Industry Trends

Innovation Insights: Protecting A Hyperconnected World

By Ken Xie | January 10, 2017

People, things, and ideas, connected together by IoT and the cloud, are driving the new digital economy. This new hyperconnected world is not only changing how companies do business, but also how people work, live, and learn. It is changing the world at an unprecedented rate.

What does this hyperconnected world look like? It is estimated that by 2020 we will have deployed over 50 billion networked devices and over 20 billion connected IoT endpoints. That is about 4.3 connected devices for every person on the planet. And each of these devices is designed to collect, share, and deliver information on demand.

To keep up with the volume of data and transactions that this hyperconnected world generates, networks are being redesigned. In just the past few years, network architectures have started to evolve from traditional, point-to-point connections between controlled network devices to a highly meshed network of networks. This hyperconnected architecture has been further fueled by the growth of mobility, IoT, and the cloud, and is allowing organizations to create new value by accessing, connecting, correlating, and distributing data.

But this is just the beginning. To keep up with the volume of data and connections, networks will need to become even more automated. Software-defined networks (SDN) automated the physical network to reduce configuration errors and management overhead, allowing data and resources to be accessed and moved on demand.  And Intent-Based Networks (IBN) will soon be able to automatically recognize and respond to changing business needs and user requirements.   Translates business language into automated policy configuration.  This allows infrastructure to become both flexible and temporary. Connectivity will be created on demand using owned, rented, and even temporarily borrowed network resources. And innovation and automation will be accelerated by advanced data analytics and correlation.

Data is King

Data is the fuel of the digital economy. Technology is making it possible to correlate, analyze, and make decisions from data never possible before. Because data can live anywhere, intuitive network and computing environments will move beyond the traditional data center, remote office, or even mobile worker. They will include IoT devices, edge-based computing, and the creation of new network environments, from small “Personal Area Networks” to hyperconnected Smart Cities.

As a result, data will no longer simply be gathered and stored until it is needed. Instead, it will be continuously collected, processed, and shared in real time across hyperconnected networks of devices. This will allow them to make important semi-autonomous and autonomous decisions without human intervention.

Of course, any data that can be collected can also be stolen, ransomed, or corrupted. And because data will be so distributed, the potential attack surface will continue to grow. As devices and data, including critical infrastructure, become increasingly interconnected and autonomous, new cyberattacks can result in significant economic and social disruption.

The Fortinet Security Fabric

To respond to these new challenges, security also needs to change. Traditional, isolated security devices operating at the edge of a network or network segment were never designed to deliver the protection that these new hyperconnected networks require.

Security tools will need to see and collaborate with each other, collect and share critical information, and automatically synchronize threat responses anywhere across the entire network. To deal with the increasing volume of data, security will also need to be much more powerful. And as IBN architectures begin to be deployed, organizations will need to deploy Intent-Based Network Security that is able to recognize network changes, anticipate threats, and automatically respond.

Fortinet predicted these changes years ago and began to build highly integrated and interoperable security solutions designed to meet the demands of today’s hyperconnected world. The Fortinet Security Fabric was also specifically planned and designed to enable a layered and collaborative defense for distributed assets. It combines next-generation detection and response systems, intelligent network segmentation, and single-pane-of-glass management into a unified framework.

The Fortinet Security Fabric is the first security architectural approach designed to see and respond to sophisticated threats, automatically adapt to distributed and changing networks, and provide the power needed to keep up with growing data and user demands.