Cybersecurity for Communications Service Providers

High-performance Network Traffic

Communications service providers (CSPs) face a difficult challenge in securing their networks. Telecom networks are globally distributed and diverse, encompassing on-premises data centers, public and private cloud deployments, and brick-and-mortar retail locations. These locations often include guest wireless networks and Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices connected to the enterprise wide-area network (WAN).                                 

For a CSP, cybersecurity is of paramount concern. All customer traffic passes through the organization’s data centers, making them a prime target for attack. Point-of-sale (POS) systems in their brick-and-mortar retail locations are also commonly targeted by cyber criminals. CSPs must not only protect the sensitive data entrusted to them in accordance with applicable standards, such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and the upcoming PCI Software Security Framework (SSF), but also protect against attacks designed to degrade the services that they provide to their customers. Accomplishing this requires centralized visibility and comprehensive security protection that does not negatively impact network performance and customer experience.

Protecting Communications Service Providers with the Fortinet Security Fabric

Protecting Communications Service Providers with the Fortinet Security Fabric

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Complying with PCI SSF Without Sacrificing Customer Experience

Complying with PCI SSF Without Sacrificing Customer Experience

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Advanced Threats: The CIO’s Time Bomb

Advanced Threats: The CIO’s Time Bomb

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Key CSP Cybersecurity Challenges

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Network Performance

Customers expect high performance from their CSP’s networks—whether they are using in-store wireless access at a retail location or waiting for their traffic to be routed through the corporate data center. If security technology decreases network performance, it will negatively impact customer experience.

Operational Efficiency

Operational Efficiency

Securing a CSP’s vast network requires a number of different security elements. If these security solutions are not integrated, security workflows must be managed manually. These operational inefficiencies delay threat detection, prevention, and response, create redundancy, and increase operating expense (OpEx) costs.

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End-to-End Visibility

CSPs have diverse networks, including on-premises data centers, cloud deployments, and retail locations with internet-connected point-of-sale (POS) systems. Protecting these heterogeneous networks requires networkwide visibility. However, the point security products deployed to protect against sophisticated, multifaceted attacks create silos that impair visibility.

threat intelligence

Sophisticated Threat Landscape

CSP data centers and the POS devices deployed at their retail locations are an attractive target for cyber criminals. Theft of the data on these devices or denial of access to critical services via distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) or ransomware attacks deny access to critical systems, which can harm a CSP’s ability to meet service-level agreements (SLAs). And as digital innovation creates new attack vectors, including guest wireless networks at retail locations and deployment of IoT devices, protecting against these threats becomes increasingly difficult.

compliance reporting

Regulatory Compliance

CSPs collect payment card and other sensitive data from customers—both at brick-and-mortar retail locations and through online portals. This sensitive data is stored and processed across the organization’s network—both in on-premises data centers and private and public clouds, including Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications. Securing this data in accordance with regulatory standards, such as PCI DSS, becomes more challenging as the organization’s network grows in complexity.

branch network

Branch Networking

CSPs have a number of remote offices that process sensitive user data while onboarding customers and troubleshooting. These branch locations can be a target for attackers trying to gain access to sensitive data or to use them as a stepping stone for access to the headquarters network.

Achieving centralized visibility and control of security operations throughout the headquarters network.

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Securing payment card data as it flows through the organization’s network and simplifying Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance

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Delivering reliable and high-speed networking to branch locations while ensuring end-to-end security from the internet to the switching infrastructure.

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Leveraging real-time threat intelligence, centralized visibility, and automated threat detection and response to secure the enterprise network.

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Consolidating and centralizing visibility, configuration, and control of multi-cloud environments to provide dynamic cloud security to service providers

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Service Provider Enterprise Diagram Headquarters PCICompliance SecureNetworking ATP Dynamic Cloud Security
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Fortinet Differentiators for CSP Cybersecurity

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Visibility

The Fortinet Security Fabric, which offers out-of-the-box integration with over 250 third-party security solutions, enables CSPs to achieve single-pane-of-glass visibility and configuration management for security elements across their network. This enables consistent security policy enforcement, even in cloud environments, while speeding threat detection and response. Tight integration allows CSPs to minimize operational expenditure (OpEx) while meeting SLAs.

automation

Automation

Fortinet solutions enable the latest in security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) capabilities. This strengthens a CSP’s security companywide and enables these enterprises to scale and address resource constraints by maximizing the effectiveness of available skilled personnel. Centralized security management enables enforcement of policies throughout the network and automated report generation for regulators, the C-suite, and the board.

