AT&T Launches SASE Cybersecurity Solution

By Chris Ehrlich

DALLAS — AT&T is partnering with Fortinet on a new secure access service edge (SASE) cybersecurity offering for enterprises.

AT&T’s SASE with Fortinet expands AT&T’s managed security services provider (MSSP) portfolio and is being described as a mix of technology, processes and people.

The offering is one of the first globally managed SASE solutions that unifies a software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) with the network security functions of a SASE framework and 24/7 management, according to AT&T last month. 

AT&T designed the cybersecurity solution to help enterprises enhance security, increase network performance and reduce complexity and costs.

AT&T SASE with Fortinet is available, and the solution will be updated in 2021.

SASE

SASE is an IT architecture model that combines SD-WAN with comprehensive security functions to support “the dynamic nature of today’s modern workforce,” according to AT&T.

AT&T says there’s no “off-the-shelf” SASE solution. 

The company defines a SASE solution as any combination of technologies that enable businesses to efficiently connect locations and users to the cloud, implement zero trust, offer worldwide points of presence and consolidate vendors.

IT cybersecurity support employee in call center

SASE demand

AT&T SASE with Fortinet was developed in response to the increased convergence of networking and security due to the digital transformation at enterprises, the company said.

IT departments are facing challenges in managing and protecting increasingly complex networks and the connections that support them. 

As more hyper-distributed employees access an enterprise’s network from unique locations and a variety of devices, IT’s networking and security needs are changing.

AT&T said enterprises are looking for a SASE solution to support their new hybrid workforce: with point product consolidation, identity-based access and worldwide points of presence. 

IT departments can also reduce operational costs through consolidation and moving to a single cloud solution.

“With the convergence of networking and security, organizations are struggling with managing and protecting applications and data accessing the network,” said Rupesh Chokshi, AT&T’s VP of cybersecurity.

“AT&T’s heritage in providing integrated business solutions with managed services and our best-in-class fiber and 5G connectivity solutions uniquely position us to deliver on the promise of SASE. The solution will provide visibility and management for a more resilient network, making it safer for businesses to adapt and innovate.”

AT&T SASE with Fortinet

Features

In terms of the SASE solution, AT&T is one of the largest SD-WAN managed service providers (MSPs) and MSSPs in the marketplace.

AT&T SASE with Fortinet includes around-the-clock management of deployment and day-to-day support. Security Operations Center (SOC) analysts act as an extension of an IT department’s network and security teams.

The cybersecurity solution integrates with the AT&T Alien Labs Threat Intelligence platform to enable and unlock multiple response actions. SOC analysts then use those response actions to gain visibility into network security and respond to alarms.

AT&T’s partner — Sunnyvale, California-based Fortinet — specializes in creating integrated and automated cybersecurity solutions for enterprises. 

“Bringing Fortinet’s SD-WAN and SASE products and capabilities together with AT&T cybersecurity’s trusted advisors managing SOC operations will provide the multi-layered, scalable network security solution organizations need to embrace SASE,” said John Maddison, Fortinet’s CMO and EVP of products. 

“We’re enabling the dynamic needs of today’s distributed workforce to deliver security-driven networking at every edge.”

Benefits

AT&T SASE with Fortinet is designed to deliver a set of benefits to enterprise IT departments:

Trim network connectivity expenses

Augment multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) circuits with broadband, fiber and LTE.

Improve network resiliency

Automatic failover capabilities reroute traffic as a WAN channel degrades.

Boost network performance

Tunnel bandwidth aggregation combined with packet-level load balancing maximizes network circuit capacity.

Lower security risks

Comprehensive threat protection, including sandboxing, anti-malware and intrusion prevention.

Enhance user experience

WAN path remediation allows businesses to prioritize bandwidth to mission-critical applications, such as voice over internet protocol (VoIP) and video conferencing.

Minimize burden on IT teams

The managed solution includes deployment, security and SD-WAN policy design as well as 24/7 monitoring, maintenance and troubleshooting.

Use cases

There are several key cybersecurity applications for the AT&T SASE with Fortinet solution:

Secure the WAN edge

Protect direct access from branches to the internet with an integrated SD-WAN/security solution and advanced threat protection driven by artificial intelligence (AI) and a robust threat intel database.

Optimize the cloud edge

Provide comprehensive support for easy, automated and flexible cloud access. Cloud on-ramp provides better experiences for cloud workloads and multi-cloud SD-WAN unifies visibility and control across the edge.

Maximize cloud application performance

Improve application-driven network management with self-healing SD-WAN architecture. The solution automatically recognizes over 5,000 applications and continuously optimizes performance with real-time WAN remediation.

Simplify and automate operations

Experts assist with deployment, policy design, 24/7 monitoring and troubleshooting. Businesses can source their digital transformation from one provider, simplifying procurement and troubleshooting.

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