Fortinet snaps up OPAQ in secure access, cloud security push

The company says remote working trends are making zero trust access to networks even more critical.

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Fortinet has acquired OPAQ Networks to enhance the firm's Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) portfolio. 

Announced on Monday, the deal is described as a solution to a challenge faced by today's organizations: a need for "immediate, uninterrupted, and secure access to network and cloud-based resources and data -- especially business-critical applications -- no matter where their users are located."

Financial details were not disclosed. 

The COVID-19 pandemic forced many businesses to rethink their current operations and systems, how their employees work, and whether or not transitions to a work from home model, potentially for the long term, is possible. 

See also: Back on track: Forescout, Advent agree new merger price, drop COVID-19 lawsuit

As offices closed worldwide in a bid to contain the spread, companies and employees alike scrambled to create hasty home office spaces, and this also meant that staff often needed to be able to access corporate resources and networks from home. 

This is where SASE solutions come in. With so many potential-vulnerable endpoints -- ranging from PCs to Internet of Things (IoT) devices and mobile devices -- SASE platforms attempt to bring everything in under one cloud-based security umbrella, allowing IT teams to monitor both users and networks efficiently. 

Founded in 2017 and based in Herndon, Virginia, OPAQ's Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) cloud solution will be combined with Fortinet's Security Fabric enterprise cybersecurity platform to create what the companies call a "best-in-class SASE cloud security platform with the industry's only true zero trust access."

The combined solution will offer customers zero trust access, firewall, SD-WAN, web security, sandboxing, endpoint management, multi-factor authentication, browser isolation, and cloud security mechanisms, among other features. 

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OPAQ has previously raised $43.5 million through three funding rounds. 

"The recent SASE market momentum further validates our security-driven networking approach and underscores what we've been saying for years," commented Ken Xie, Fortinet founder and CEO. "In this era of hyperconnectivity and expanding networks; with the network edge stretching across the entire digital infrastructure, networking and security must converge."

In related news this month, Advent and Forescout Technologies settled their differences and agreed upon a revised acquisition price following Advent's attempt to withdraw from the deal due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

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The original purchase price for Advent to take on Forescout was $1.9 billion. However, the private equity investor then said "material" changes had occurred at Forescout due to COVID-19, and therefore, the company was able to change its mind. 

Forescout denied this claim and began to explore litigation to ensure the deal was closed. Now, Advent and Forescout have come up with a revised figure to stop the matter from going to court -- $29 per Forescout share, rather than $33, which is still a 16% premium on closing share prices on July 15.

The companies said the amended price was the "best outcome for both parties." 

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