Its products swathe athletes in victory. Encourage walks (and runs) in the park. Bring athletic flair to the office. This global athletic apparel company seems to be built on high-performance fabric and recycled rubber. But behind the products for which it’s known worldwide, technology plays a key role in everything from managing a complex, global supply chain to personalizing customers’ retail experiences.
For decades, the company’s products have been sold through hundreds of retailers around the world. Leveraging that success in recent years, the company has shifted toward a direct-to-consumer model, including in its own branded stores and with an increasing focus on e-commerce.
Meanwhile, in its factories and warehouses, the company has invested heavily in OT and IoT systems to drive process automation. It’s been on a persistent journey to modernize its digital environments and shift to the cloud.
With these changes, the company needed security as dynamic as its business and turned to Palo Alto Networks. An initial project to replace legacy firewalls led to an expanded collaboration, which has helped the company’s IT leaders ensure that security is baked into their ongoing modernization initiatives.
Elite athletes know that a little extra push can make the difference between winning and losing. The same can be said of competition in any field; for this company, that “extra push” takes the form of technology investments. For decades, it has focused on building a bespoke infrastructure to support a cutting-edge approach to operations.
Historically, the company built its network security stack on a best-of-breed point solution model. This approach enhanced its security posture but required significant investments in complex integrations and dedicated staff. As the threat landscape expanded, the organization’s security leaders realized they needed a different approach to rein in runaway costs. The goal: further improve security while reducing complexity.
Later, a new challenge emerged. Like many manufacturers, the company embraced IoT to improve process automation. This resulted in a proliferation of IoT assets such as phones, POS systems, printers, workstations and more across its operations, creating gaps in visibility and security. Security leadership realized that many of the company’s IoT assets were invisible and unmanaged. With a volume of devices in the tens of thousands, there wasn’t a way to identify and secure all of them manually.
As the company began to search for a new network firewall solution, its leading priorities were to improve application identification, virtualization, and automation and to support a Zero Trust security model.
To avoid further diversity in its security stack, it also prioritized moving toward consolidation with a single, unified solution to simplify management across its data centers, cloud, and branch environments. As a business with a global footprint, it also needed zero-touch deployment, allowing firewalls to be configured remotely.
“One of the key requirements for any successful practice is simplification that increases the security posture,” a Palo Alto Networks Account Executive explains. “This company has always looked for solutions that are both reliable and easy to implement.”
When the company assessed the risks implicit in its IoT environment, its security leaders realized they needed comprehensive visibility over the entire environment. To achieve this, they required simplified management, greater security efficacy, and reliability. Again, they looked to further consolidate the security stack to avoid complex product integrations.
After testing several firewall solutions, Palo Alto Networks Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFWs) was the clear winner, allowing the company to simplify management with a single interface for all its locations, delivering services including App-ID™, Device-ID™, and User-ID™, and supporting a Zero Trust security model.
In its first phase, the company deployed 74 NGFWs, including PA-7000 series firewalls at the world headquarters and in the largest data centers and PA-5000 series firewalls in key network hubs and additional data centers. For security data logging, the company adopted Palo Alto Networks Cortex.
The NGFWs simplified security leaders’ decision-making when it came time to address concerns about the IoT environment. In an initial test, Palo Alto Networks Enterprise IoT Security outperformed multiple vendors in a head-to-head competition, identifying more devices and providing robust management tools. Adopting Enterprise IoT security was as simple as turning the feature on in the NGFW solution.
Palo Alto Networks NGFWs improved the company’s security posture and made it easier to respond to changing needs. With App-ID, User-ID, and Device-ID, security teams significantly improved identification, virtualization, and automation. Cortex strengthens threat intelligence and delivers actionable insights based on security data. A straightforward zero-touch deployment strategy makes it easy to spin up new firewalls and implement additional security features.
“Architectural flexibility has been very important to the company’s ability to implement policies on different form factors,” notes a Palo Alto Networks Sales Engineer. “That’s the simplicity and speed that comes with a unified platform.”
Using Enterprise IoT Security allowed the company to discover thousands of devices connected to the network that were previously invisible, providing a comprehensive view of its entire IoT landscape. Enterprise IoT Security also automatically identifies new assets as they connect, enabling security teams to maintain visibility and employ threat detection and response capabilities to keep the company’s plants and network safe.
Perhaps most importantly, security teams can see and manage the NGFWs and Enterprise IoT Security from a single dashboard, creating consistency across the enterprise and reducing the time staff spend on manual tasks.
By moving toward a unified platform and relying on Palo Alto Networks as its security partner, the company has increased its ability to make strategic risk buy-downs, improving both security infrastructure and cost management.
The company has ambitious plans to modernize the technology infrastructure that has supported its longstanding position as a global leader in athletic apparel manufacturing. To meet its board-level commitments, it needs flexible infrastructure that will meet its short- and long-term needs. It must also evolve its security stack to better respond to a changing digital environment and rapidly evolving threat landscape.
As it moves to further consolidate its approach to security, the business is integrating more Prisma® Access network security features and realizing even greater value from its investment in NGFWs and Cortex by turning on features as needed to meet changing needs. Implementing security controls for innovative next-gen manufacturing processes can also safeguard critical operational systems. For example, using Palo Alto Networks Industrial OT Security with NGFWs or Prisma® Access equips security teams with visibility, segmentation, and threat prevention capabilities for both IoT and OT assets, eliminating blind spots across retail locations, manufacturing plants, data centers or warehouses, preventing costly interruptions to production and simplifying security operations.
The athletic apparel company is also deepening its partnership with Palo Alto Networks, relying on the industry leader in cybersecurity to help it meet its goals and remain a winner, now and into the future.
Find out more about how Palo Alto Networks’ best-in-class solutions can improve networking and security for your organization. Additional information is here.