Palo Alto Networks, a producer focused exclusively on Network Security Solutions, radically changed the perspective on the way in which firewall devices apply control measures on traffic, leading to the formation of the acronym NGFW which describes the intelligent mechanisms of identification and sanitization of the traffic generated by applications run by users.
By means of this new way of traffic control, the Palo Alto Networks solution surmounts the congestion of classic protection solutions involving repeated inspections of the product and heterogeneous solution traffic (firewall, IPS, UTM, URL filtering), through a one-time processing of the traffic content and a simultaneous assessment of the decision criteria. The strategic orientation of the producer targets the development of a security platform with visibility on the level of the whole IT infrastructure, a platform on which discrete product categories interact disseminating the information related to the risk factors and operationalizing it on the level of firewall devices that have a decisive role in traffic control.
The objective of the NGFW Palo Alto Networks Solution is a homogeneous application on the level of the entire network infrastructure (physical, distributed as geographic location, virtualized - including VDI) of the control measures that enable legitimate users, who perform their activity on authorized terminals, regardless of their location, to run the productivity-wise relevant applications while guaranteeing IT Security. The traffic content, including the encrypted traffic, generated by these identifiable applications is assessed from the standpoint of the Security criteria (IPS, anti-virus/anti-malware/anti-spyware/anti-bot protection, Website control).
The NGFW platform, as a unified traffic control modality, interacts programmatically with the existing infrastructure through REST API, expanding the dynamic of the decision criteria by the dimension of automation and of programmability.
From a product line standpoint, Palo Alto Networks provide:
- specialized hardware NGFW platforms with an architecture and components dedicated to traffic content processing, platforms that are able to scale up to 120 Gbps of traffic per application (https://www.paloaltonetworks.com/products/product-selection.html),
- virtualized NGFW versions available for the major virtualization solutions (vmWare - inclusiv NSX, Citrix, KVM),
- a centralized management platform (provisioning, logging and reporting) (Panorama),
- an anti-malware platform with on-premises deployment (WildFire) that reduces the validation time through controlled execution (sandboxing) of the malicious code - malware - of the files intercepted by NGFW,
- an MDM platform meant to expand the application of the control exterted by NGFW on mobile terminals,
- an end-point protection system (TRAPS) focused on preventing the execution of exploits and of malware on the level of the workstations and of the servers.
The producer aims at simplifying the design and the application of a security architecture within the infrastructure, not only by unifying the functions on the level of the NGFW platform, but also by maintaining the lowest possible number of reference points/patterns and by elaborating a simplified cost model.