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Accelerate 2024: Collaboration, Innovation, and Embracing the Platform Era

This year’s Accelerate marked a significant milestone, attracting over 4,600 registrants from across the globe to Las Vegas. Under the theme “Step Into the Platform Era,” the event spotlighted the increasing integration of networking and cybersecurity, emphasizing the imperative for organizations to embrace a platform-centric approach in safeguarding evolving networks against sophisticated cyber threats.

Highlights of the event included the bustling FortiVillage, featuring interactive demonstrations of Fortinet’s latest cybersecurity solutions and the FortiGuard Labs Security Operations Center. Attendees also benefited from over 60 customer and technical sessions, 20+ workshops, the engaging Ultimate Fabric Challenge, numerous networking opportunities, and standing-room-only sponsor-hosted theater sessions. Noteworthy announcements included the unveiling of the latest iteration of the FortiOS operating system and significant enhancements to the Fortinet Security Fabric, encompassing new Unified SASE innovations and GenAI offerings for enhanced security and networking operations. Additionally, updates to the Fortinet Engage Partner Program were shared, along with the recognition of Partner of the Year award winners.

The event kicked off with a series of captivating keynotes delivered to a packed audience comprising Fortinet customers, partners, and employees. Below is a synopsis of those impactful keynotes.

Matt Pley: Securing Users and Devices Everywhere

Matt Pley, Fortinet Executive Vice President of Sales for the Americas, kicked off the day by talking with Josh Matthews, Goldman Sachs’s Managing Director for Infrastructure Strategy.

Accelerate Matt Pley

During the conversation with Pley, Matthews highlighted his team’s approach to cybersecurity investments, emphasizing the importance of securing users and devices across all environments. He emphasized the disappearance of the traditional “walled garden” approach in organizations, underscoring the critical role of technologies like SASE in bolstering business security. Matthews also stressed the significance of investing in observability, governance, guardrails, and analytics, advocating for the consolidation of cybersecurity vendors.

Regarding Goldman Sachs’ decision to choose Fortinet, Matthews expressed admiration for the company’s commitment, stating, “You put your money where your mouth is. You engineered against our requirements and delivered.” He praised the direct engagement with Fortinet’s top personnel, describing the partnership as excellent.

In another segment, Joe Sarno, Executive Vice President of International Sales, engaged in a discussion with Olivier Convard, Vice President and Global Head of Digital Infrastructure at Roche Diagnostics. Convard emphasized the paramount importance of data integrity in the healthcare industry, stating, “Data integrity for patients is vital. It’s part of patient safety.”

Accelerate Joe Sarno

Convard also noted that as the healthcare industry at large adopts more digital solutions, “We need to make sure that trust is not only there but that it’s reportable and scalable.” He also stressed the need for transparency and interoperability. “We need to have a partner such as Fortinet that is ranked among the best in the world, providing full enterprise security solutions with state-of-the-art threat detection mechanisms.”

Ken Xie: The Fortinet Vision

Fortinet Founder, Chairman of the Board, and Chief Executive Officer Ken Xie took the stage next to share Fortinet’s vision to converge networking and security, which we have pursued since our inception 24 years ago. “Secure networking gives you a way to manage the content, the application, the data, the user, the device, which no pure networking solution can see,” Xie remarked.

Accelerate 2024 Ken Xie

Xie also discussed creating the industry’s first ASIC and dedicated hardware systems for high-performance firewalls and virtual private networks. “Today, we’re still the only company designing its own ASIC chip,” he said, noting that our unique approach gives us “much better performance and much lower power consumption compared to any other solution.”

Xie talked about the advantages of using a single-platform cybersecurity solution, including greater automation, more integration, additional efficiencies, and faster processing times. Finally, he noted that many industry analyst reports validate our security and networking solutions, highlighting our placement in nine Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ reports.

