Security Experts:

Fortinet Acquires Bradford Networks to Extend Security to the Edge

Fortinet has acquired Boston-based network security firm Bradford Networks. The purpose is to extend Fortinet's micro segmentation to the new perimeter: that is, the IoT and mobile edge.

A Fortinet spokesperson told SecurityWeek that it paid approximately $17 million in initial consideration, net of cash acquired and subject to certain adjustments. It may pay an additional $2 million as an earn-out, subject in certain performance conditions. According to Crunchbase, Bradford had raised roughly $14 million in funding. 

Gartner predicts that the currently estimated 4 billion enterprise connected devices will grow to 7.5 billion in the next two years. Making sure that every one of those devices is both known and secure is difficult. It is, suggests Fortinet in a blog, a 'classic' example of the asynchronous security problem: "Security managers need to secure every single device every single time, while criminals only need one open port, one compromised or unknown device, or one uncontained threat to circumvent all of the effort going into securing the network."

"As large organizations continue to see high growth in network traffic and the number of devices and users accessing their networks," explains Ken Xie, founder, chairman of the board and CEO at Fortinet, "the risk of breach increases exponentially. According to a recent Forrester study, 82 percent of companies surveyed are unable to even identify all devices accessing their networks. The integration of Bradford Networks' technology with Fortinet's security fabric enables large enterprises with the continuous visibility, micro-segmentation and access control technology they need to contain threats and block untrusted devices from accessing the network."

Bradford Networks enhances Fortinet's Security Fabric by providing agentless visibility of endpoints, users, devices, and applications that access the complete corporate network including headless devices and IoT. It brings security to IoT through device micro segmentation and automatic policy assignment, allowing granular isolation of unsecure devices.

Once visibility of all devices that connect to the network is attained, the next step is to make sure they are authenticated or authorized, and are subject to a context driven policy that defines who, what, when, and where connectivity is permitted.

"Such an approach -- where no unknown devices ever gain access to the corporate infrastructure, permitted devices are automatically segmented based on policies and roles, and connected devices that begin to behave badly are immediately quarantined from the network," says Fortinet, "becomes the foundation for a comprehensive positive security posture."

Fortinet's share price has grown steadily, from $35.83 in September 2017 to $62.48 at the start of 4 June 2018. A slight dip occurred with the Bradford Networks announcement (down to $61.70), but the share price has already risen above the pre-acquisition price to its highest ever value at $62.92, at the time of writing. 

 Fortinet does not expect the transaction to have a material impact on the company's second quarter or full year 2018 financial guidance disclosed on May 3, 2018. 

Rob Scott, CEO at Bradford Networks, said, "We are excited to join with Fortinet, the leader in network security to deliver exceptional visibility and security at scale to large enterprise organizations. Bradford Networks' technology is already integrated with Fortinet's Security Fabric including FortiGate, FortiSIEM, FortiSwitch and FortiAP products to minimize the risk and impact of cyber threats in even the toughest security environments such as critical infrastructure - power, oil and gas and manufacturing."

Bradford Networks, the Fortinet spokesperson said, "will become part of the Fortinet brand and will enrich Fortinet’s IoT offering. The majority of Bradford Networks employees will transfer to Fortinet and be integrated across multiple functions based on areas of responsibilities."

Related: Bradford Networks Automates Threat Containment Process With New Offering 

Related: Fortinet Unveils New Security Fabric, High-Performance Firewalls 

Related: Fortinet Enhances Network Security OS, Adds AI-based Threat Detection 

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Kevin Townsend is a Senior Contributor at SecurityWeek. He has been writing about high tech issues since before the birth of Microsoft. For the last 15 years he has specialized in information security; and has had many thousands of articles published in dozens of different magazines – from The Times and the Financial Times to current and long-gone computer magazines.