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Proactive, AI-driven Threat Intelligence

Threat intelligence generated by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) at FortiGuard Labs is communicated to security devices in real time via the Fortinet Security Fabric. This provides comprehensive protection against known and unknown threats across the network, from an organization’s POS systems to its cloud-based infrastructure.

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High Performance

FortiGate next-generation firewalls (NGFWs), with corroborated performance testing by NSS Labs, offer the industry’s lowest latency. The highly efficient custom FortiGate application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC), as well as the world’s first software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) ASIC, enables Fortinet to provide high-performance security at the WAN edge and throughout the network. Moreover, turning on advanced features such as secure sockets layer/transport layer security (SSL/TLS) encryption inspection does not impact network performance in speed or throughput. In addition, the FortiGate VM series supports packet acceleration technologies such as data plane development kit (DPDK), single-root input/output virtualization (SR-IOV), and Intel QuickAssist Technology (QAT), along with Fortinet virtual security processing unit (vSPU) technology, to deliver the best performance needed in CSPs’ data centers, whether on-premises or in a private or public cloud.

Headquarters Network Security

The headquarters network of a communications service provider (CSP) is essential to their operations and contains massive amounts of sensitive information. Payment card and billing information collected from customers flows through and is stored on this network. Customers’ traffic is routed through and processed at the enterprise data centers, providing a wealth of valuable data to any attacker able to gain access. The enterprise must be capable of protecting all of this data and maintaining compliance with applicable regulations.

However, a CSP’s cyber-threat exposure is not limited to data theft. A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack or ransomware infection could knock critical services offline. In doing so, an attacker who has compromised the enterprise network can exploit and misuse internet-connected monitoring devices on the network.

Digital innovation drives many CSPs to expand their WANs to include public and private clouds in addition to existing corporate data centers. Protecting such a heterogeneous network environment requires a fully integrated, comprehensive cybersecurity solution. FortiManager, FortiSIEM, and FortiAnalyzer enable security teams to achieve centralized visibility and control across their network and easily perform compliance reporting. FortiClient and FortiEDR (endpoint detection and response) provide integrated, advanced endpoint security solutions for employee workstations and point-of-sale (POS) systems alike. FortiWeb and FortiNAC provide website security and automatic identification and vulnerability scanning of Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices connecting to the network, with FortiAuthenticator simplifying identity management.

For CSPs, Fortinet solutions ease the burden of securing complex, distributed networks with features such as:

·       Native integration with major cloud providers and over 250 third-party security solutions

·       Centralized visibility, management, and policy enforcement from a single pane of glass

·       Out-of-the-box support for compliance management, monitoring, and reporting

·       Built-in analytics solutions to increase application availability and save IT resources

FortiDeceptor complements an organization’s existing breach protection strategy by deceiving, exposing, and eliminating attacks originating from internal and external sources before real damage occurs. FortiInsight user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA) technology detects behavioral anomalies and noncompliant activity that may represent possible insider threats. FortiSandbox offers a powerful combination of advanced detection, automated mitigation, actionable insight, and flexible deployment to stop targeted attacks and subsequent data loss. FortiClient strengthens endpoint security through integrated visibility, control, and proactive defense and enables organizations to discover, monitor, and assess endpoint risks in real time. FortiEDR provides advanced endpoint threat prevention, detection, and response with minimal impact on system performance and availability. FortiGate NGFWs utilize purpose-built cybersecurity processors to deliver top-rated protection, end-to-end visibility and centralized control, as well as high-performance inspection of clear-texted and encrypted traffic. FortiWeb web application firewall secures cloud-based resources and DevOps environments by protecting against known and unknown threats, including sophisticated threats such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting, buffer overflows, and DDoS attacks. FortiNAC provides visibility across the entire network and the ability to control access for all devices and users, including dynamic, automated responses. The FortiAuthenticator identity and access management solution and FortiToken tokens grant access to users on a need-to-know basis. FortiSIEM simplifies security information and event management by delivering visibility, automated response, and fast remediation in a single solution. FortiGate Secure SD-WAN combines next-generation firewall (NGFW) security, advanced routing, and WAN optimization capabilities to deliver high performance and security in a unified offering.
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PCI Compliance for POS

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a major concern for communications service providers (CSPs). With retail outlets scattered across the country, tracking and securing consumer payment card data is complex. Upon the release of the upcoming PCI Software Security Framework (SSF), these requirements will be more strongly enforced, and the complexity of achieving and maintaining compliance will grow.

