Why Your Cloud Environment Needs Palo Alto Networks Strata

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Net Friends
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AWS and Azure stand out as safe choices for hosting your servers and data. With the promise of lower overall costs and a robust platform, businesses may perceive the only concern to be keeping your billing information up to date!

The challenge with AWS and Azure is that they are not equipped with a firewall or advanced threat detection tools out-of-the-box.

While they do provide fundamental security features aimed at keeping unauthorized users at bay, these can fall short. If a cyber intruder obtained your access credentials or identifies a system vulnerability, these basic measures are often insufficient to thwart an attack.

Often these basic protections are not properly configured creating system vulnerabilities. While there are step-by-step walkthroughs for these configurations, it is still possible to overlook important standard procedures and best practices that are imperative to securing your environment.

The most common method hackers use to infiltrate systems is by using stolen or weak passwords. In a cloud environment lacking a virtual firewall, a password often stands as the main line of defense. It is not as secure as it appears. It is important to consider the implications: what would the consequences be if my cloud environment was breached?

There remains a gap between generic protections and a tailored security infrastructure that can defend against sophisticated threats. The solution is a virtual firewall to address the intricate and evolving security challenges that businesses face. We recommend Palo Alto Networks' Strata product suite. Transitioning to Strata represents a strategic step towards fortifying your cloud environment by embracing a security system designed for the complexity of modern cyber threats.

We recommend the Palo Alto Networks Strata product because it is a comprehensive solution. Think of Strata as the firewall, plus anti-malware, plus machine learning and artificial intelligence, that rapidly assesses and thwarts novel threats. The native options are not bundled and require you to purchase multiple tools to achieve what Strata delivers in one.

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3 Key Benefits of Palo Alto Networks Strata

1. Advanced Security

Palo Alto Strata empowers security professionals with unparalleled visibility and insights into their network activity. It goes beyond traditional log analysis, leveraging a combination of powerful features to paint a comprehensive picture of your security landscape.

Network Inspection

Leading the cybersecurity industry, Palo Alto Networks was the first to develop network inspection technologies that can tell which specific user, application, and type of content is related to every single network packet that moves on your network. Before Palo Alto developed this (they call it App-ID, User-ID, and Content-ID), all firewalls could only tell where traffic was going, where it came from, and how much was moving on the network. Palo Alto consistently innovates, developing unparalleled visibility into the dynamics of the networks they protect.

Deep Packet Inspection

With its deep packet inspection capabilities and customizable dashboards, Strata provides real-time insights into potential threats, user behavior, and application performance. You can delve into granular details of specific events, identify emerging trends, and proactively address anomalies before they escalate into full-blown breaches.

These features function as background checks on all the traffic that enters your cloud environment. Just as TSA would want to know who is entering an airport and what they are bringing inside, these inspections scrutinize the data passing through a network, ensuring everything is safe and nothing harmful or unauthorized sneaks in. This vigilant oversight helps to protect against cyber threats.

2. AI and Machine Learning Enhanced Security

Palo Alto Networks was the first to implement any artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning (ML) capabilities into their firewalls. They have maintained their lead and leadership role as well. They leverage AI and ML to analyze security policies and perform real-time compliance verifications, thereby enhancing network defense.

  • Malware prevention: Palo Alto Networks calls this their “Wildfire” service, and it effectively blocks ever-evolving and uniquely evasive initial attacks by integrating machine learning directly into its cloud-based detection engines.  
  • Malicious website filtering: Malicious websites are rampant on the Internet, and Palo Alto’s “Advanced URL filtering” service can anticipate and block a remarkable 88% of malicious URLs. 
  • Command & control attacks thwarted: The latest AI-powered advance threat detection is purpose-built to counter command-and-control (C&C) attacks, with an impressive 97% success rate.

This cloud-based offering extends the firewall's insight, providing real-time analysis and automatic updates to keep the firewall aware of the latest threats. The firewall is always learning and improving its ability to identify threats. Consequently, your network benefits from protection against zero-day exploits and advanced malware without the lag of manual intervention.

3. Granular Control

These virtual firewalls are designed to make managing your network's security straightforward. They offer granular control of which applications your employees can use, lowering the risk of security issues. Here is a summary of the key features that make this possible:

  • Policy-based Management: You can create security rules that apply to certain users, apps, and types of content. This method means you can handle security for your whole network in one go, rather than piece by piece.
  • Automation: Palo Alto offers automation for common security tasks like identifying and eliminating threats, managing weaknesses, and keeping logs. This can save a lot of time and work.
  • User-friendly Interface: The interface of the firewall is easy to use, which is great if you are not a security pro. It is set up to be clear and straightforward.

The safest network is one that no one can access. Security is a trade off with functionality. Having the ability to finely tune the functionality of your cloud environment ensures that your network's security is both robust and usable.

Bonus 4th Compliance Support for Businesses in Highly Regulated Environments

Strata provides pre-built security policy templates that adhere to various industry standards and regulations, such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, and GDPR. These templates can serve as a starting point for your own security policies and help ensure they cover the essential controls required for compliance. This is an excellent feature to help ensure you are doing all the right things!

The Unparalleled Advantage of Palo Alto Networks

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Industry Leading Visibility and Intelligence
Investing in Palo Alto Networks Strata is like equipping your security team with night-vision goggles – they can see further, understand more, and react faster to threats lurking in the shadows of your network.

It is a powerful tool that empowers informed decision-making and strengthens your security posture. AWS and Azure provide solid cloud environments, but incorporating Strata's comprehensive firewall solidifies your security position.

If the thought of enhancing your cloud security seems daunting, Net Friends is here to guide you. Our expertise ensures seamless integration and continued support for a fortified cloud environment. Do not wait for threats to find you. Net Friends is a Palo Alto Networks partner and the only reseller located in the Triangle. Our team is Palo Alto Networks certified and ready to help your business step into a future protected, resilient, and prepared.

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At Net Friends, we believe in the power of human expertise. While we leverage AI to enhance our content and processes, all blog posts are written and edited by our knowledgeable staff. You can trust you are getting insights directly from our team.

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