iOCO enables local legacy transitions with Fortinet Secure SD-WAN

Fortinet’s Secure Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) solution has shone recently as enterprises have had to shift from legacy infrastructure to increase their security and flexibility for remote working.

This is according to iOCO-Network Solutions (iOCO-NS), the Compute division of iOCO, the ICT services business of the JSE-listed EOH Group. The iOCO-NS team includes Taya Howell, Head of Sales; Marc du Plessis, Head of Product; Lynton Clamp, CTO; Peter Lamsley, PMO Manager; and Magan Govender, Strategic Sales.

Brett van Rensburg, Sales Director, iOCO Compute, adds: “The need to shift from legacy infrastructure, as part of an organisation’s digital transformation strategy, has experienced an acceleration due to the increased adoption of both public and private cloud. Last year, iOCO extended its partnership with Fortinet to offer its Secure SD-WAN solution to the southern African market.

“Due to Fortinet’s philosophy of Security-Driven Networking, the convergence of security and networking in a single device, the FortiGate next generation firewall (NGFW) has been a very successful Secure SD-WAN solution across a number of sectors with networks that are widespread across the country.”

Van Rensburg explains: “The adoption of cloud services such as AWS, Azure and Google Cloud has increased the requirement for both total bandwidth, resilience and, most of all, security. This has been seen as a major driver to SD-WAN. However, with internet-based connectivity instead of the traditional secured backhauled MPLS, cyber criminals now have multiple entry points into the network. This requires edge devices with built-in security: preferably next-generation firewalls with centralised management, monitoring, alerting and reporting.

Van Rensburg states that a great advantage of the Fortinet Secure SD-WAN solution for iOCO is the zero touch deployment, which has provided iOCO with major benefits such as:

  • Ease of deployment through customised templates;
  • Taking away basic administration tasks from highly skilled resources; and
  • The minimisation of human error.

He continues: “At iOCO, we understand that not all customer budget cycles are the same. We therefore provide our customers with flexibility around capex versus opex; fully managed against partly managed services; and roll-out strategies that are as aggressive as budgets allow. This flexibility ensures that the transition to SD-WAN is fully aligned with business strategy at a technology, financial and operational level. In this way, there is greater organisational buy-in to the investment and the change management is a smoother journey.”

SD-WAN opens doors to other connectivity mediums, with shorter times to deploy and more reach when it comes to outlying areas. Van Rensburg adds: “During the implementation of traditional MPLS services, a large portion of time and effort is spent in configuring routers before being able to dispatch the equipment to site.

“With the Fortinet zero touch deployment ability, we remove the need for configurations to be done before shipping the equipment to site. This not only saves on engineering time but also logistical costs and eliminates the risk of human error with the initial configuration.”

The top business benefits that the Fortinet Secure SD-WAN solution can provide for clients include the ability to create additional bandwidth at their sites; stronger service level agreements through the multiple infrastructures; granular reporting; and the advantages of the zero touch deployment.

“We’ve had a long-standing partnership with Fortinet, as our security offering is based off Fortinet’s NGFW portfolio,” notes Van Rensburg. “Being leaders in this arena is testament to Fortinet’s ongoing investment into its solution portfolio, which naturally instils a level of confidence in our customers as they are able to see that we have selected the right technology for their WAN roadmap, namely Fortinet, a globally trusted and respected brand.

“Having considered all areas, including the need for an inherently strong security focus, Fortinet was iOCO’s technology brand of choice, with Networks Unlimited being chosen as our distribution partner. Having quick access to senior technical and commercial resources locally within Fortinet and Networks Unlimited has additionally contributed to us gaining a competitive advantage in this arena,” he concludes.

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