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The evolution of network security: Why organisations need a new approach

The evolution of network security: Why organisations need a new approach

Enterprise SecurityThought LeadershipTop Stories

There is no doubt that the network perimeter has changed as workforces are now spread across office, home and remote environments. Traditional approaches to cybersecurity are no longer adequate. Here, Brendan Maccarron, Palo Alto Networks Channel Manager, Southern Africa, Westcon-Comstor, and Kylie Wilkinson, EMEA Vendor Product Manager at Westcon-Comstor for Palo Alto Networks, highlight how the rapid evolution of IT and accelerated digitalisation has impacted the network perimeter, as well as how Weston-Comstor works with partners to deliver Palo Alto solutions to end-users in this region.

Kylie Wilkinson, EMEA Vendor Product Manager at Westcon-Comstor for Palo Alto Networks

How has the rapid evolution of IT and accelerated digitalisation impacted the network perimeter?

KW: With the network perimeter, everything has changed. We see now, more evident than ever before, that people are now working remotely. They’re working from coffee shops; they’re working from different countries. This was all an idea in the past and as things have changed, it’s become people’s reality. So, you’ve got people working from different locations, all trying to log into the same data, same set of information, same server. So, the perimeters have shifted from being an office bound space or a data centre space, to covering where all your employees or users are based.

How has traditional cybersecurity fallen behind?

KW: Traditional cybersecurity was made and developed for the time it was relevant in, but things have evolved. As mentioned, we’ve had a pandemic and different working scenarios for all that we’ve been faced with. So that’s changed massively. Cybersecurity has had to keep up-to-date and there’s been lots of ways that different vendors have gone about it. But it always boils down to research and development.

What tools and technology do organisations now need to proactively deliver protection against these advanced threats?

BM: I think most importantly, it’s being able to identify the users and enable appropriate access, and, at the same time, safely enable them to control the functions around it. There also needs to be a focus on the detection and response and what technology behind it is in use to respond to threats and how organisations are remediating against these threats. I think those would be the key features to focus on initially.

Brendan Maccarron, Palo Alto Networks Channel Manager, Southern Africa, Westcon-Comstor

What are the key requirements for a next-gen firewall?

BM: Being able to identify the applications, regardless of their port protocol, or evasive tactics or encryption, identify the users, decrypting traffic, decrypt encrypted traffic protecting real time against known and unknown threats, deliver predictable multi-gigabit inland throughput.

Why do organisations of all sizes, including small and medium businesses, need to take steps to improve their network security?

KW: One of the biggest answers is, you look a lot of the reports according to Fundera, hacking incidents against small businesses have grown drastically over time. I think it’s now 424% growth in 2020. They were previously always seen as the guys that didn’t have to worry; hackers didn’t want their data. But the reality of it all is hackers want everyone’s data, anything that they can go for.

How do the Palo Alto STRATA solution and PA-400 product series helped to address some of these challenges?

KW: Palo Alto has been a nine times Gartner Magic Quadrant leader. From that perspective, the company was seen as the enterprise grade firewall. Subsequently from that, it has released a new product called the PA-400 series. This covers the SMB space; it helps branches and smaller offices. It fully encompasses the SMB market that needs the top end security, still at a smaller environment, and it’s making it very clear that even if you are in a small environment, your data is still data. It’s still sensitive information. Hackers still want it. They don’t care who they’re hacking, they want the data, so securing that is pretty much the SMB phase, and from the PA-400 series that’s the main goal.

How does Palo Alto set itself apart from others in the network security market?

KW: As mentioned, they’ve been a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant side for nine years. They have also subsequently spent a lot of money on R&D and through a lot of acquisitions over time to ensure that their suite is fully comprehensive. They now cover everything from SOAR, XDR, cloud security, firewall security and virtualised security. So, they’ve really grown to make sure that they have a full suite of offering for all types of businesses.

How do you work with Palo Alto to pass on the benefits of these solutions to end-users in this region?

BM: Palo Alto has a fantastic partner programme, which is strictly tier model. So, we just ensure that the true value path is carried right through to the end-user. By having a best of breed technologies and partners with the correct focus and skill. We just ensure that we meet all the demands that are thrown at us.

How do you work with the channel in this region that implements your approach?

BM: We work through a partner programme; we initially sign up as a registered partner. And through the distribution we drive enablement certification. This gives the channel ability to drive sales, create demand and ultimately ensure the best customer satisfaction overall experience with using the technology. And as the partners develop, they move up in the tiers of the partner programme.

As a global distributor, how do you work with the channel to fulfil global projects for the end-user?

BM: As a global distributor, we align with the global resellers in the channel to deliver and execute on their projects. We have a team of engineers throughout the globe to assist partners where and when necessary. We also have a global supply chain to execute them getting out to deliver throughout the world where a partner may not necessarily have the presence to do it.

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