TECHNOLOGY

Networks Unlimited invests in securing Africa’s Wi-Fi connections

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It is estimated that 33 billion endpoints will be connected by 2020. With more than half of organisations allowing both multiple types of Internet of Things (IoT) devices as well the bring your own device (BYOD) phenomena, it really is not a great surprise that the majority of CIOs are being kept awake at night by concerns that their wireless security is not good enough.

“Operating in a BYOD/ IoT environment brings with it as many rewards as risks,” says Anton Jacobsz, managing director at leading value-added distributor, Networks Unlimited. “Strategically all companies should adopt a BYOD / IoT policy in order to protect both themselves and their customers. The right security solution will solve the challenge experienced by organisations to operate safely, more productively and cost effectively in this future business scenario.”

He adds that Networks Unlimited is focusing its efforts on securing its customers wireless access, and has started to create awareness through hosting training and roadshows across South Africa in order to educate security teams on Fortinet’s Secure Access Architecture (SAA) solution – one of the suite of Fortinet products it distributes across more than 20 African countries.“We plan on taking this training to both East and West Africa where the need for Fortinet’s SAA solution is on the rise,” says Jacobsz.

Fortinet holds the title as being the only company world-wide with security solutions for network, endpoint, application, data centre, cloud, and access designed to work together as an integrated security fabric to provide true end-to-end protection.

“Our SAA solution extends security policies to the very edge of the network where most vulnerabilities target. FortiAP and FortiSwitch communicate to the rest of the network, with FortiGate at the core. With one operating system across the entire network, customers get better visibility and awareness with simplified management,” says Matthew Barker, Secure Access Architecture sales manager for Africa at Fortinet.

Barker explains that today’s organisations are changing the way they deploy access networks, connect devices, and enable business applications to address a number of challenges.

These include:

The number and types of network-connected wireless devices and mobile applications continue to grow exponentially, presenting new vulnerabilities and increasing the attack surface;
Users who want fast Wi-Fi and a smooth seamless experience across wired and wireless networks; and
IT’s requirement to reduce complexity of network management, application management, and device management.
He points out that securing business communications, personal information, financial transactions and mobile and IoT devices involve much more than network access control. It requires scanning for malware, preventing access to malicious websites, end-point integrity checking, controlling application usage and much more.

“But”, he highlights, “typical networking and specifically Wi-Fi solutions do not cater to these requirements. They only address connectivity and access security.”

Fortinet says that its network access solutions are different as they include comprehensive world-class network security at their core.

“Fortinet’s SAA solution ensures the same award winning security that is validated by independent certification agencies is available to every type of wired and Wi-Fi deployment, from a stand-alone AP and switches in an isolated office, to a handful of APs and switches in a retail store to thousands deployed across a large enterprise campus,” continues Barker.

“To meet the diverse requirements of different use cases from large to small, on-premise versus cloud-based management, and organizational differences, different WLAN architectures and topologies have emerged. While other WLAN vendors present the same solution for every problem, Fortinet enables enterprises of any size, in any industry to choose the topology and network management that’s suited for their network and organisational structure, without having to compromise on security protection.”

Three distinctly different WLAN offerings are available as part of the Fortinet SAA solution: an Integrated wireless solution in which WLAN control and security are combined on a single high-performance appliance; an Infrastructure wireless solution made up from best-of-breed wireless, switching and security components; and third, a Cloud Wi-Fi solution which embeds security intelligence into cloud-managed access points.

“Securing Wi-Fi is not only a challenge from SME to large corporation,” stresses Jacobsz. “Coffee shops offering free Wi-Fi are drawing people in, as are educational institutions where free Wi-Fi is an advantage to learners, plus shopping centres, medical clinics, metros – the list goes on. In addition, we need to take into account that there will be roughly 23 billion active IoT devices by 2019.

“We are a mobile society who crave constant access – but also require peace of mind that our access is secure and that both company and personal data is kept safe.”

For more information on Fortinet’s SAA solution, please contact Stefan van der Giessen, product manager for Fortinet at Networks Unlimited at stefan.vdgiessen@nu.co.za.

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