with a full suite of integrated security solutions, including NGFW, IPS, antivirus/anti-malware, web filtering, a full range of VPN options, and advanced threat protection solutions such as sandboxing.
In fact, in the November 2019 Gartner analyst research report, “Critical Capabilities for WAN Edge Infrastructure,” Fortinet received the highest score in the “Security-Sensitive WAN” use case, and ranked within the five highest for all remaining WAN Edge use cases. Gartner went on to recommend that “users consider the set of critical capabilities as some of the most important criteria for [WAN Edge infrastructure] acquisition decisions.”
The marketplace is taking notice. For example, Fortinet’s Secure SD-WAN just received CRN’s 2019 Tech Innovator award in the “Networking – SD-WAN” category, as well as CRN’s 2019 Product of the Year in the Security-Network – Technology subcategory. These awards are just a small reflection of the impact that Fortinet’s Secure SD-WAN solution is having on transforming the market.
We have also been recognized for our work with MEF, the group responsible for defining SD-WAN certifications and standards. In addition to winning two MEF 3.0 Proof of Concept awards – one for developing security standards for secure connections between separate SD-WAN devices, and the other for ensuring application security for SD-WAN services – we also lead a key Initiative in the MEF Applications Committee on Application Security for SD-WAN Services (MEF88).
Additionally, Fortinet’s secure SD-WAN solution has received two consecutive NSS Labs “Recommended” ratings and showcased the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO), resilient high availability for better user experience, and high WAN performance for cloud applications.
With over 21,000 Fortinet Secure SD-WAN customers and counting, organizations are quickly learning that digital transformation without security is a dead end. Instead, manufacturers and businesses alike need to take an aggressive security-first approach that ensures that all innovation includes security-driven networking to ensure that flexibility and adaptability don’t leave organizations exposed to today’s increasingly aggressive – and successful – cybercriminals.
Take a security-driven approach to networking to improve user experience and simplify operations at the WAN edge with Fortinet’s Secure SD-WAN solution.
Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.