Highlighting the Value of an Integrated Security Platform

By Jon Bove | June 16, 2021

As organizations strive to modernize their networks, the latter will continue to expand and become increasingly complex. This will lead to a deeper fragmentation of traditional edges, like the data center, wide area network (WAN), and local area network (LAN). As a result of this fragmentation, partners may find it difficult to secure their customers’ networks, which now include new unique edges. 

Identifying New Challenges Impacting Networks

Even as they work from home, remote employees require the same level of access, speed, customization, and performance as their in-office peers. However, to secure these networks, organizations often turn to point solutions designed to cover only a particular network segment. This fact was underscored in a 2020 IBM survey, which found that organizations deploy approximately 45 different solutions on average, with most requiring coordination across 19 security tools. 

With IT staff already overwhelmed with monitoring, this disaggregation can create security gaps that cyber criminals use to gain unauthorized access, steal or corrupt data and systems, or even disrupt the economy. 

Converging Crucial Elements in An Integrated Security Platform

Establishing a flexible and adaptive network that connects in-person and remote workers is challenging. Similarly, managing security in a continuously evolving threat landscape becomes increasingly difficult, especially for organizations using legacy solutions and strategies. 

Partners can help their customers address these issues by working with them to implement a security-driven networking strategy. Converging networking and security breaks down silos and encourages collaboration across the network; when networking and security are integrated into the IT infrastructure, the organization can take various crucial factors into account, including the network, endpoints and devices, and the cloud and applications. Further, security can take key networking functions into account, enabling them to more appropriately adapt configurations, policies, and programs for more consistent protection. 

Today’s organizations need solutions that offer coverage across the ever-expanding attack surface. Understanding the components of the cyber kill chain is critical to maintaining a strong defense. This includes the following steps:

  • Reconnaissance
  • Weaponization
  • Delivery
  • Exploitation
  • Installation
  • Command and control
  • Action objectives

Customers rely on their partners to help them evaluate these factors across their digital attack surface so that they can thwart the cyber kill chain at any given point, in any location within the network. Therefore, partners must not only understand these factors themselves, but also know what it takes to address them. 

Using a Broad, Integrated, and Automated Security Platform

To address changes within their network environments, many organizations turn to integrated tools or platforms. Despite this demand, historically, the cybersecurity industry has failed to deliver the advanced solutions that could keep pace with continuous network changes. Instead of providing a comprehensive and integrated solution, many vendors have delivered security for a specific piece of a business’s network. 

With the right platform, however, customers can effectively deploy and manage security solutions. Because of this, security teams should consider a broad platform that can help improve performance and deliver automation that meets the advanced needs of today’s businesses. 

Additionally, partners can help customers ensure consistent security and performance spanning from edge to edge with comprehensive, deeply integrated solutions. They can also facilitate integration throughout their customers’ IT infrastructure by deploying a robust solution built on a common foundation that converges networking and security. This way, security teams can keep pace with shifts between the two, offering comprehensive visibility across the entire IT infrastructure, including hybrid hardware and software deployments. Security solutions that consider the various connected systems deployed across the network can more efficiently identify potential threats, share threat intelligence, and coordinate a unified and appropriate response. 

With increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks that happen at machine-level speeds, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are more important than ever. Humans alone cannot respond quickly and effectively enough. Organizations embracing digital transformation of business processes need to embrace the digital transformation of security systems, as well. These types of security systems, often built into integrated platforms, provide real-time identification, analysis, and threat responses that eliminate security gaps and embrace dynamic changes. 

Short- and Long-Term Success with the Right Security Platform

Although more organizations are embracing a platform approach, many platforms still focus on a single security element. Businesses should consider whether the platform solution they look to implement truly offers end-to-end protection across the entire IT infrastructure, including across the network, endpoints, and cloud. 

Partners can enable coordination across their customers’ entire suite of security technologies with a platform approach that converges networking and security built on a common foundation. A unified, centralized source of threat intelligence enables a more collaborative response to emerging threats, making it easier for security teams to mitigate network security gaps and improve overall response protocols. 

Modern business requires advanced, modern solutions that flexibly respond to changes. The right platform should continuously adapt to the digital threat landscape and digital attack surface changes facing the organization. With a broad, integrated security platform, partners can more easily maintain and even improve their customers’ cyber health, enabling them to take advantage of digital innovation without compromising security. 

This is a summary of an article written for Channel Futures by Jon Bove, VP of Channel Sales at Fortinet. The entire article can be accessed here.

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