Palo Alto Networks Updates Remote Security Platform

Palo Alto Networks today updated its Prisma Access cloud security platform to include a secure web gateway and self-healing capabilities, along with machine learning algorithms that can detect new security threats in real-time.

In addition, the cloud-based management framework has been revamped to enable platform updates to be installed in real-time based on a set of security best practices defined by Palo Alto Networks. Machine learning algorithms, meanwhile, will surface additional recommendations, based on telemetry data collected by the platform, that should be made to security policies.

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Finally, Prisma Access 2.0 also adds support for remote browser isolation (RBI) services through which third-party security and infrastructure services involving, for example, Internet of Things (IoT) devices can be integrated.

Anand Oswal, senior vice president and general manager for firewall-as-a-platform for Palo Alto Networks, said version 2.0 of Prisma Access furthers the company’s ongoing efforts to unify management of networking and security.

Palo Alto Networks is positioning Prisma Access 2.0 as a secure access service edge (SASE) platform through which software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) services are delivered. Prisma Access 2.0 is unique in that all the networking and security functions it unifies can be managed via a central cloud console, which the company gained last year via the acquisition of CloudGenix, said Oswal. That approach to security, in contrast to Palo Alto Networks’ rivals, is also not just limited to web applications, Oswal added.

Palo Alto Networks

In general, Oswal said, large number of organizations have been revisiting their security strategy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than continuing to rely on virtual private networks (VPNs) that are difficult to scale, Prisma Access 2.0 provides a zero-trust approach to cybersecurity that is simpler to manage via the cloud, at a time when cybersecurity teams continue to work from home.

Palo Alto Networks claims it is now delivering 4.3 million security updates a day via its platform, which is 25 times more than its rivals. The company also claims its overall throughput is ten times greater than rivals, which means the overall impact to the application environment is minimal, Oswal noted.

The rate at which security management is shifting to the cloud has clearly accelerated since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the start of the new year, there are also more IT organizations that have budget allocated specifically toward improving and securing remote computing. While greater availability of COVID-19 vaccines might result in more employees returning to the office more frequently, most organizations expect employees will be working from home even after receiving vaccinations. In many cases, there may not even be an office for an employee to return to.

Of course, there is no shortage of options when it comes to secure SD-WAN platforms. The issue IT organizations will need to determine is the degree to which a platform improves both security and the application user experience when compared to existing VPNs. Many employees simply forget to employ a VPN at all, because the added latency to the application environment is too painful to bear.

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Michael Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

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