Achieving and maintaining compliance requires an integrated and intentional approach to compliance. Many organizations attempt to implement security controls specifically to meet regulatory requirements. This often results in a mess of point security solutions with no underlying structure, which provides little or no actual security benefits.              

As a company’s network of retail locations expands and PCI requirements grow more complex, it becomes increasingly difficult to achieve the networkwide visibility and centralized management necessary for maintaining and demonstrating regulatory compliance. Digital innovation initiatives add to the burden on IT and security teams as new devices are added to the network and the company’s digital footprint expands to the cloud. This is further exacerbated with the growth of cloud computing, where organizations are required to appropriately secure and control access to protected data processed and stored on cloud infrastructure, which is not under their complete control.

With the Fortinet Security Fabric, CSPs can achieve the centralized visibility and control needed for PCI DSS/SSF and other areas of compliance. The Security Fabric includes 12 Fabric Connectors and over 135 Fabric application programming interfaces (APIs) for out-of-the-box integration with third-party solutions. An open API ecosystem, collaboration with over 30 threat-sharing organizations, and integration with more than 100 third-party vendor products enable painless integration and centralized management of any security solution.

The security integration provided by the Fortinet Security Fabric provides a variety of compliance-focused solutions for CSPs, such as:

·       Out-of-the-box reporting templates for PCI DSS and other major regulations

·       Ability to centrally manage and enforce security policies throughout the network

·       Automated device identification for networkwide topology mapping

·       Real-time telemetry data from Fortinet products and Fabric-Ready Partner solutions

·       Automated threat detection and response, including automation stitching

 

FortiAnalyzer provides analytics-powered cybersecurity and log management to provide better detection against breaches. FortiManager supports network operations use cases for centralized management, best practices compliance, and workflow automation to provide better protection against breaches. FortiGate Secure SD-WAN combines next-generation firewall (NGFW) security, advanced routing, and WAN optimization capabilities to deliver high performance and security in a unified offering.
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Secure Networking for Branch Locations

Communications service providers’ (CSPs) branch locations need access to fast, reliable, and scalable network connectivity. Frequently, retail locations must perform troubleshooting and repairs for their customers, which requires them to have rapid access to customer data and the ability to perform diagnostic tests that need a stable, reliable network connection.

Deploying this connectivity via traditional multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) lines is an expensive and inflexible solution. In comparison, software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) provides the reliability guarantees of MPLS but operates over a broadband connection. By optimizing usage of multiple transport media, SD-WAN offers faster connection speeds with a lower total cost of ownership (TCO). Optimization of the network infrastructure improves network performance and decreases load at the enterprise data center, increasing operational efficiency. This enables CSPs to meet their service-level agreements (SLAs) while minimizing operational expenditure (OpEx).

One consideration when deploying SD-WAN is that it requires additional security provisions. In order to make full use of SD-WAN’s capabilities, it is necessary to deploy security at the network edge that results in multiple point products. That is unnecessary with Fortinet Secure SD-WAN, an SD-WAN solution that is unlike other solutions on the market, which offers an all-in-one solution for SD-WAN that includes robust SD-WAN threat protection. The built-in next-generation firewall (NGFW) provides security controls for Layer 3 through Layer 7 and industry-leading performance in an appliance with the industry’s first purpose-built SD-WAN application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) chip. The Fortinet Secure SD-WAN appliance also includes an integrated intrusion prevention system (IPS), providing full traffic inspection at the branch location. This enables traffic to be routed directly to its destination, improving network performance, especially of cloud-bound traffic, without sacrificing security.

