Bolstering Protection Against Advanced Cyber Threats While Optimizing Cost and Efficiency
By definition, technology companies are in the business of delivering digital innovation for their customers. This means that their research and development teams use cutting-edge technology. But these expand the attack surface and create complexities for corporate network security. And as consumers and businesses embrace the easy-to-use devices and cloud-based applications that they sell, cyber criminals and nation-state threat actors bombard them with increasingly targeted advanced cybersecurity threats.
Technology companies have valuable intellectual property to protect, and they also have valuable information on their customers. Consumer-facing technology companies often possess not only personally identifiable information (PII) and payment card data but also geolocation and behavioral analytics. B2B technology providers often possess confidential data about their customers’ operations, financials, and critical infrastructure. Advanced cyber threats can also create vulnerabilities in the products that are sold to customers, creating risk for both the buyer and the seller.
Key Technology Cybersecurity Challenges
Supporting Digital Innovation
Technology companies are in the business of developing new technologies, and they use some of the most cutting-edge technology available to do this. Beyond R&D, technology companies tend to be early adopters of new technologies for back-office operations, sales and marketing, customer experience, or product support—to name a few. The use of so many emerging technologies brings complexity for the cybersecurity team, which scrambles to plug every security hole in a growing attack surface. However, operations cannot be constrained by outdated security tools that impede the business with slow scans or manual workflows. The security architecture must be resilient and flexible enough to adapt to rapid change in the organization.
Productivity and Uptime
Any unplanned interruption in operations can incur significant costs for a technology organization, whether in a manufacturing plant, R&D systems, or customer support. Unfortunately, disrupting systems and operations is a common goal of cyberattackers. OT and IT systems alike can be targeted, and adversaries can infiltrate a network through an OT system and move laterally to gain access to other parts of the network.
Lack of integration across the different security elements and architectural fragmentation increases operational inefficiencies—for the cybersecurity team and for other departments. Without integration, many security workflows must be managed manually. These manual processes often interrupt daily business and cause delays in everything from manufacturing to DevOps. Architectural silos also increase operational expenses with overlapping functionalities in software licenses, multiple licensing contracts to maintain, and troubleshooting difficulties when something goes wrong.
Advanced Threats Targeting High Tech
Research by Fortinet and other entities finds that technology companies are the target of more overall attacks than with many industries. These threat actors target intellectual property and operations systems along with consumer and business customer data, employee HR data, financials, compliance information, and even data about internal deployment and testing of a company’s current and future products. As adversaries use increasingly advanced technology in their attacks, even technology companies can sometimes have trouble keeping up.
Technology products must adhere to precise specifications, and adversaries, including nation-state competitors, often target OT systems or IT systems containing product designs or code. A company’s brand suffers when significant quantities of defective products are shipped. Likewise, when consumers or businesses download compromised software from a company’s website, this creates both reputational and legal liability. Even infected downloads from spoofed websites accessed through phishing emails can degrade a company’s reputation—despite the fact that the company is clearly not at fault.
Political inertia is toward more regulation of the industry rather than less—especially regarding consumer data, financial data for public companies, and product safety. Penalties for noncompliance are sometimes high, but an even higher cost often comes from diminished brand reputation in the event of a breach. Companies would do well to include compliance in a larger risk management and data governance strategy. Regardless, they must be able to demonstrate compliance with multiple regulations and standards without redeploying staff from strategic initiatives to preparing audit reports.
Learn More Plant operations and manufacturing managers and security teams need centralized visibility into the entire cybersecurity infrastructure, from IT to OT.
Learn More Companies must adopt a holistic approach to cybersecurity that includes a zero-trust approach to access, making no distinction between “trusted” internal traffic and traffic from the outside.
Learn More Companies are rapidly adopting software-defined wide-area networks (SD-WAN), which enable network traffic to travel on the public internet to keep such a network secure.
Learn More Organizations must break down the security silos and unify the security architecture, from the hybrid cloud to the data center.
Fortinet Differentiators for Technology Cybersecurity
Fortinet delivers a flexible platform that enables technology companies to build an end-to-end, integrated security architecture from the data center to the network edge to multiple clouds, including an open application programming interface (API) and Fabric Connectors to integrate third-party tools.
