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As security moves to the forefront of Maltese business requirements, on the heels of GDPR ,medium-size businesses are struggling to balance meeting their internal cyber-security needs while also not breaking the bank. It’s a fine balancing act of having visibility over what’s your users and threats are doing on your network, and preventing misuse, while also managing a solution in as simple a manner as possible.

With over 500 Fortinet Firewalls and security appliances deployed in Malta and Gozo, we at ICT Solutions have a very specific list of things we look for in a security partner, and Fortinet ticks the boxes. Here’s what makes the solution tick, and why we feel they are a fantastic fit for local businesses.

The Case for a Unified Solution

Today, being connected—to business systems, partners and customers—is critical to success. Services such as mobility, the Internet of Things (IoT), and cloud applications will help you grow your business, but they compound new security requirements and risks. For businesses in Malta undergoing an ongoing digital transformation, this is a constant challenge.

One of the biggest risks when addressing these security requirements is addressing the gaps between different solutions. While “point solutions” might solve a single issue an organization is facing, how they integrate with other security vendors often leaves holes that can be exploited by malicious actors, and are simply a royal pain to manage, update and maintain – when each needs to be handled separately.

Fortinet’s vision is a Security Fabric based on the industry’s best firewall/unified threat management (UTM) solutions for business, tightly integrated with additional infrastructure and security components as needed. Where other solutions only assist with one part of a business, Fortinet’s Security Fabric Solution protects your entire organization while simplifying management. Top-rated effectiveness and automated operation ensure you can focus on growing your business instead of managing IT.

Ok – what does it look like in practice?

Having a security fabric is all well and good in principle, but what does it look like for my IT in practice?

At the core of a Fortinet solution is a managed Next-Generation Firewall – sized depending on the number of users and the size of your organisation. Beyond just “protecting” your network – here are some things that your FortiGate Next-Generation Firewall will address:

Web Filtering Block and monitor your user’s web activities to assist with government regulation enforcement of corporate internet usage policies. FortiGuard’s massive web-content rating databases power one of the industry’s most accurate web-filtering services. Granular blocking and filtering provide web categories to allow, log, or block and Comprehensive URL database provide rapid protection while also granting visibility over what users on your network are up to. Fortinet’s Credential Stuffing Defence identifies login attempts using credentials that have been compromised using an always up-to-date feed of stolen credentials.

Intrusion Prevention (IPS) Fortinet FortiGuard Automated updates provide cutting-edge defence against network-based threats along with a comprehensive IPS Library with thousands of signatures, flexible policies that enable full control of attack detection methods to suit complex security applications, resistance to evasion techniques proved by NSS Labs and the IPS signature lookup service.

Antivirus Automated content updates & latest malware and heuristic detection engines. Proactive threat library protection against all known threats and variants, Content Pattern Recognition Language and new patented code recognition software protects against unknown variants to address malware threats.

Application Control FortiGuard’s App Control protects managed assets by controlling network application usage. The sophisticated detection signatures identify Apps, DB applications, web applications and protocols, both blacklist and whitelist approaches can allow or deny traffic. Traffic shaping can be used to prioritize applications and flexible policies enable full control of attack detection methods.

Vulnerability Scan Vulnerability scans network assets for security weaknesses, with on-demand or scheduled scans. Comprehensive reports on the security posture of your critical assets and automated scanning of remote location FortiGates for compliance requirements are also provided as part of the ongoing service.

Antispam Dual-pass detection technology reduces spam at the network perimeter with flexible configuration and no-hassle implementation whilst allowing for anti-spam filtering policies. Advanced anti-spam detection capabilities provide greater protection than standard real-time blacklists.

Network Visibility – The Right Way

Powerful cloud central management simplifies initial deployment and periodic administration. Rich dashboard views provide an at-a-glance understanding of security and operational status, and consolidated logs present a historical view as desired. All of this visibility and control is cloud-based with nothing to install or maintain over time.

Protect your entire network with one OS – FortiOS

Increase security coverage while simplifying management across your physical, virtual, and cloud deployments.

FortiOS gives you one-click visibility into network traffic and one-click controls to take immediate action.

Licensing Ease and Control

Ok – so how do I get one?

FortiGate UTM solutions are compact, cost-effective, all-in-one small business firewall appliances. Powered by dedicated security (rather than general purpose) processors, they deliver high-performance next-generation firewall, web and email filtering, data loss prevention and more- easily managed via a single console. Additionally, you can solve your networking needs with extensive routing, switching, Wi-Fi, LAN, and WAN capabilities, all secured via the same Fortinet Security Fabric framework.

It’s a simple case of selecting the correct hardware model (which depends on the number of users within your organization, throughput and any other special considerations such as whether you need a number of external VPN users), applying the unified threat management subscription which covers all of the services above, and backline support on the hardware, and scheduling our engineering team to come and install – simple isn’t it?

Cool – how are Maltese businesses using these then?

Well, we’ve put together a number of cool setups. They range from pharmacies who want to ensure their data is safe, and retail stores who use their branch firewalls to all connect centrally to their head offices. On the flip side, we’ve also done projects with large local banks, gaming companies, Telco’s and even the government of Malta to ensure they have the best when it comes to security.

Here’s what some customers have to say about Fortinet

And don’t just take our word for it – Fortinet is consistently a leader in Gartner’s enterprise magic quadrant for enterprise firewalls

Fortinet named a Leader in the 2018 Gartner Enterprise Firewall Magic Quadrant

"I would like to thank you for your sterling contribution in ensuring service continuity during migrations and adhering with the established deadlines"

MeDirect Malta - Stefan BriffaManager - IT Networks and Security

Can I try them out?

Yes of course – the best way to get familiar with a Fortinet solution is to try our Cyber Threat Assessment Program – or CTAP for short. You can read more about it here: Fortinet CTAP.

Best of all the program is not only free, but we’ll give you a detailed report on the current state of your network and any vulnerabilities we find.