Fortinet Secure SD-Branch lays the groundwork for extending branch location security with Fortinet SD-Branch. Fortinet SD-Branch centralizes visibility and management of security infrastructure at branch locations from the internet down to the switching layer. This increases the efficiency of security operations, simplifies security control enforcement and data collection for compliance activities, and improves visibility and security of the enterprise WAN. This enables CSPs to decrease overhead and optimize OpEx. Part of Fortinet SD-Branch, FortiAP wireless access points provide high-performance, secure network connectivity for business and guest networks, while FortiNAC provides automated identification and access control for all devices connecting to the network.

With the reliable and secure network connectivity provided by Fortinet Secure SD-WAN, branch locations can also deploy Voice over IP (VoIP) in place of a separate phone service without concerns about bandwidth consumption, availability, or quality of experience. Here, FortiVoice offers an easily configured and flexible VoIP solution that can be isolated from other business and public Wi-Fi networks using the switching and access control capabilities built into Fortinet SD-Branch. To ensure connectivity in the event of a network outage, FortiExtender offers a 3G/4G/LTE/5G backup solution.

When selecting a networking solution, CSPs require a solution that enables them to meet their performance and security benchmarks, providing features such as:

·       Over 5,000 signatures for automatic recognition and optimal routing of application traffic

·       Malware signature updates from FortiGuard Labs for application databases

·       Integrated next-generation firewall (NGFW), antivirus, intrusion prevention system (IPS), and application control for complete threat protection

·       High-throughput inspection of secure sockets layer (SSL) and transport layer security (TLS) traffic for high-performance, comprehensive threat protection

·       Integrated web filtering, making a standalone secure web gateway (SWG) unnecessary

·       Scalable, high-throughput overlay virtual private network (VPN) tunnels to ensure encryption of confidential traffic

 

Fortinet SD-Branch enables CSPs to expand their centralized security visibility and management to branch locations with features such as:

·       Automated discovery and security for connected Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices using FortiGate NGFWs and FortiNAC

·       Full security integration for wired and wireless networks

·       Zero-touch device provisioning with single-pane-of-glass visibility and management

·       Firewalls, Ethernet switches, and WLAN interfaces managed from a single location

FortiGate Secure SD-WAN combines next-generation firewall (NGFW) security, advanced routing, and WAN optimization capabilities to deliver high performance and security in a unified offering. Fortinet SD-Branch enables customers to converge their security and network access, extending the benefits of the Fortinet Security Fabric to their distributed branches. It includes switching, wireless access, and network access control components.
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Advanced Threat Protection

Communications service providers (CSPs) are a common target for malware attacks. A foothold on a CSP’s network is used to spread malware to its customers by taking advantage of their trusted relationship. CSPs need to be able to detect and block malware operating on their networks. However, according to analysis performed by FortiGuard Labs, 40% of new malware detected each day is zero day or previously unknown.                                                          

Advanced threat protection requires a multilayered defense, including features such as:

·       Identification and protection against both known and unknown threats

·       Detection and remediation of internal threats

·       Automatic quarantine and analysis of suspicious content within sandboxes

·       Leveraging deception techniques to identify internal threats

·       Artificial intelligence (AI)- and machine learning (ML)-driven real-time threat intelligence

·       Continuous threat intelligence and malware signature updates

Using data derived from analysis of over 10 billion security events per day, FortiGuard Labs rapidly collects, analyzes, and classifies threats with an extremely high degree of accuracy. It leverages AI and ML to write malware signatures and publish them across the entire Fortinet Security Fabric. The integration provided by the Fortinet Security Fabric across the organization’s network also enables security teams to leverage the latest in security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR).

The widely distributed networks of CSPs offer many possible avenues for unknown threats to gain access, including public Wi-Fi, mobile devices, and connected Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices. Any suspicious content detected by a FortiGate next-generation firewall (NGFW) is forwarded to FortiSandbox for quarantine and inspection—including decryption of secure sockets layer (SSL)/transport layer security (TLS) content— before it reaches the network. Threat intelligence generated by FortiSandbox is then shared with other security elements via the Fortinet Security Fabric. FortiEDR (endpoint detection and response) advanced endpoint protection provides advanced endpoint protection—with a lightweight footprint—with high-availability guarantees, making it capable of protecting even business-critical systems.

