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Fortinet Intros SD-WAN Appliance, Inks More Secure SD-WAN Partnerships

Few companies in the exploding software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) space have been as busy as security-centric Fortinet lately, as it introduced a new appliance and formed partnerships with Equinix and Amdocs.

The company touts its alternative approach to the typical scheme of organizations adding security to existing SD-WAN solutions, instead weaving in SD-WAN connectivity functionality into its "next-gen firewall."

To that end, the Sunnyvale, Calif., company last week announced FortiGate 40F, a secure SD-WAN appliance based on its patented SoC4 SD-WAN ASIC for small and midsize businesses, emphasizing affordability, a small form factor and optional built-in LTE or WiFi connectivity to ease the deployment of Fortinet Secure SD-WAN in those smaller organizations.

The firm said its new solution addresses the unique challenges and limitations faced by those SMBs, further describing those needs with a quote of research firm Gartner, "These enterprises rely on a variety of business applications, with an increasing reliance on SaaS applications and a smaller branch footprint. A growing percentage show interest in migrating to internet-only services as their primary WAN transport."

The appliance comes in three versions: FortiGate 40F for out-of-the-box deployments; FortiGate 40F with LTE for reliable connectivity anywhere; and FortiGate 40F with WiFi for Secure SD-Branch from a single appliance.

Organizations can manage the appliances with the company's Fabric Management Center, enabling "do-it-yourself" deployments with zero-touch deployment and configuration.

Also last week, Fortinet announced a partnership with Equinix, a global interconnection and data center company, to add the Fortinet Secure SD-WAN to that company's Network Edge solution, described as providing virtual network services that run on a modular infrastructure platform, optimized for instant deployment and interconnection of network services.

"The addition of Fortinet Secure SD-WAN to Network Edge allows Equinix to empower enterprise customers with a cloud on-ramp solution across multiple public clouds with full-featured SD-WAN that is scalable from mid-market to large distributed enterprises," Fortinet said in a statement. "With Fortinet Secure SD-WAN now available via Network Edge on Platform Equinix, enterprise customers are able to resolve latency challenges while accessing multi-cloud applications and optimize their cloud connectivity without compromising on security."

Following up on that partnership announcement just yesterday, Fortinet announced further integration of the flagship Secure SD-WAN with the orchestration platform offered by Amdocs. "The Amdocs service lifecycle management and orchestration solution empowers service providers to rapidly define, launch, fulfill and operate Fortinet Secure SD-WAN's full range of next-generation firewall security services embedded with native and scalable SD-WAN capabilities," the company said in a statement. "This combined solution, with the proper automation and orchestration layer on top of SD-WAN, provides critical service agility and ability to quickly and efficiently scale to a large number of customers and sites."

Also, the company made waves recently with the claim that more than 21,000 organizations have signed on for Fortinet Secure SD-WAN, which was newsworthy because that is more customers than counted by industry leader Cisco, thus leading the claim to be reported by this and many other media outlets. Further exhibiting a keen sense of PR, the company last month announced Burger King Brazil had signed on as a customer, leading at least one media outlet to announce the news with the word "Whopper" in the headline.

Fortinet might be the vanguard of a growing trend, as security was reported as a top-of-mind concern for SD-WAN users in a recent survey by Cato Networks, another company that highlights built-in security in its SD-WAN solutions. "SD-WAN does little for security," was one of the key takeaways from the report listed by Cato, which further said, "Although most respondents (66 percent) cite defending against malware/ransomware as a primary security challenge in 2020, only 37 percent claim their SD-WANs help protect locations from malware and other threats."

Of course, security is always a primary concern among organizations in any industry using any technology these days, so look for more companies to join the security-first SD-WAN bandwagon along with Fortinet and Cato.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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