Enhancing Client Security With FortiGate And FortiMail

Enhancing Client Security With FortiGate And FortiMail

Enhancing Client Security With FortiGate And FortiMail

As cyber-attacks continue to challenge the financial industry, security remains the top priority for financial services in an ever-evolving landscape of threats. Last month, Options – a leading provider of financial technology managed services, IT infrastructure, and cybersecurity – sponsored the SALT Conference, which featured cybersecurity and regulation high on the agenda throughout the week. Speaking at the conference, Admiral James Stavridis, (NATO’s 16th Supreme Allied Commander Europe & 15th Commander of the U.S. European Command) emphasized the importance of cyber risk assessment strategies in today’s volatile landscape. Although difficult, such a strategy must address the ‘black swan’ of unknown cyber threats and the impact they could have on the industry and on your firm. The sobering discussion highlighted the growth in cyber warfare, and disclosed that now over 85% of hackers are affiliated with traditional organized crime. Meanwhile, as outsourcing continues to grow in popularity, CTOs are increasingly looking to managed service providers to cater their security infrastructure needs.

In terms of providing an enterprise-grade security infrastructure, Options has been ahead of the curve for many years – we were the first managed service provider to be SOC accredited. As such, we have invested significantly in our infrastructure in order to meet the increasing security demands service providers are facing in this space. In the last 18 months alone, we have deployed a number of security and compliance products to enhance our security offering. These include:

  • Web-filtering appliances
  • File access and file system auditing
  • Splunk SIEM
  • BYOD management
  • Next generation threat prevention (NGTP) firewalls
  • Nessus vulnerability scanning

The success of our strategy has always been dependent on identifying partners and solution vendors that have a track record in creating world-class products and an ability to move at the pace we need. For example, in February of this year we partnered with analytics specialist Observable to provide better network security for our clients. Observable monitors your network’s normal behavior and sends alerts whenever it detects unusual traffic or behavior (say malformed DNS queries, Dropbox uploads, FTP or SMTP traffic, etc.)

In a similar vein, we recently announced the latest security-specific deployment to the platform in the form of InfoSec specialists Fortinet. The resulting partnership has seen Options deploy Fortinet’s enterprise firewall, known as FortiGate, alongside their email security solution FortiMail. We are hugely excited by the partnership and wanted to take some time to discuss what this deployment will mean for our clients leveraging the Options platform. 

Why Fortinet?

Due to frustrations with our previous provider, and to support enhanced security functionality right across our product suite, we began a structured investigation of alternate enterprise firewall solutions. We needed to upgrade to a 10Gb performance-ready product for our needs, plus one that met a variety of functionality demands (clientless VPN, inline web filtering, wireless management) and a product line that matched the breadth and budgetary spread of our service offerings. Although an upgrade to 10Gb hardware offered by our current provider was considered, their increasingly bug-heavy software releases (R75.x/R77.x), and poor direct support, led to a lack of faith in the product as a whole.

By comparison, Fortinet immediately stood out in the way its pre-sales team members engaged with members of our team. Their open, collaborative approach meshed nicely with our product suite alongside the ease of adoption and administration of their products.

The Solution

Fortinet’s end-to-end, next generation firewall solution, known as FortiGate, was selected due to its ability to support the ultra-low latency infrastructure Options clients demand, while reducing the risk of a data breach. The solution addresses demanding, performance-sensitive locations, such as Internet-facing services, as well as non-data center projects, including VPN-enabled home networks, web filtering and WiFi integration.

As spear phishing continues to be the cyber criminal’s preferred attack vector, Fortimail was also implemented to increase protection against email-based inbound attacks, outbound threats, and data loss. According to ESET, across the globe people receive on average of 12 spam emails a day, adding up to 4000 spam emails per person, per year. By replacing our platform mail gateways with Fortimail, Options clients are protected from even the most sophisticated email-borne threats. 

The Benefits

By implementing FortiGate next generation firewalls, in conjunction with FortiGate 60D and 100 series security appliances, Options has already recorded an improvement in our handling of voice and video traffic, improved traffic throughput capabilities, as well as increased security and speed to market when delivering site-to-site VPNs

With investment in cybersecurity expected to rise to $9.2bn by 2020, clients investing in the Options platform now benefit from the rapid deployment of Fortinet services – providing them with enhanced security and control, all while remaining fully compliant with industry standards.

To learn more about Options’ partnership with Fortinet, read more in our latest press release and case study.


John Bryant, Options CTO


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