Palo Alto Networks expands SME footprint

The security vendor is working with more channel partners as it pitches products to the SME segment

Palo Alto Networks' recent developments mean that SMEs are now getting better access to its products, according to one of the company’s channel directors.

Its main objective is to ‘protect people’s way of life in the digital age by preventing successful cyber-attacks’. It offers a specialised firewall protection, known as ‘Next-Generation Firewall’. The main difference between this and most other systems is that rather than detecting and remediating attacks, it prevents them.

Wayne Stephens, Channel Director for Western and Northern Europe at Palo Alto Networks, emphasised that cyber-attacks are a concern for all companies. Palo Alto Networks is open to all markets but he said “recent announcements and products that are actually shipping means that we have all that capability in a much lower end of the market, with the SMEs.”

He cited the recent launch of a service called ‘Global Protect as a Service’, which puts its firewall into the cloud. Smaller organisations are able to take that and resell it, as it is a quick deployment. There has also been the announcement of its Application Framework. Although he said this framework supports new entrants in the market, it is can be used by any security supplier to build applications which will run on Palo Alto’s network.

In addition to the SMEs, Stephens said: “As the market’s evolved, what we’re also finding is that we’ve got some partners and some new ones who traditionally sold adjacent types of technology like datacentre, VM ware.” He added that there has been a noticeable “growth curve” in the datacentre area.  

Wildfire

Considering the lost cost for hackers and the fact that their attempts are getting more sophisticated to deal with, there are occasions where the firewall has to deal with unknown threats. Palo Alto Networks' solution incorporates an addition threat intelligence cloud called ‘Wildfire’ to deal with those kinds of attacks.

Stephens said: “If we see something we’ve not seen before, then this will be transmitted into Wildfire where we can essentially detonate see, see what it’s trying to do. If that looks like it’s harmful or malware, then actually we can send a signal down to the Wildfire subscriber within five minutes and the system’s protected.”

He added that it is a “constant battle” against the hackers and “we’re constantly innovating and bringing new solutions to the marketplace”.  

Educating the market

If a cyber-attack has a lot of public attention, for example WannaCry, or if a company has just been attacked, it could be used as an opportunity to sell security products to vendors. However, Stephens said the company does not see it in that way: “What we have to do is be honest- not go out and tell our customers ‘We could’ve prevented that’ because that’s not what they want to hear. What they want to hear is ‘How can I prevent this happening again?’

“We need to educate the market, educate the channel [about] how our prevention stance is a much more viable stance than a traditional AV or Detect Remediate.”

 

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