In recent years, the US manufacturer Fortinet has become one of the leading providers of firewalls, NGFWs and UTM solutions in this country too. With its Fortinet Security Fabric, the company is pursuing a holistic approach which also efficiently protects hybrid IT environments from cyber threats.

Spectacular ransomware attacks in recent weeks – for example, on the fuel supplier Colonial Pipeline and the meat company JBS – have brought attempts to electronically blackmail companies back into the eye of the media. The American IT security provider Fortinet has been involved in defence against cyber criminals for a long time now. This spring, the company published its latest “FortiGuard Labs Global Threat Landscape Report”.

The report describes the most recent changes in the threat landscape. The data compiled by FortiGuard Labs also shows that there was a sevenfold increase in all ransomeware activity between the first and second halves of 2020. According to the company’s findings, the sectors most frequently targeted for ransomware attacks are health, service companies, public bodies and the finance industry.

But the global Covid pandemic also continues to play a part. The pandemic means that many employees are still working from home. So one of the most important tasks for company IT departments is to make them safe. Fortinet has also registered increased attacks on supply chains. The most well-known example of this threat is the attack on SolarWinds, where the update mechanism for the Orion network management software was compromised – and consequently tens of thousands of company networks.

IT security solutions from Fortinet

Fortinet has extensive experience in cyber security. The company has been developing solutions to protect company networks from cyber attacks for more than 20 years now. For example, the FortiGate series which first appeared in 2002 is so successful that it is still on the market today. Over the years, the appliances have been continuously developed and extended with new functions. Although their main focus was originally traditional firewall services, nowadays Fortinet is focusing its efforts on modern Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFWs).

The FortiGate Next-Generation Firewalls have been available as a virtual UTM (Unified Threat Management) solution for a long time now – in addition to the classical appliance. These can be integrated into hybrid IT environments quickly and easily. Fortinet’s portfolio includes solutions for both large and small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), so you can choose from a wide range of products.

In the network security sector, Fortinet has been offering Intrusion Detection/Prevention Systems and secure web gateways for some time now and, more recently, a SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) solution for protecting cloud environments as well. There are also products for the network edge, which has recently gained in significance. These range from switching and wireless solutions for LAN, through to LTE and SD-WAN solutions for Wide Area Networks (WAN). Automation is another area which Fortinet covers. Here the company offers solutions for automated and centralised product administration, as well as analytics-supported log and security management.

Fortinet doesn’t limit itself to just a few target markets with its products. For example, the manufacturer not only offers its solutions to the telecommunications industry and service providers, but also to schools, universities, government authorities, retail, financial services, the health sector, the media, the entertainment industry, hotels and manufacturing companies as well as infrastructure organisations. They receive tailored security solutions from Fortinet for their network environment.

Here’s a summary of Fortinet’s most important products and services

FortiGate Next-Generation Firewalls

The FortiGate series includes powerful Next Generation firewalls for every size of business and every area of application – from one-person home offices up to gigantic high-performance data centres. The entry-level class consists of models such as the (currently) smallest appliance, the FortiGate 30E, which is capable of an SSL throughput of up to 160 MBit/s, through to the FortiGate 80F, which is capable of 715 MBit/s. The manufacturer even offers especially rugged versions for industrial environments.

Fortinet also covers the mid range with models such as the FortiGate 600E and the high-end segment with, for example, the FortiGate 4400F. The latter appliance is able to achieve an SSL throughput of up to 65 GBit/s. It is designed for use by large companies and service providers. Heading up the scale, the product range is rounded off by the FortiGate 6300F and the FortiGate 6500F. These can achieve an SSL throughput of up to 130 GBit/s. Ideal applications for these models are company network edges, hybrid data centres or securely separating internal segments.

The Fortinet Security Fabric

The threat situation continues to develop. Although the edge was once the clear external limit of a company and could be protected with strategically located firewalls, nowadays these barriers are beginning to blur. The use of the cloud and the relocation of many jobs to home offices – outside the protected office environment – have meant that traditional concepts need to be rethought. Fortinet’s response to the changing situation is the development of the Fortinet Security Fabric.

This is based on FortiOS. This operating system protects physical, virtual, cloud and as-a-service environments, not only covering the network but also endpoints and the cloud. With the FortiOS update to version 7.0 in February this year, Fortinet has also extended its Fortinet Security Fabric with around 300 new functions. Now the platform supports modern concepts such as the zero trust model and application control, in order to consistently control access to the network. This considerably reduces opportunities for attacks, as every user and every device must be verified for each application session.

It is now also possible to protect 5G environments using Fortinet Security Fabric. The FortiGate 7121F and the FortiExtender 511F-5G are two new products which make introducing 5G faster and safer at the same time. They can be used in 5G campus networks, for example.

Individually tailored advice and support from HCD Consulting

The security solutions described in this article are just an initial overview of Fortinet’s wide-ranging cyber security portfolio. If you have questions about its solutions, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We’d be happy to offer you advice and support.