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Zain Bahrain launches Secure SD-WAN and Unified Threat Management Services built on Fortinet’s solutions

Zain Bahrain launches Secure SD-WAN and Unified Threat Management Services built on Fortinet’s solutions

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Operating with a strong and reliable network infrastructure requires integrating a robust security strategy and is a requirement in today’s technology age. Director of Enterprise and Wholesale at Zain Bahrain, Ali Mustafa, tells us how the company utilised the expertise of Fortinet and its Secure SD-WAN solution in order to offer an improved service to its customers. We hear about the benefits in more detail.

Zain Bahrain, a leading telecommunication service provider in the Kingdom has announced the launch of its Secure SD-WAN managed service leveraging Fortinet Secure SD-WAN to deliver a differentiated value-added service to its customers.

The Fortinet partnership will allow Zain to better meet its customers’ evolving business needs thanks to the accelerated connectivity, transport mode independence and increased application performance, while benefitting from integrated next-generation firewall security in a single service offering with centralised management and zero-touch provisioning.

Director of Enterprise and Wholesale at Zain Bahrain, Ali Mustafa, said: “Zain’s strategic plans to develop a world-class portfolio of Managed Security Services locally and globally is in line with the growing demand of our business customers in Bahrain and the region.

“Fortinet Unified Threat Management provides significant benefits for Zain’s local and global customers by leveraging other Fortinet capabilities and solutions clean pipe, firewall, multi-path intelligence, cloud on-ramp, email security, anti-spam, endpoint security, advanced threat protection and much more,” said Mustafa.

“Zain Bahrain meets the growing need of businesses looking to deploy SD-WAN to enhance their application performance and overall user experience, but also reduce costs. By creating a value-added service platform based on Fortinet technology, Zain Bahrain can now deliver both networking and security functionalities in one offering, enabling it to offer advanced security across its hybrid WAN infrastructure with a significantly lower total cost of ownership (TCO),” said Alain Penel, Vice President, Middle East at Fortinet.

We caught up with Ali Mustafa, Director of Enterprise and Wholesale at Zain Bahrain, to hear more about the solution and its overall business benefits.

Can you provide an overview of the company and your overall digital strategy?

Zain Bahrain is a part of the Zain Group, which operates and has its commercial presence in Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and South Sudan. We pride ourselves on being a leading telecommunications provider of government and businesses of all sizes in the Kingdom of Bahrain as Zain Business continues to address a wide array of business needs ranging from 5G, Advanced LTE and fibre connectivity to IoT, AI, cloud, security and data centre services.

Digital Transformation is at the core of our strategy where Zain Bahrain, over the years, has created a mark for itself and has been placed on the world telecom map via the introduction of innovative ICT solutions to meet our business customers’ demand regionally and globally.

Why did you select Fortinet as the vendor? 

The Zain Bahrain and Fortinet partnership allows Zain to better meet its customers’ evolving business needs. Zain’s state-of-the-art networks along with Fortinet’s Next Generation Firewall (NGFW), including Secure SD-WAN functionality, are available to meet a broad range of customer requirements. 

What customer demands were you experiencing prior to implementation and how has the Secure SD-WAN solution allowed you to respond to these?  

Zain’s strategic plans to develop a world-class portfolio of networking and managed security services locally and globally is in line with the growing demand of our customers’ evolving business needs in Bahrain and the region. Deploying Fortinet’s NGFW with integrated Secure SD-WAN provides integrated network and security functionality in a single device. Combined with centralised management and Zero Touch provisioning, the total cost of ownership is significantly reduced.

How has the solution transformed business operations for your customers and enabled them to adapt to changing business demands?

Due to Fortinet’s security-driven networking approach, the FortiGate NGFW can be tailored to meet a customer’s individual requirements including security protection profiles and integrated SD-WAN.  This flexibility, combined with the wide-range of connectivity options available from Zain, ensures that the right protection can be deployed at every point in the network. More importantly, as the FortiGate NGFW is the central element of the Fortinet Security Fabric, Fortinet’s cybersecurity platform, additional cybersecurity capabilities such as web application firewall or secure email gateway, can be integrated to provide improved threat prevention and detection.

How is the solution enabling you to provide a secure and reliable service to your customers?

Using the Zero Touch provisioning feature of Fortinet’s Secure SD-WAN along with the centralised FortiManager, FortiAnalyzer and FortiPortal platforms that Fortinet provides, gives Zain the ability and capability to easily manage, analyse and monitor the customers’ services.

How do Fortinet’s security solutions allow for seamless operation?

Due to Fortinet’s philosophy of security-driven networking, it’s now possible to actually eliminate individual products from a customer’s location in addition to their management systems. Fortinet’s consolidation of networking and security functions into a single platform reduces operational complexity as well as reducing the total cost of ownership. Fortinet’s solutions also support cloud operations, giving customers a single viewpoint across the hybrid network.

How have customers responded to the technology and what feedback have you had?

Zain’s customers have always given positive feedback to the products and services provided throughout the years, and with Fortinet’s Secure SD-WAN, the customer experience was enhanced due to the ease of implementation, delivery and support.

How have your staff managed the solution?

The tight integration of Fortinet and Zain platforms streamlines networking and security activities for our technical staff. Single pane of glass management across Fortinet’s Secure SD-WAN solution, NGFWs, endpoint protection and other technologies, enhances visibility into the network performance, security threats and the resulting organisational response. It also minimises management demands on network staff.

How far has the solution future-proofed operations for both Zain and its customers, and how will it allow you to progress as a cybersecure organisation? 

Delivering a state-of-the-art connectivity along with industry-recognised next-generation protection for any edge, at any scale, has given Zain’s customers the ability to keep their operations running with full visibility and protection across the entire attack surface, simplifying enterprise-wide workflows and reducing the cost and complexity of operations.

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