M+E Daily

Fortinet: Usage-Based Licensing Lets Companies Achieve Their Goals While Optimising Investments

Digital acceleration needs and requirements change over time as organisations adapt their environments and deployments to meet new demands and address emerging challenges along their journeys, according to Fortinet.

Usage-based licensing helps companies achieve their goals, while optimising investments, Vince Hwang, senior director, Products Solutions – Cloud Security at Fortinet, said July 19 during the webinar “Move at the Speed of Digital Acceleration with Usage-based Licensing.”

During the webinar, he discussed key considerations for managing digital acceleration costs, especially across cloud journeys, and how FortiFlex can deliver flexible, usage-based licensing that enables organisations to achieve their desired outcomes.

Companies “need to consider usage-based licensing for your digital … journeys and, if you are not, you’re probably missing out,” Hwang told viewers.

First, he discussed the current state of digital business acceleration, noting: “I think it gives important context to the rest of this conversation we’re about to have.”

Pointing to the “heavy investments” that organisations are making on digital projects, he said: “Much of this actually is related to cloud, according to our 2023 cloud security report.”

The top “reasons why organisations are migrating to cloud and making heavy investments there,” he explained, “comes down to these four things: Number one is to have more flexibility for capacity and scalability. Number two, increased agility, followed by improved availability business continuity. And, lastly, an accelerated deployment and provision. So, in a nutshell, what it boils down to is being able to meet the demands, however it may come, either up or down, to right-size your deployment expense, to then be able to move faster and able to then lower the overall risk to the organisation, as well as lowering of the overall operational overhead.”

What is expected “over the next 12 to 18 months is a continued investment in the cloud … where 58% of the organisations we surveyed will be running more than 50% of workloads in the cloud,” he said, calling that “amazing.”

But, he said, “the more clouds and the more things you’re running in those clouds that you have, the greater your risk, maybe the higher the expense [and] the greater loss of control and visibility.”

Based on the same report, he said: “If you look at what some of the top challenges organisations such as yourselves are facing … what we saw was that, consistently over the last couple years, that there’s a huge lack of staff. You’re just never going to have enough people or technical resources to manage every single one of these instances in the cloud.”

And then, he said, you “layer that on top with the lack of controls and automation, [and] lack of visibility …. There’s more things to worry about in more places. And then … with all that stuff stacked up, you then put at risk the compliance that you may have to face and address.”

Fortinet can help a company “simplify your cost security journey with these five steps,” he explained. “The first is we provide a cybersecurity mesh platform approach with the Fortinet Security Fabric to enable you with centralised management visibility and automation to speed your response and reduce your operational overhead. Second, we provide consistent security to help you optimally secure any applications on any cloud. Not only by having solutions – the same solutions available in the various form factors so that you can deploy it wherever your applications are. But these same solutions use the same security policy so that they’re predictable and understandable, which helps your team make faster decisions, as well as to avoid misconfigurations.”

The third step is that Fortinet also “delivers upon deep cloud native integrations across cloud providers such as AWS, Azure and Google Cloud to help reduce friction for you as you deploy into and across these clouds,” he said. “Not only that. We have an open ecosystem that we support through our Fortinet Security Fabric to help extend use cases. So, no matter how and what you need to do with your application journey and your digital acceleration projects and initiatives, you can accomplish your goals easily and readily, both either using Fortinet directly or in combination with our partner.”

Moving onto the fourth step, he said: “We also talk about the idea that digital [journeys are] not just a technical decision but … a financial concern as well.” Fortinet also offers services and training to “help you augment your staff if you’re shy of people or to help level up their skillsets,” he added.

Moving on to discuss licensing, he said: “For your highly dynamic environments, such as those that you’re using in the cloud, I challenge you to think about your licensing approaches, particularly if you’re using traditional term-based licenses.”

That, he said, is because, with “traditional term-based licenses, you have to think about ‘how long do I need your licenses for?’ It’s a one- through a five-year subscription that I’m buying. What size, how big, how small, what types of services? Those are fixed configurations, fixed lengths, fixed quantity that I have to predetermine. And you know what? When I get around to buying them or if I need more, there could be a lengthy procurement cycle that you have to face and deal with. If I need it today, waiting [until] tomorrow is way too late.”

And then, he said: “What about managing my licensing lifecycle? What’s coming up for your renewal? What’s due?…. I’m not quite sure. The speed of digital acceleration is going to get slowed down for sure when you’re trying to handle these different things.”

He added: “Unfortunately, with term-based licensing, you’re going to need, in most cases, new licenses for Edge, each additional configuration or additional unit you’re going to get, whether you go from a big box or small box, or from one box to six. That’s going to change. Or maybe you’re going to shift shapes altogether. So when I need to go from a small box or blue circle, that’s a different license that I need to buy. Not only do I need to buy that. I need to figure out how many licenses I need to buy, how long I need those licenses for, what configurations did I need, what services go into it. So the list goes on. And so, as part of that, that procurement can take days or weeks. And you know, if you need to move fast, that’s not very speedy at all.”

Also, he explained, “anything you’ve previously invested in, if you shift the directions and your requirements have shifted, the things that you’re not going to use and won’t use and find a use for, that’s cost. You’ve just thrown money away. And so that’s where, in a dynamic environment and highly dynamic environment, traditional term-based licenses fall short.”

On the other hand, with a usage-based licensing approach, it becomes very simple, he said: “You’re only paying for what you need and, if I only need 30 days of something or 60 days of something else, great. If I need a small circle or big circle for a period of that time, that’s all I’m going to pay for.”