High Performance and Low Latency
FortiGate next-generation firewalls (NGFWs) provide the industry’s best performance during secure sockets layer (SSL)/transport layer security (TLS) inspection and experience extremely low latency rates in demanding technology industry networks. With 60% of malware now encrypted, this ensures that a necessary function does not impact operations.
Branch Location Networking and Security
Fortinet offers a comprehensive software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) and cybersecurity infrastructure for branch locations that eliminates the need for expensive multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) bandwidth, provides optimal security, and improves network performance.
Insider Threat Protection
Fortinet delivers a comprehensive and multilayered solution to guard against insider threats with identity and access management supplemented by network access control (NAC), intent-based segmentation, deception technology, and user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA)—all integrated for centralized visibility and control.
Robust Threat Intelligence
FortiGuard Labs delivers comprehensive intelligence from a large global network of firewalls and an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered self-evolving detection system (SEDS) that has refined its algorithms using machine learning (ML) for nearly eight years. This results in extremely accurate, real-time identification of zero-day and unknown threats before they can cause problems on a network.
The corporate IT network at technology companies houses important data related to finance, intellectual property, HR, product support, field support, and more. In the technology industry, it also hosts numerous endpoint devices per employee, plus numerous Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices across the infrastructure. Websites and other customer-facing marketing content are the primary interface for customers’ impressions of and experience with the company.
As a result, corporate network security is vital in the industry. Technology companies need to be strategic and proactive about cybersecurity, eliminating silos and achieving single-pane-of-glass visibility across the network. Such an approach unlocks automation, enables automated response to fast-moving attacks, and optimizes operational efficiency.
The Fortinet Security Fabric delivers a broad, integrated, and automated security solution with end-to-end integration that brings centralized visibility and control spanning the entire organization. A wide array of Fortinet cybersecurity tools integrate seamlessly into the Security Fabric, along with dozens of third-party solutions delivered by Fabric Partners. Additionally, an open ecosystem and extensive application programming interface (API) tools give technology companies options regarding the integration of other tools.
The Security Fabric is built on the foundation of FortiGate next-generation firewalls (NGFWs) and artificial intelligence (AI)-powered threat intelligence from FortiGuard Labs. Integrated tools for security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) and security analytics tools enable a strategic and coordinated response to advanced threats. Advanced endpoint protection and network access control (NAC) tools protect endpoint and IoT devices. And when it comes to physical security, network-based video security can also be integrated into the Security Fabric.
The Fortinet Security Fabric enables technology companies to move from a tactical stance toward cybersecurity to a strategic one. Companies can make informed decisions about best practices based on real-time information and advanced analytics. And an automated approach to security processes, threat response, and compliance reporting maximizes operational efficiency while improving security.
IT and operational technology (OT) are increasingly co-dependent, and many technology companies were early adopters of this trend. Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems are often based on older technology, and connection to the internet was not envisioned when they were designed. As a result, many SCADA systems have vulnerabilities that are not easily fixed. Compounding the risk, Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices that measure and convey critical information on the manufacturing are often headless, meaning that security patches cannot be applied.
To protect these critical but vulnerable systems, plant operations and manufacturing managers and security teams need centralized visibility into the entire cybersecurity infrastructure, from IT to OT. They must also be able to segment the network according to business need and centrally control both wired and wireless networks.
The Fortinet Security Fabric provides centralized visibility and control across the IT and OT systems of technology companies. FortiGate next-generation firewalls (NGFWs), including the Rugged Series for different environmental needs, provide the foundation for integration of OT into the security architecture. The intent-based segmentation capabilities included in FortiGate enable IT and OT networks to be intelligently segmented to support zero-trust access and prevent lateral movement of threats. Network access control (NAC) helps companies track and protect their IoT devices. Further, security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) and security analytics tools help organizations to automate security response strategically, improving efficiency and helping stop threats that move at machine speed.
The Fortinet Security Fabric enables technology companies with manufacturing operations to integrate the security architecture across IT and OT environments, unlocking automation and optimizing operational efficiency. This can protect the manufacturing floor against both targeted and recycled threats and minimize production disruptions that impact the bottom line.
