Fortinet Debuts New Secure Fabric

New update to firmware operating system and new hardware announced.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Apr 24, 2016
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Fortinet is ramping up its network security efforts today with the announcement of an enhanced security fabric framework.

John Maddison, Fortinet’s SVP of Products & Solutions, explained that the reality of modern networks is such that the attack surface has increased dramatically. It's now borderless, with no perimeter. That's where the new Fortinet Security Fabric comes in. The framework provides a scalable approach that enables different nodes on a distributed network to pass security information, improving both visibility and enforcement.

From an awareness perspective, Maddison noted that the fabric makes it possible to configure security as if on a single network, even with multiple devices and firewalls in place.

"So instead of configuring each individual firewall, you apply a policy to the fabric entity, and that works out where the policy needs to go," Maddison explained.

Going a step further, Fortinet is adding in actionable intelligence capabilities to further empower its security fabric. By making use of APIs, Fortinet is enabling its customers to integrate with SIEM, SDN and cloud management technologies. Among the partners that Fortinet will now integrate with are VMware's NSX, PLUMgrid, Nuage Networks and Big Switch.

From a technical perspective, Maddison noted that the protocols used by Fortinet vary to enable the Security Fabric. All of the communications at the highest level are controlled by the Fortinet FortiManager centralized security technology.

Maddison noted that all of the lower level communications for firewall configuration are all proprietary to Fortinet. There is some use of open standards, including TAXII and STIX, for threat information sharing. The Fortinet security fabric approach is also extensible across a distributed enterprise.

From a network segmentation perspective, Fortinet's portfolio of firewalls and switches can serve as segmentation tools to enable end-to-end isolation. Functionally, the secure fabric is being enabled by way of an update to Fortinet's FortiOS, the bare metal firmware operating system used on Fortinet devices.

Hardware is also getting updated in Fortinet's security push, with the new FortiGate 6040E firewall that can deliver up to 320 Gbps of total enterprise firewall throughput. The FortiGate 6040E benefits from the new FortiASIC CP9 content processor to help accelerate performance.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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