John Whittle: A Focus on Teamwork and Innovation

Next, John Whittle, Chief Operating Officer at Fortinet, discussed our corporate culture. “Fortinet is built upon three core values: teamwork, innovation, and openness. These are all rooted in our mission of putting customers first. We’re very focused on protecting, serving, and securing our customers. That’s involved in everything we do,” Whittle said.

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Whittle also underscored the significance of continuous collaboration across our workforce, clients, partners, and the wider industry. He likened cybersecurity to a team sport, stressing the importance of collective collaboration to combat cyber threats effectively. “Fortinet has fostered teamwork on a large scale,” he noted. “With nearly 14,000 employees, over 100,000 channel partners, serving more than 730,000 end customers, and partnering with over 1,000 technology and government entities, collaboration is ingrained in our DNA.”

Furthermore, he reiterated our steadfast commitment to innovation, emphasizing its critical role in customer protection. “Being founder-led enables us to innovate rapidly in a rapidly evolving landscape,” he remarked. He highlighted our dedication to organic innovation and robust engineering focus, which is evident in our extensive patent portfolio. “Our commitment to innovation is reflected in our patent portfolio, with 15 to 20 new patent applications filed every quarter,” he concluded.

John Maddison, Chief Marketing Officer, commenced his keynote by addressing the prevailing topic in the industry—the cybersecurity platform era. He acknowledged that while the concept of cybersecurity platforms is not novel, the ongoing debate surrounds best-of-breed products versus platforms. “Our belief is that each platform journey will differ. The crucial aspect is to delve deeper into the platform’s foundations because many platforms today are built through acquisitions,” Maddison remarked.

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Fortinet was established over two decades ago with a core focus on merging networking and security. Today, our Security Fabric platform stands as the most comprehensive and open portfolio of products in the industry. “For us, our Fortinet Security Fabric platform is one operating system, one client, one management system, and one analytics engine. That’s very important,” emphasized Maddison.

Malvin Eanes, Director of Hotel Security and Compliance and Business Information Security Officer at InterContinental Hotels Group, emphasized the significance of a unified platform for driving security and networking, particularly in scaling business operations. “It’s critical for us to understand how we can scale at an enterprise level because I have 6,000 hotels. It often feels like 6,000 different data centers,” remarked Eanes.

He further noted the efficiency gained through convergence, stating, “One of the first things we’re looking at is, as Ken mentioned, the convergence of networking and security. We can seamlessly take two disciplines and now effectively move them at the property level. What took two weeks—sometimes months—now takes seconds because we have that single-pane-of-glass view.”

Robert May, Fortinet Executive Vice President of Technology and Product Management, addressed Accelerate attendees on the latest developments in the Fortinet Security Fabric platform. May showcased enhancements available in FortiOS 7.6 and introduced new offerings within our broader product portfolio. He also provided a demonstration of FortiAI, illustrating how the solution aids security and networking teams in overcoming key operational challenges.

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“For the past 24 years, Fortinet has embraced a platform-centric approach to cybersecurity,” stated May. “The Fortinet Security Fabric is adept at addressing many of today’s pressing challenges, such as the skills shortage, empowering organizations to tackle diverse security needs effectively. By offering a unified operating system, this security platform fosters innovation and scalability, enabling teams to develop and enhance critical use cases seamlessly.”

Key Insights from Accelerate

The key takeaway from each keynote session underscores the indispensable nature of a platform-focused strategy in cybersecurity for safeguarding modern networks. While new products may emerge to address evolving risks and opportunities, relying solely on disparate best-of-breed technologies without converging them is unsustainable.

Moreover, in the face of escalating network complexity and heightened threat landscapes, the role of AI and automation in bolstering daily security operations cannot be overstated, underscoring the necessity of a platform-centric cybersecurity approach.

Fortinet provides comprehensive support to customers through its platform-driven cybersecurity approach embodied in the Fortinet Security Fabric. This integrated platform merges networking and security functions via a single operating system (FortiOS), a unified agent (FortiClient), a centralized management console (FortiManager), and a consolidated data repository (FortiAnalyzer), effectively safeguarding the entire digital attack surface.

By Fortinet | April 2024

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