Jitendra Ghughal joined Fortinet about eight years ago to spearhead channel and distribution management across SAARC. He also oversees the renewal business and channel marketing activities. Ghughal is a network security industry veteran with over 22 years of experience in IT distribution sales as well as product management.
In an exclusive interaction with ChannelWorld, Jitendra Ghughal, Director, Channels, India and SAARC, Fortinet talks about the state of security industry, new malware trends and what will impact partners in 2019.
How can organizations maintain a robust security posture in the era of digital transformation?
Digital transformation requires an equivalent security transformation to protect the business from today’s threat. As the speed of threats rapidly increases, the time windows for prevention, detection, and remediation continue to shrink. Rapid response times are crucial, which makes the implementation of truly expansive and integrated security automation essential, from data collection to coordinated responses to threats.
At the same time organizations are facing challenges figuring out how to inspect and secure the growing volume of encrypted traffic, battling the persistence of botnets, and addressing new malware trends such as cryptojacking.
Partners have a sizable business opportunity in helping customers successfully address today’s security challenges. Customers need to automate their security hygiene measures and replace isolated security devices with an integrated security fabric architecture that can seamlessly span the growing attack surface.
What are the main challenges security leaders are facing today, and how can partners address it?
“Another area for partners to grow their business is cloud services. We have an MSSP program that helps our partners deliver Fortinet cloud and support services, combined with technology like our virtual firewalls in a utility-based model."
Cybersecurity is an extremely competitive field due to the cyber skills shortage, an issue that goes beyond a lack of incoming talent but also encompasses those in the field without the skills necessary to meet today’s specific needs.
One of the most pressing concerns of today’s CSO is filling positions in their security teams with qualified, trained, and motivated security professionals. The few applicants trickling out of universities may have deep theoretical skills, but few have been seasoned on the front lines of a real-world security environment.
To address the skill gap, customers look up to partners who are no longer a mere technology seller, they need to have the required expertise to address the security challenges faced by customers. For that, they need certified security experts who also have the required skills to address real-world environments. Without the required certification and expertise partners will find it difficult to sell solutions in today’s market.
How is adoption of new security architecture increasing profitability and opportunities for partners?
The digital transformation process requires an equivalent security transformation. This means transitioning to a new security architecture that can be applied ubiquitously in networks, computing infrastructure, information assets, users, and devices not formally capable of defending themselves.
Adoption of new security architecture has opened new business fronts for partners in areas like Network Access Control, SD- WAN and Security Incidence and Event Management (SIEM).
The Fortinet Alliances Ecosystem and partner program brings together a community of global technology vendors with specialized expertise. Our partners have the flexibility to offer pre-validated technology solutions from Fabric Ready alliance partners ensuring investment protection for customers through the seamless integration with existing infrastructure.
Additionally, our partners themselves can leverage broad API integration to develop their own custom services within the security fabric opening up additional business opportunities.
Another area for partners to grow their business is cloud services. We have an MSSP program that helps our partners deliver Fortinet cloud and support services, combined with technology like our virtual firewalls in a utility-based model.
“To actively secure IoT and OT devices while mitigating the common threats targeting them, proactive IT professionals have begun to redesign their security posture to include AI as part of an integrated and automated security fabric.”
What is the impact of IoT and other emerging tech on the security ecosystem?
One of the biggest vulnerabilities brought on by the IoT explosion is a lack of visibility into the elements operating within a network at any given time. The fact is, thousands of connected devices can potentially access a network from a myriad of locations both external and internal, including from remote offices via SD-WAN and the newly connected OT network.
The challenge is that effective security posture is reliant on the ability of cybersecurity professionals to clearly identify each device, assign ownership and policy, segment them accordingly, and then actively track and monitor those devices and their applications and data even when they are highly mobile.
However, when IT teams rely on manual threat analysis, detection, and mitigation, this becomes extremely difficult and often leads to unknown devices, rogue access points, and shadow IT to operate in the network undetected.
To actively secure IoT and OT devices while mitigating the common threats targeting them, proactive IT professionals have begun to redesign their security posture to include AI as part of an integrated and automated security fabric.
If there is one key message you have to partners for 2019, what will it be?
Partners have always been a critical element of Fortinet’s go-to-market strategy. Our goal is to help partners get aligned with our partner program and Fortinet Vision to accelerate their business by delivering superior security technology solutions to their customers.
As organizations seek ways to reduce operational complexity, partners who can assist in selecting and integrating tools and streamlining security processes can play a critical role in their ability to succeed in today’s markets. This is the place where Fortinet partners can provide value in simplifying and securing the networks of their customers while growing their own business.