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Adopting Fortinet Security in Your Azure Environment

As businesses increasingly move their operations to the cloud, ensuring robust security measures is paramount. Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing service, offers extensive capabilities but leveraging additional security solutions like those from Fortinet can further enhance protection.

 

Fortinet’s suite of security products, including FortiGate-VM, FortiGate Network Virtual Appliances (NVAs), and FortiGate Secure SD-WAN for Microsoft Azure Virtual WAN, offer comprehensive security solutions tailored for Azure deployments. This article explores how adopting these Fortinet security products can bolster your Azure environment’s security posture.

FortiGate-VM: Scalable Cloud Security

FortiGate Virtual Machines (VMs) extend Fortinet’s next-generation firewall and security capabilities to the cloud, providing scalable, flexible protection for your Azure workloads. Designed for virtual environments, FortiGate-VM offers a broad set of security features, including intrusion prevention, web filtering, antivirus, and anti-spam services, seamlessly integrating with Azure’s architecture.

 

Benefits:

 

Scalability: Easily scales within Azure, aligning with your operational needs without compromising security.

 

Flexibility: Supports various deployment scenarios, including cross-environment protection (cloud, on-premises, hybrid).

 

Unified Management: Utilises FortiManager for centralised management across all Fortinet security products, simplifying administration tasks.

 

Adoption Tips:

  1. Evaluate your current and projected workload to select the appropriate FortiGate-VM model.
  2. Utilise Azure’s native features like ARM templates and Azure Monitor integration for efficient deployment and monitoring.
  3. Implement FortiGate-VM in high availability configurations to ensure uninterrupted security coverage.

FortiGate NVAs in Microsoft Azure Virtual WAN (vWAN)

Integrating FortiGate Network Virtual Appliances (NVAs) within Microsoft Azure Virtual WAN (vWAN) presents a unique opportunity to bolster network security and performance across an organisation’s Azure footprint. Azure vWAN simplifies networking and connectivity within Azure and to on-premises environments, but the inclusion of FortiGate NVAs adds an essential layer of advanced security features. This section explores the strategic benefits and implementation insights of deploying FortiGate NVAs within an Azure vWAN architecture.

 

Benefits:

 

Enhanced Security: FortiGate NVAs provide comprehensive security services, including next-generation firewall capabilities, intrusion prevention, and advanced threat protection. By deploying these within Azure vWAN, organisations can ensure that all traffic traversing their wide-area network is inspected and secured, maintaining high standards of data protection and threat mitigation.

 

Consistent Policy Enforcement: Integrating FortiGate NVAs allows for uniform security policy enforcement across the network, ensuring that security policies are consistently applied to traffic moving between Azure regions, hybrid connections, and branch offices. This consistent approach simplifies management and reduces the risk of security gaps.

 

Optimised Connectivity: FortiGate NVAs contribute to Azure vWAN’s goal of optimised network routing. They support SD-WAN capabilities, intelligently routing traffic based on application requirements and real-time network conditions, thus enhancing overall network efficiency and user experience.

 

Adoption Tips:

  1. Deployment Considerations: Deploying FortiGate NVAs within Azure vWAN requires careful planning to ensure compatibility and optimal performance. Considerations include the selection of appropriate NVA sizes based on throughput requirements, as well as the placement of NVAs to balance load and provide redundancy.
  2. Configuration for Azure vWAN: Configuring FortiGate NVAs to work seamlessly with Azure vWAN involves setting up IPsec tunnels for secure connectivity and configuring route tables to direct traffic through the NVAs. Integration with Azure vWAN hubs allows FortiGate NVAs to secure traffic across the WAN efficiently.
  3. High Availability and Scalability: For critical network infrastructures, implementing a high availability setup for FortiGate NVAs is crucial to ensure uninterrupted service. FortiGate NVAs support scalability, allowing you to scale in or out based on demand, ensuring that your security infrastructure can adapt to fluctuating traffic volumes without compromising performance.
  4. Centralised Management: Leveraging FortiManager for centralised management of FortiGate NVAs within Azure vWAN simplifies the oversight of security policies and configurations. It provides a unified interface for managing security across multiple locations and cloud environments, enhancing operational efficiency and visibility.

FortiGate Secure SD-WAN for Microsoft Azure Virtual WAN

FortiGate Secure SD-WAN for Azure Virtual WAN integrates Fortinet’s top-tier SD-WAN capabilities with Azure’s global network infrastructure. This solution simplifies WAN architecture while enhancing security, ideal for organisations leveraging Azure Virtual WAN to connect disparate office locations, data centers, and cloud environments.