Independent Study Pinpoints Significant SCADA/ICS Security Risks Fortinet Manufacturing Cybersecurity Solutions 2019 Operational Technology Security Trends Report State of Operational Technology and Cybersecurity Report Fortinet Secure SD-WAN Reference Architecture Solving OT Security with the Fortinet Security Fabric
OT Cybersecurity Designed for Critical Plant and Manufacturing Operations Protecting Plant and Manufacturing Operations from the Expanding Attack Surface Strategies That Reduce Complexity and Simplify Security Operations Fortinet Analytics-Powered Security and Log Management Reducing Complexity with Intent-based Segmentation Traditional Segmentation Fails in the Face of Today's Expanding Attack Surface
While some technology companies find value in all employees being on-site, most have a significant number of remote workers—and virtually all companies have employees who travel on business. To preserve employee productivity, users need the same access in a residence, an airport, or a hotel room that they would have if they were sitting in a company office. Yet, providing such access introduces cybersecurity risk for companies that operate with a perimeter-based approach to security.
To provide secure remote access, companies must adopt a holistic approach to cybersecurity that includes a zero-trust approach to access, making no distinction between “trusted” internal traffic and traffic from the outside. Robust network segmentation must be bolstered by behavior-based ways to detect when users and devices are compromised.
The Fortinet Security Fabric enables technology companies to provide extensive access to remote workers while protecting network segments that specific employees do not need. Identity and access management tools and the virtual private network (VPN) functionality in FortiGate next-generation firewalls (NGFWs) help companies limit access to authorized users. FortiGate intent-based segmentation enables the network to be divided according to business need, enabling zero-trust access. Advanced endpoint protection tools, such as FortiEDR, help prevent infiltration through the endpoint devices used by remote workers.
These Fortinet solutions enable technology companies to provide full and secure access to remote workers while protecting corporate assets against attacks from remote locations.
Secure Branch Networks
Technology companies often have small and large branch offices around the world. Many have large overseas locations that are involved in resource-intensive work like research and development (R&D)—often in coordination with managers residing at headquarters. Secure and reliable connections between these sites and the home office is often critical for time-sensitive projects, and cybersecurity for a critical branch location must be as robust as at the home office.
The multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) infrastructure that traditionally provided connectivity to branch offices is expensive, cumbersome, and difficult to scale. As hybrid cloud networks grow, workers at branch location can notice latency in cloud-based services. Yet, companies struggle when they try to prioritize the most critical applications and traffic for priority routing.
In response to these problems, companies are rapidly adopting software-defined wide-area networks (SD-WAN), which enable network traffic to travel on the public internet. To keep such a network secure, SD-WAN technology should ideally be integrated with the cybersecurity infrastructure—and with the networking infrastructure at the branch.
FortGate next-generation firewalls (NGFWs) include highly secure and cost-effective SD-WAN technology, allowing network traffic to travel not only on the public internet but also over a virtual WAN (vWAN) within select public clouds. At the branch itself, Fortinet SD-Branch solutions extend the SD-WAN solution to the access layer. This enables secure networking at branches and consistent security coverage from the internet, to the wireless network, to the switching infrastructure.
Fortinet solutions for secure branches enable companies to provide secure, high-performance networking with branches, with multiple choices for routing of traffic depending on volume. This helps support network performance at branches while protecting the network against intrusions that enter through branch locations.
Technology organizations were early adopters of cloud-based services, and most now operate in multiple public and private clouds. And in many cases, their most valuable and sensitive data is contained within this hybrid-cloud infrastructure. As organizations adopt services across this distributed architecture, the default is to leverage the built-in cybersecurity tools offered by each cloud provider. However, these solutions do not communicate with each other, and indeed have different underlying structures.
The result at many companies is that security protection operates in different silos—one for each cloud provider, one for the private cloud infrastructure, and one for the corporate data center. This makes centralized visibility and automation impossible, and can pull many team members away from strategic projects when compliance audit reports are due.
In today’s fast-moving threat landscape, organizations must break down the security silos and unify the security architecture, from the hybrid cloud to the data center. Policy management must be consistent across the board, and threat intelligence should be made available across the company in real time.
Part of the Fortinet Security Fabric, Fortinet Dynamic Cloud Security solutions accomplish these objectives by providing a single-pane-of-glass view of the entire cloud infrastructure. They feature native integration with all major public cloud providers, broad protection to cover all elements of the attack surface, and management and automation features that enable consistent, timely threat detection and response through automation.
Fortinet enables technology companies to protect disparate cloud-based applications and infrastructure in a consistent way—with multiple layers of cybersecurity protection. As a result, technology companies can confidently deploy any service in any cloud at any time.