Fortinet Upgrades FortiOS with Threat Analysis and Enhancements to Its Security Fabric

This syndicated post originally appeared at Network Computing.

Fortinet announced updates to FortiOS and its security fabric. Interestingly, the company bucked the trend and did not lead with GenAI in this announcement.

This week, Fortinet is holding its annual user event, Accelerate, in Las Vegas. This year’s event drew over 4,000 people, the largest user event in the security vendor’s history. The increase in audience is due to a couple of reasons. First, the security landscape continues to increase in complexity, and the value proposition of Fortinet’s fabric is to consolidate and simplify security. Fortinet has also established itself as a best-in-class security vendor and a leader in networking. Fortinet was placed in the leader’s quadrant in Gartner’s wired and wireless LAN Magic Quadrant for the first time, which validates they are a mainstream network vendor.

The lead news item from the event was version 7.6 of FortiOS, the operating system that powers all of its products. In addition, the company said it made updates to its security fabric. In a pre-briefing on the announcement, John Maddison, Fortinet’s chief marketing officer, shared that Fortinet sees three distinct eras in security.

“We’ve gone from the connectivity era, which was the first firewalls, to next-gen firewall, which included applications and content,” he told me. “And then we think this third era is more around SASE and data. What SASE means is there’s no single point of perimeter. So you can’t go, ‘Oh, just put an extra firewall and we can protect everything.’”

FortiOS updates

Maddison told me the FortiOS release includes various updates for this announcement. “When we do a FortiOS release, we also release FortiClient, FortiAnalyzer, and FortiManager,” he told me. FortiClient’s interesting now in that we’ll be adding FortiEDR functionality. So now we have one client with EPP, ZTNA, SASE, VPN, and EDR. We’ve also added digital experience monitoring and privileged access management. That will get rid of some of the agents on a user’s desktop.”

Specifics of the announcement are as follows:

  • FortiOS: The company announced improvements, with SaaS or PaaS options, for Secure SD-WAN, SASE, ZTNA, automation, provisioning, remote browser isolation, and digital experience monitoring.
  • GenAI: The new FortiOS includes GenAI for threat analysis and product development under the FortiAI moniker. The company will use FortiAI across its security fabric for faster decision-making and detection.
  • Endpoint detection and response: Full EDR is now integrated into FortiClient, including VPN, ZTNA, endpoint protection platform (EPP), EDR, DEM, network access control (NAC), and SASE
  • Combating the skills gap: The company says it’s offering help to overtaxed SecOps groups with SIEM and SOAR services that work out of the box to fight the skills shortage and streamline digital transformations.
  • Custom ASICs: Fortinet’s custom ASICs now give customers access to 14 networking and security apps.
  • Hybrid mesh firewall: The company’s FortiOS, when paired with its ASICs, can protect on-prem, remote, and cloud environments.
  • Segmentation and ZTNA: Cybercriminals and ransomware programs can be hemmed in by internal segmentation firewalls using FortiOS.

The company also announced updates to security for OT, IoT, and edge devices, as well as unified SASE and AI-driven security operations.

Not leading with AI

Interestingly, Fortinet bucked the trend of so many events and did not lead with GenAI as the top headline in this announcement. In the area of cyber, most security professionals are still kicking the tires on AI as the rise of getting it wrong far outweighs the benefits of getting it right. Fortinet has never been a company that markets ahead of its capabilities, and it’s continuing down that path.

Some final thoughts about the FortiOS news

Fortinet’s security fabric approach with FortiOS and its ASICs is unique and continues to play to its strengths. Fortinet has added to the breadth and depth of its offering, and this latest announcement bolsters its position.

Author: Zeus Kerravala

Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his clients in the current business climate and long term strategic advice.