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Fortinet (FTNT) Scoops Up OPAQ, Jumps the SASE Bandwagon

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Fortinet (FTNT - Free Report) recently announced the acquisition of Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) cloud provider — OPAQ Networks — to strengthen its capabilities in SASE. The financial terms of the transaction were not revealed.

Importantly, Fortinet has a strong balance sheet with ample liquidity position and no debt obligations. This indicates that the company was well positioned to pursue the acquisition. As of Mar 31, 2020, the company had cash and cash equivalents, and short-term investments of approximately $1.4 billion.

Notably, OPAQ’s patented Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) solution will be integrated into Fortinet’s Security Fabric architecture to deliver a compelling SASE cloud security platform offering next-generation firewall and SD-WAN capabilities, web security, sandboxing, advanced endpoint, identity authentication and multi-cloud workload protection, among others.

As an increasing number of enterprises are migrating their on-premise branch office workloads and applications to software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, the adoption of Software Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) is also increasing in order to direct more traffic to cloud services.

However, in the absence of a centralized data center, security, branch offices and the enterprise WAN become more vulnerable to sophisticated multi-vector Gen V attacks, when connected to the cloud. Apart from security risks, this also increases the company’s management costs.

OPAQ’s ZTNA solution secures distributed networks of organizations, including data centers, branch offices, remote users and IoT devices. With the current spurt of remote working, the integration of Fortinet’s Security Fabric with OPAQ’s cloud platform will offer stronger integrated security to customers and partners.

SASE’s Growth Prospects Aplenty

SASE is the new buzzword in the computer security world. The term SASE has been coined by Gartner only last year and described as one of the most promising emerging technologies in enterprise networking.

SASE, pronounced as “sassy”, is conceptually an architecture, which integrates SD-WAN with network security and delivers applications and services from the cloud to edge.

Notably, Palo Alto Networks (PANW - Free Report) , Cato Networks, Infoblox, Netskope, VMware (VMW - Free Report) , and Zscaler (ZS - Free Report) are some of the security vendors offering SASE-based solutions.

Moreover, security startup, Perimeter 81, recently joined the SASE bandwagon by coming up with a product, which integrated its zero-trust networking platform with SonicWall’s cloud-delivered security services.

The technology is still in a nascent stage, with less than 1% adoption. This means that it has the opportunity to grow significantly.

Gartner predicts that the SASE technology will see strong adoption over the next 10 years. This adoption is likely to be driven by the ongoing architectural transformation of traditional data center-centric networking and security to better cater to the current mobile workforce and achieve higher adoption of the cloud technology. This encourages us about the prospects of Fortinet’s acquisition.

The company currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

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