 

Benefits:

 

Optimised Connectivity: Enhances network performance across Azure and on-premises environments with application-aware routing.

 

Integrated Security: Combines SD-WAN functionality with advanced security features, ensuring secure, high-performance connections.

 

Simplified Management: Offers a unified approach to managing network and security policies, reducing complexity and operational costs.

 

Adoption Tips:

  1. Map out your network architecture, considering both current needs and future growth, to effectively implement Secure SD-WAN.
  2. Leverage FortiGate’s centralised management tools for efficient oversight of your SD-WAN and security configurations.
  3. Utilise Azure’s networking and monitoring tools to complement FortiGate’s security capabilities, ensuring optimal performance and visibility.

Best Practices: FortiGate in Azure Configuration

Deploying FortiGate appliances in Azure requires thoughtful planning and configuration to maximise security effectiveness and operational efficiency. Whether utilising FortiGate-VM, FortiGate NVAs, or integrating with Azure Virtual WAN, adhering to best practices ensures a robust security posture and seamless cloud integration. This section outlines key best practices for configuring FortiGate appliances within the Azure environment.

 

Plan and Design for Scalability and Resilience

 

Evaluate Capacity Needs: Assess your current and future traffic patterns to select the appropriate FortiGate model that matches your throughput and performance requirements.

 

Implement High Availability (HA): Deploy FortiGate appliances in an HA configuration to ensure continuous security coverage and minimise downtime. Azure offers various HA options that can be leveraged to maintain security operations even in the event of appliance or data center failures.

 

Leverage Azure Load Balancers: Integrate Azure Load Balancers with FortiGate appliances to distribute traffic evenly and enhance the resilience and scalability of your security architecture.

 

Optimize Network Configuration

 

Strategic Placement: Deploy FortiGate appliances in a central location within your network topology to ensure that all inbound, outbound, and east-west traffic flows through the FortiGate for inspection and filtering.

 

Use Azure Native Features: Utilise Azure Route Tables and Network Security Groups (NSGs) to direct traffic through the FortiGate appliances effectively. Ensure proper routing configurations to prevent bypasses that could lead to security vulnerabilities.

 

Segment Networks: Leverage Azure VNet and subnet capabilities to segment networks based on function, sensitivity, or compliance requirements. Apply security policies in FortiGate to control and monitor traffic between segments, enhancing security and reducing the risk of lateral movement by attackers.

 

Secure and Monitor Your Deployment

 

Consistent Policy Enforcement: Define and enforce consistent security policies across your Azure and on-premises environments using FortiGate. Utilise FortiManager for centralised policy management, ensuring uniform security posture.

 

Enable Advanced Security Features: Activate advanced features such as IPS, anti-malware, web filtering, and sandboxing on FortiGate appliances to protect against a wide range of threats. Tailor these features to your organisation’s risk profile and operational requirements.

 

Integrate Logging and Monitoring: Configure FortiGate appliances to send logs to FortiAnalyzer for detailed analysis and reporting. Additionally, integrate with Azure Monitor and Azure Security Center for comprehensive visibility into security events and alerts within the Azure ecosystem.

 

Automate for Efficiency and Compliance

 

Automate Deployment and Configuration: Use Azure Resource Manager (ARM) templates and FortiGate’s REST API for automating the deployment and configuration of FortiGate appliances. Automation reduces manual errors and ensures consistency across deployments.

 

Leverage Azure Policies: Implement Azure Policies to enforce compliance standards and security best practices automatically across your Azure resources, including FortiGate appliances.

 

Regular Updates and Patch Management: Schedule regular updates for your FortiGate appliances to ensure they are protected against the latest threats. Utilise FortiGuard Labs’ services for timely threat intelligence and security updates.

 

Conclusion

Adopting Fortinet security solutions in your Azure environment can significantly enhance your security posture, offering scalable, high-performance protection tailored to your needs.

 

Whether you opt for the flexibility of FortiGate-VM, the dedicated performance of FortiGate NVAs, or the integrated network and security management of FortiGate Secure SD-WAN, Fortinet provides the tools to secure your Azure deployments effectively. By following best practices for adoption and leveraging the synergies between Fortinet and Azure, organisations can achieve a robust, efficient security framework that supports their cloud journey.

 

Looking to implement Fortinet security in your Azure environment? Get in touch with our Fortinet Cloud Security specialists to ensure you can leverage Azure confidently and securely.

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