Fortinet picks up cloud security provider OPAQ for SASE play

Fortinet announced Monday afternoon that it has acquired cloud security company OPAQ Networks to bolster its secure access service edge (SASE) platform.

Last year Gartner analysts coined the SASE term and positioned it as the unification of enterprise access security initiatives and WAN networking platforms, including SD-WAN. Since then, SASE has been picking up steam in 2020 with vendors such as Cisco, Juniper Networks, VMware and Cato Networks touting their SASE capabilities.

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Fortinet will blend its Security Fabric with OPAQ's Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) solution to protect distributed networks. OPAQ's multi-tenant ZTNA platform allows managed security services providers (MSSPs), carriers and telecom companies to protect customers' distributed networks across data centers to branch offices, to remote users, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Along with SASE,  "zero trust" is another phrase that has been bandied about across the telecommunications industry of late. With a zero trust architecture embedded in a network, all of the users are isolated from the corporate network, but are still able to directly access their authorized applications. In a zero trust implementation, no user or device is trusted inside or outside of a network.

According to Fortinet, the combined use cases, products and services will span next-generation firewall and SD-WAN capabilities, web security, sandboxing, advanced endpoint, identity/multi factor authentication, multi-cloud workload protection, cloud application security broker (CASB), browser isolation, and web application firewalling capabilities.

“The recent SASE market momentum further validates our security-driven networking approach and underscores what we’ve been saying for years," said Fortinet founder, Chairman and CEO Ken Xie, in a statement. "In the era of hyperconnectivity and expanding networks, with the network edge stretching across the entire digital infrastructure, networking and security must converge. In fact the acquisition of OPAQ actually further enhances our existing SASE offering.

"Now, we will deliver the most complete SASE platform on the market with the broadest security and industry-leading SD-WAN and networking offerings that can all be delivered to customers and partners through a flexible, cost efficient and patented zero-trust cloud architecture.”

While vendors are jockeying for position across the SASE sector, it's too early to say that one company in particular holds an edge. Cisco and VMware can point to their large product portfolios when it comes to SASE, but their competitors argue that a best-of-breed approach for SASE is better.

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The OPAQ cloud platform enables organizations to deliver SASE services to customers on its infrastructure, which is optimized for security and performance. In a Series B rounding of funding two years ago, OPAQ Networks raised $22.5 million. OPAQ was founded in 2016 and it raised $21 million in funding the following year.

According to a company fact sheet, OPAQ Networks has more than 50 employees. Fortinet didn't say how many OPAQ employees it would retain. It also didn't say if OPAQ's employees would still work out of its Herndon, Virginia headquarters.