Of course, cyber threats are not limited to external attackers. Using FortiDeceptor, an organization can identify malicious insiders or attackers who have gained access to the network. The user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA) features of FortiInsight help to identify anomalous, noncompliant, or suspicious behavior by endpoints or users that may threaten the business.

FortiGate NGFWs utilize purpose-built cybersecurity processors to deliver top-rated protection, end-to-end visibility and centralized control, as well as high-performance inspection of clear-texted and encrypted traffic FortiMail protects against common threats in cloud-based and on-premises email systems. FortiSandbox offers a powerful combination of advanced detection, automated mitigation, actionable insight, and flexible deployment to stop targeted attacks and subsequent data loss. FortiDeceptor complements an organization’s existing breach protection strategy by deceiving, exposing, and eliminating attacks originating from internal and external sources before real damage occurs. FortiNAC provides visibility across the entire network and the ability to control access for all devices and users, including dynamic, automated responses. FortiIsolator accesses content and files from the web in a remote container and then renders risk-free content to users.
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Dynamic Cloud Security

Organizations are increasingly embracing cloud services for business-critical data storage and applications, and these resources require robust security. While most cloud service providers offer built-in security settings, they are often incorrectly configured by organizations, leaving sensitive data vulnerable to exfiltration. A common cause of this is misunderstandings of the cloud shared-responsibility model, which outlines the security responsibilities assigned to the cloud service provider, customer, and what is shared between them.

Achieving centralized visibility and consistent security configuration management is also complex in the cloud, with every cloud vendor offering different built-in security controls and interfaces. Securing the cloud requires centralized visibility across on-premises and cloud deployments and security solutions that are designed to provide consistent security and policy management for cloud-based applications across multi-cloud environments.

The first step in securing a multi-cloud network requires networkwide visibility and centralized configuration management. The Fortinet Security Fabric natively integrates with major cloud providers and over 250 third-party security solutions. This enables it to break down the silos between different cloud deployments—offering centralized visibility and enforcement of security policies across the entire network. This centralized control makes it unnecessary for security teams to manually configure the security settings offered by each cloud service provider.

Once full visibility into an organization’s cloud deployment has been achieved, the next step is securing cloud-based applications. Many regulations, like the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), require a web application firewall (WAF). Under PCI DSS Requirement 6.6., a WAF is required in DevOps environments unless an organization performs a full code review upon every modification to an application.

The WAF, as a result, is a vital part of a company’s cloud security deployment. FortiWeb WAF is available as a physical appliance, a virtual machine (VM), or as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering for cloud-native protection of the organization’s websites, payment portals, and web application programming interfaces (APIs).

Organizations also must manage access to their cloud deployments as a whole. FortiCASB and FortiCWP provide cloud-native access control and workload protection, simplifying visibility and security management across multi-cloud deployments. Finally, FortiGate next-generation firewalls (NGFWs) are available in a cloud-native Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) form factor, offering scalable security for any deployment environment.

Applications and data storage are not the only cloud-based assets that an organization needs to secure. Organizations are increasingly taking advantage of cloud-based SaaS email solutions such as Google Mail or Microsoft Office 365. FortiMail enables an organization to protect both SaaS and on-premises email deployments with the same email gateway.

In summary, Fortinet dynamic cloud security solutions include the features needed to secure even multi-cloud environments, such as:

·       Native integration with security features of all major cloud service providers

·       Networkwide visibility and management of multi-cloud environments from a single pane of glass

·       Cloud-native website protection, email, and firewall solutions

·       Real-time, artificial intelligence (AI)-driven threat intelligence distributed throughout the security infrastructure

·       Automated identification of 5,000 types of application traffic, including encrypted cloud application data

·       Secure, high-performance connectivity to cloud resources with Secure SD-WAN

 

FortiCASB manages access to valuable cloud applications and data across multi-cloud deployments. FortiCWP evaluates and monitors cloud configurations, pinpoints misconfigurations, and analyzes traffic across cloud resources. FortiGate VM and SaaS offerings perform inspection of traffic entering and leaving the cloud, including SSL/TLS encrypted traffic. FortiMail protects against common threats in cloud-based and on-premises email systems. FortiWeb web application firewall secures cloud-based resources and DevOps environments by protecting against known and unknown threats, including sophisticated threats such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting, buffer overflows, and DDoS attacks.
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