Fortinet Boosts Security Fabric With Cloud, SD-WAN Security Features

The network security vendor releases its FortiOS 6.0 firmware, providing expanded visibility and control to enable a multidevice security fabric.

Fortinet Michael Xie

Network security firm Fortinet held its Accelerate 18 annual customer conference from Feb. 26 to March 1 in Las Vegas, highlighting successes and announcing new products.

The biggest set of announcements came on Feb. 27, with the launch of the FortiOS 6.0 firmware, which enables Fortinet's security fabric. Among the new features in FortiOS 6.0 are integrated SD-WAN security, improved cloud visibility and a security fabric audit capability.

"We are living in an era of hyper-connectivity. Enterprises are adopting new devices that have not been seen on the network traditionally," Michael Xie, founder, president and CTO of Fortinet, said in a video detailing his company's new capabilities. "While these new devices create exciting opportunities, they also increase the complexity of the network, expand the attack surface and attract advanced threats."

Fortinet's product portfolio includes both physical and virtual appliances for network security that have the FortiOS firmware at the core. The Fortinet security fabric ties together multiple Fortinet technologies in an effort to provide a comprehensive security approach. Xie explained that Fortinet first launched its security fabric architecture three years ago to help solve some of the challenges that face modern hyper-connected enterprises. Among the core attributes of the Fortinet security fabric that FortiOS enables are visibility into network elements, integrated detection of advanced threats and automated response capabilities.

Among the new capabilities that improve Fortinet's security fabric is a feature the company calls cloud connectors. The goal of the cloud connector feature is to provide full visibility across multicloud environments, such that an enterprise can enable end-to-end policy and enforcement.

"Think of them [cloud connectors] as APIs that abstract FortiOS from the objects in the cloud," John Maddison, senior vice president of Products & Solutions at Fortinet, told eWEEK. "Hence, we can make updates to the cloud connector functionality without having to always do a release of FortiOS."

Another new capability is the Security Fabric Audit Update Service. Maddison explained that the Security Fabric Audit Update Service delivers best practices that Fortinet customers can consume via FortiGuard updates. FortiGuard is Fortinet's threat research intelligence feed service.

"As we move forward, we will add regulatory compliance templates to the Security Fabric Audit Update Service, probably starting with PCI and later on GDPR," Maddison said.


Software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) is a growing area of the networking business, enabling organizations to benefit from multiple public internet links for connectivity. During Fortinet's fourth-quarter fiscal 2017 financial earnings call on Feb. 5, Fortinet's CEO Ken Xie said that SD-WAN represents a growth opportunity for his company.

As part of the FortiOS 6.0 update, there is an improved secure SD-WAN feature that helps organizations mitigate risk and limit potential attacks.

Looking forward, Maddison said that throughout the rest of 2018 Fortinet plans on having other product and solution updates, including additional new functionality that will benefit from artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. He added that Fortinet also plans to continue to build on its multicloud capabilities and partnerships.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.