Given the rate of digital transformation today, complexity is the enemy of security. The more complex and complicated that networks and overall IT or OT environments become, the more security risks are introduced and the harder it is for security teams to keep up. And as networks continue to expand, maintaining a consistent security profile becomes increasingly difficult, especially when tools aren’t designed to work together. All of this is happening against a threat landscape that continues to evolve with more destructive attacks at scale—meaning cyber risk continues to increase.
For partners, tackling complexity involves helping customers pivot toward converging networking and security and consolidating and integrating products with a cybersecurity platform approach.
Put Convergence on the Front Burner
The convergence of networking and security isn’t a new concept, but at many organizations it’s often put on the back burner, so the two functions remain siloed. As I mentioned in my article, “Hybrid IT Requires the Convergence of Security and Networking,” today’s distributed environments and the dissolving of the traditional network perimeter means that many organizations require a hybrid IT approach to meet their business objectives. At the same time, they also need close integration between security and fundamental networking components.
Cloud consumption habits are changing because of the increased practicality and accessibility of remote work settings, 5G networks, and intelligent systems. The result is an increase in networks with numerous edges. This increase in edges expands the attack surface and makes changing network configurations and data tracing among clouds more difficult. Because security must be provided to everyone, anywhere, traditional solutions can’t keep up. The increasing need for a security-driven networking approach is an opportunity for partners who can offer the levels of security and assistance that customers and their staff members increasingly demand.
Consolidate to Simplify
Having fewer solutions means less complexity, so product consolidation is another opportunity for partners. Moving to a cybersecurity platform is a key part of the overall consolidation equation. A platform approach helps integrate the disparate products an organization may already have in place. Without this integration, visibility, automation, and real-time threat intelligence across the extended network are extremely limited. All these elements are critical to any security strategy, given the evolving threat landscape and ever-increasing pace of exploits. Organizations are only as strong as their weakest link.
Planning for 2023
The need to reduce complexity has led to more interest in both convergence and consolidation. For partners, these changes are an opportunity to provide the extra layers of safety and access control that businesses and users need. Reducing complexity and improving security also have tangible business benefits both in terms of lowering total cost of ownership and increasing operational efficiency.
Partnering with customers to help them converge their networking and security also gives partners an occasion to show extra value by helping solve hybrid IT problems.
Partners can demonstrate to customers that solutions exist for the complexity issues they are currently facing and those they will encounter in the future. The difficulties in securing hybrid IT affects almost all organizations to some degree because of the increase in remote work. At this point, few organizations are solely cloud-based or only operating from their own data center; instead, they have hybrid IT.
As a partner, even if a customer has a strong focus on the cloud, they still have endpoints on the network. Security solutions should be flexible and able to keep up with network speeds. Keeping organizations safe from threats is a never-ending battle, and customers need robust security solutions that can support them both now and into the future.
JON BOVE is the vice president of channel sales at Fortinet Inc. (FTNT). In this capacity, Bove and his team are responsible for strategizing, promoting, and driving the channel sales strategy for partners in the United States as the company seeks to help them build successful—and profitable—security practices. A 17-year veteran of the technology industry, Bove has held progressively responsible sales, sales leadership, and channel leadership positions. During his time at Fortinet, he has been responsible for establishing Fortinet’s national partner program and aligning Fortinet’s regional partner strategy to allow partners to develop Fortinet security practices with the tools and programs to successfully grow their business.