Fortinet innovates in cybersecurity even as earnings miss Wall Street forecast
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Fortinet innovates in cybersecurity even as earnings miss Wall Street forecast

Fortinet innovates in cybersecurity even as earnings miss Wall Street forecast

Fortinet talks SASE, ransomware and subscription-based solutions as the global cybersecurity landscape evolves at a rapid pace

Marisha Singh
cybersecurity company Fortinet

Cybersecurity powerhouse Fortinet continues to lead in advanced networking and security solutions, from robust firewalls to seamless wireless LAN. Based in Sunnyvale, California, Fortinet supports both large enterprises and small businesses globally, providing top-tier support and training.

As businesses increasingly migrate their applications and workloads to distributed cloud platforms, Fortinet and other cybersecurity firms are pivoting towards a burgeoning market: Secure Access Service Edge (SASE). SASE offers a fast and cost-effective method for securing branch offices and remote workers, positioning Fortinet for future growth.

“Fortinet is expanding promotions around SASE to drive traction in 2024,” analysts noted, although they remain skeptical about a near-term rebound in firewall sales.

Despite reporting earnings and revenue for the March quarter that exceeded analyst expectations, shares in Fortinet (FTNT) fell on Friday. The company posted earnings of 43 cents per share, a 26 per cent increase from the previous year, and revenue rose by 7 per cent to $1.353bn, surpassing analysts’ predictions of 38 cents per share on sales of $1.34bn.

However, Fortinet’s first-quarter billings—a key sales growth metric—declined by 7 per cent to $1.41bn, missing Wall Street’s target of $1.43bn.

The company attributed this shortfall to weakness in its European operations.

Gulf Business caught up with Fortinet’s Kalle Bjorn, senior director of Systems Engineering at the recently-held GISEC security conference in Dubai to discuss evolving threat landscapes, cybersecurity trends and more.

Q. What trends did Fortinet discuss at GISEC 2024?

GISEC is one of the key events for us in the UAE, and we’ve been participating for many years.

This year, our focus revolves around a couple of key pillars. We’re helping our customers secure their users from a SASE solution perspective. Another major focus area is SecOps, where we discuss SOC solutions and products like SIEM, SOAR, EDR, and deception tools to help identify and respond to threats organisations face today.

Q. As the GCC’s needs change, have customers approached you with new product requirements or requests that you previously encountered in different markets but are now seeing here?

The products we sell are available worldwide, so any solutions we offer globally are also available here.

Interestingly, instead of focusing solely on products, we emphasise features. Many features in our products come from customer and end-user feedback. If a functionality is not present, we can develop it, adjusting our development roadmap based on customer feedback.

Q. What are the cybersecurity trends going into 2025 for the GCC region?

From a security vendor perspective, traditional threats like ransomware and denial of service attacks remain prevalent because they are easy money for cybercriminals.

However, these threats can be defended against with the right tools. We also see an increase in AI-based solutions, both for defending and launching attacks. Additionally, we’re observing “turf wars” among cybercriminals, where one bad actor might remove another’s tools from a compromised network to maintain exclusive access.

Additionally, the SecOps platform is gaining significant interest. Traditionally, security focused on firewalls and endpoint security, but there’s been a shift towards building security operation centers.

Even smaller organisations are adopting these, either internally or through managed service partners, to gain visibility into their environments. This visibility is crucial for effective response and action.

Q. How are small and medium-sized businesses responding to these new challenges, given they might lack resources?

There are both software tools and services available. Fortinet focuses heavily on managed services, offering subscription-based solutions that provide clear cost structures. We also collaborate with a large partner network to offer these services.

This approach allows us to provide end-to-end solutions, including placing Fortinet or partner employees with end users to manage security tasks.

Q. With data being the new oil, how does Fortinet address privacy challenges, especially concerning devices and platforms?

We take data privacy very seriously and have a dedicated trust website that outlines our data handling practices.

We adhere to regional regulations and often follow more stringent regulations from outside the area to ensure comprehensive compliance.

Read: Fortinet’s focus on cybersecurity and sustainability 

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