Palo Alto Networks Extends Cloud Security Portfolio

At its online Ignite ’21 conference, Palo Alto Networks today unfurled the Prisma Cloud 3.0 security platform that adds tools for securing cloud infrastructure along with an agentless option for securing applications.

At the same time, the company revamped its cloud access security broker (CASB) that now automatically secures thousands of software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications in real-time by leveraging machine learning algorithms, optical character recognition (OCR) and natural language processing (NLP) to protect data.

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Finally, Palo Alto Networks revealed it is partnering with 15 managed services providers that have committed to incorporating the Cortex eXtended Managed Detection and Response (XMDR) platform within their respective portfolios and that it has enhanced its own cloud incident response (IR) practice to address every stage of the cloud incident life cycle.

Lee Klarich, chief product officer for Palo Alto Networks, said the company’s security portfolio continues to shift left as developers become more accountable for application security. As developers embrace DevSecOps best practices, the goal is to make it simpler to surface vulnerabilities and other security issues before an application is deployed in a production environment, he added.

Prisma Cloud 3.0 is addressing that issue by adding tools for securing cloud platforms that are typically configured using infrastructure-as-code (IaC) tools along with extending its cloud infrastructure entitlement management (CIEM) capabilities to the Microsoft Azure cloud. Other capabilities added to the platform include automated policy generation tools and rules for setting up identity-based microsegmentation, tools for discovering changes to cloud configurations and an adoption advisor that provides guidance on how best to employ the Prisma Cloud platform to achieve cloud security posture management (CSPM) for specific IT environments.

The latest version of Prisma Cloud also adds an agentless scanning capability that IT organizations can use to better secure lightweight applications that don’t lend themselves to embedded agents within the application, noted Klarich. The tradeoff is that when an agent is used, the range of cybersecurity protections that can be enforced are significantly greater, said Klarich.

As more organizations build and deploy custom applications to drive digital business transformation initiatives, however, they are also relying more on SaaS applications in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic to manage a wide range of processes. The Palo Alto Networks Next-Generation CASB is available now for Palo Alto Networks’ Next-Generation Firewalls and will be made more broadly available via the Prisma Access secure service edge offering in January of 2022.

In general, Klarich said going forward, organizations will not be able to address cybersecurity challenges going without relying more on automation enabled by, for example, machine learning algorithms. It is not likely organizations will be able to fill the millions of cybersecurity positions that remain largely unfilled any time soon. As such, organizations will need to augment their existing cybersecurity teams to address a threat landscape that becomes more challenging with each passing day.

It’s not precisely clear whether shifting AppSec responsibility left will make up for the shortage of cybersecurity expertise. However, as cybersecurity continues to evolve it’s become apparent that achieving and maintaining cybersecurity is now a team sport.

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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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