Company profile: Fortinet

How Fortinet became a top dog in the security business

Tags: Fortinet Incorporation
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Company profile: Fortinet Alain Penel, Regional Vice President for the Middle East, Fortinet
By Staff Writer Published  January 27, 2015

What is Fortinet’s history to date?

Fortinet is a US company headquartered in Sunnyvale, California and was founded in 2000 by brothers Ken and Michael Xie with the objective to develop security technology that could stop content and application attacks such as viruses, intrusions, spam and malicious content.

Fortinet was created on a vision of integrated security as the way to increase protection and control, while optimising performance, simplifying management and reducing costs. Ken and Michael Xie pioneered a high-performance network security solution to address the fundamental problems of an increasingly bandwidth-intensive network environment and increasingly sophisticated IT threat landscape.

In 2000, with a dozen sharp engineers, they worked around the clock to architect and build the world’s only ASIC-accelerated network-based multi-threat security systems. In 2002, we introduced the first FortiGate multi-threat security appliance, and by 2003 we had established a distribution network along with the birth of the FortiOS 2.5, the FortiManager range. Between 2006 and 2008 we introduced a number of products including the FortiAnalyzer, FortiMobile and FortiMail. The company went public on Nasdaq in November 2009, which then saw a number of breakthrough products being introduced in the FortiGate family. Through the years, we expanded our presence across the globe and we have more than 30 offices around the world.

Today, Fortinet is a global leader in high-performance network security and has more than 210,000 customers across the globe including a majority of Fortune 500 companies. Fortinet protects organizations of all sizes and verticals including SMBs, large enterprises, service providers, telecommunications carriers and government entities worldwide.

What is your company’s core competency?

The company designs, develops and markets its portfolio of products and services to deliver the most innovative highest performing network security platform that allows organisations to securely build and grow their IT infrastructure, while simplifying it and reducing costs.

What are the trends impacting your sector?

Over the last 10 to 15 years, threats have transformed from connection-based, then content-based and now advanced targeted attacks such as APTs. Traditional security technologies are no longer able to differentiate between malicious and legitimate content.

Advanced Targeted Attacks (ATA) represent a new and extremely dangerous breed of network threats. They target specific people or functions within organisations, infiltrate from multiple vectors (phishing attacks, web drive-bys, etc.) and use extensive evasion techniques to remain stealthy for long time periods before exfiltrating data. Traditional signatures, patterns, reputation ratings and vulnerability approaches are not effective against ATAs.

What makes ATAs truly dangerous, compared to traditional attacks, is their targeted nature. Cybercriminals are strategically picking their marks and doing specific research on those intended victims.

To defend against ATAs, Fortinet provides a complete advanced threat protection solution that includes the necessary technologies and human intelligence to mitigate threats before they enter the network, detect those that have already entered, or have tried to enter, and finally allow a response to any threats that have breached the network. Those three pillars of ATP are delivered through the unique combination of Fortinet’s advanced anti-malware, its sandboxing capabilities and integrated FortiGuard threat research and response.

What is your presence in the Middle East?

We opened our regional office in 2007 and have been expanding our presence since then. We have offices in Saudi Arabia and Qatar along with on-ground support staff and dedicated channel managers to cater to the rising demand from these countries. We were also the first network security company to have a dedicated on-ground technical support team.

Can you describe some of your biggest regional successes?

Fortinet’s solutions are widely adopted in the region and deployed across all verticals. Most recently, we signed an agreement with the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik in Lebanon to deploy its security solutions. Our customers include major entities from the public sector and governments, the region’s top five telco operators, major banks and financial institutions, as well as universities.

What are your regional goals for the next year?

Our goal is to continue to grow our business across the region and reach out to sectors such as hospitality and healthcare, and expand our reach across the region. We already have the resources in place to help us reach our target.

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