Leverage Platformization – Strengthen, Unify and Simplify Cybersecurity Tools

Jun 26, 2024
6 minutes
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Cybersecurity is one of the most critical issues facing organizations today, and one of the most challenging to properly address. Technology trends take hold in organizations faster than ever before, constantly shifting and changing the attack surface that needs to be protected. At the same time, bad actors leverage new technologies to continue to evolve their own tools and techniques. With both “what’s being protected” and “what it’s being protected from” in constant flux, information security teams turn to specialized point products to help fill the resulting gaps. Unfortunately, this rapid growth in security products has created complexity that makes it difficult to achieve desired security outcomes. Increasingly, security conscious enterprises are turning to platformization to drive better security outcomes and simplify operations.

In the first of this platformization series, we explore how existing approaches are creating unnecessary complexity and how platformization simplifies cybersecurity through holistically integrated capabilities.

The Evolving Threat Landscape

Over the past decade, numerous new technology trends have completely transformed how enterprises need to protect themselves. Smartphones, cloud, remote work, and now AI, all bring complexity to information security, yet they must be enabled to support today’s workforce and gain a competitive edge.

Not only do bad actors attempt to find weaknesses in these technologies in order to infiltrate corporate networks, they’ve also embraced these same technologies to improve their attack techniques. This means that the cybersecurity tools meant to improve defenses can end up being weaponized by bad actors. Cloud infrastructure is one example of a technology used by bad actors to quickly scale up attacks to levels never seen before. And now AI is powering deep fakes, advanced attack techniques, and even helping hackers fix all those spelling and grammatical mistakes in their phishing emails.

Organizations use an average of 32 tools to safeguard their networks and systems. Each of these tools was purchased to serve a specific, well-intentioned purpose. In some cases, those tools were acquired to protect a certain aspect of the enterprise, such as cloud applications or remote workers. In other cases, those tools were purchased to protect against certain types of threats, such as file-based malware or DNS attacks.

Each tool features distinct consoles, data logging conventions and contextual requirements. Each product collects its own siloed data, and stitching that data together into a comprehensive view of your security requires a level of expertise and resourcing that is beyond what most enterprises could ever hope to achieve. Since cyberattacks often exploit multiple weaknesses in sequence, getting even basic visibility into an attack becomes very difficult with so many different and disjointed tools. Getting those tools to work in concert across the kill chain to prevent advanced, multi-stage attacks? Impossible.

Introducing Platformization

Platformization combines numerous products and services into a unified architecture with a single data store, streamlined management and operations, and native integrations that make each component stronger than a corresponding “best-of-breed” point product. This offers a great user experience that increases productivity, radically simplifies operations, and improves security outcomes.

In order for platformization to follow through on its promise, several critical requirements must be fulfilled. First, every product or service consolidated into the platform must be as good or better than the corresponding point products available in that space. Adopting a platform can never mean sacrificing security efficacy for simplified management or vendor consolidation.

Next, the platform must be modular, allowing your organization to grow into the use of the platform over time. Wholesale replacements of many different security products at the same time is more complicated than most organizations would want to take on. Adding the challenge of different replacement cycles of incumbent offerings makes it even more difficult. A platform must be adoptable in whole or in parts, without losing its ability to meet the complete need of the use cases being considered.

Finally, the platform must also enable native platform integrations that make each component even stronger than it would be on its own. All too often, vendors develop platforms as “ships in the night,” building a single UI, but with each product operating entirely independently beneath that UI. Everything from policy management to reporting must be consolidated and tightly integrated. As an example, if you’re evaluating a platform for network security, and that platform offers numerous services to protect against different types of advanced threats, visibility into where and how you’re stopping each threat should be consolidated and reported centrally. It should not be in separate reports that pull from entirely separate data stores.

How Palo Alto Networks Helps Organizations Get the Most From Platformization

Over the past several years, Palo Alto Networks has been on a mission to simplify cybersecurity while at the same time improving outcomes. This has driven the development of three platforms leveraging Precision AI™, collectively providing a holistic approach to cybersecurity throughout the enterprise. Strata is our network security platform that simplifies operations, consistently enforces security policies, and protects against advanced threats with one unified platform. Prisma Cloud is our code-to-cloud platform that secures apps from design to runtime. And, Cortex is our AI-driven SecOps platform that accelerates detection and remediation of security threats. These deliver purpose-engineered solutions that help customers radically simplify their cybersecurity operations and increase their cybersecurity outcomes.

In each area, Palo Alto Networks has consolidated numerous standalone security tools with a single, tightly integrated architecture that is built to automate, streamline and improve cybersecurity operations. Importantly, every component of these platforms is held to the high standard of being the absolute best at its function, even when compared with leading point products in that space. And since not everything happens at once, the platforms are built modularly, allowing you to adopt components over time, instead of all at once; and, you have a wide range of integrations with other products you are using in your security infrastructure. This lets you have it all without compromise.

Adopting the Palo Alto Networks platforms can be fast and easy, thanks to our deep bench of technical talent and customer consultants. They will help ensure you’ve got the right platform for your needs and help you get it set up. Palo Alto Networks is ready and able to help any organization, including those working with other cybersecurity technology vendors, to find tangible ways to benefit from platformization.

Learn how platformization can help you today.

Precision AI is the difference between 90% accuracy and inaction vs 100% confidence and real-time response.

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