Palo Alto Networks Offered Remarkable Assistance to Princeton Technology Corp.

“The PA series greatly simplified the IT Department’s tasks in administrating information security within each branch; they also helped us identify the kind of applications each employee is running over the network.”

- Senior IT Manager Lin Chang-Li, Princeton Technology Corp.

Background

Princeton Technology Corp. is a professional IC design company headquartered in Taipei, Taiwan, with a branch in Torrance, USA, and R&D center in Hsinchu, Taiwan, and representative offices in Shenzhen and Japan to serve Asian customers. Incorporated in 1986, Princeton Technology Corp. emerged from the consumer IC product sector to become Taiwan’s leading consumer IC designer. Princeton Technology has further extended its reach into the fields of RF IC, vehicle IC and energy efficient lighting IC – all of which are well received by customers.

Balance between network security and ease of use

Since Princeton Technology is a professional IC design company, its employees are almost all computer experts. Simple administrative solutions were suitable for other companies may not work for Princeton Technology. Furthermore, Princeton Technology respects their employees’ rights and wish to provide employees with a convenient network environment without compromising rational management principles.

Apart from the above concern, Princeton Technology also had R&D and business branches in other regions. As these branches frequently transmit data to one another, administrating such network can be a daunting task for the IT department. Since each branch was located in different areas, each was subject to different time zones, varying speeds and qualities of WAN connections, and different defense mechanisms against Internet threats. On top of the fundamental problem of network complexity, there is also the issue of a radical advance in network applications. Applications such as P2P, audio/video streaming, and community websites, consume an enormous amount of bandwidth and are exposed to external threats. In particular, the company’s most serious concern was that any security risk to the network could lead to a leak of the company’s IC design and R&D data; the potential losses would be unimaginable. The challenge to establish a unified policy for the entire company while facilitating efficient network analysis and comprehensive protection is a major concern. 

Vendors offer solutions that are individually superior, but disastrous once integrated into a larger whole

Princeton Technology initially established separate environments for different departments, to avoid network interference. However, overtime network applications have grown more complex and require a wider array of features than ever before. There is now specialized equipment for firewalls, IPS, virus protection, and even content filtering; eventually, companies end up buying something from every major brand in the market. Inevitably, the more equipment there is, the more significant is the decrease in system performance. In some cases the performance is one third or less. When a network problem occurs, such as bandwidth congestion or a lock-up of user’s function, it is often difficult to identify the problem or the equipment. And administrators have to be familiar with different interface of every piece of equipment. These are all challenges commonly faced by network administrators.

Palo Alto Networks provides the best solution

In the 3rd quarter of 2009, Princeton Technology decided to conduct a full-scale test of all products available in the market in order to choose the optimal brand of firewall solutions; any resulting purchases would be made according to expansion requirements which might occur in the subsequent 3 years. This was the company’s attempt to simplify its network architecture, thereby making network administration more efficient.

Over the course of the full-scale evaluation, Princeton Technology applied stringent tests on all major brands but was unable to find any satisfactory solution. In October 2009, Lin Chang-Li, a senior manager from the IT Department of Princeton Technology, was impressed by, but what most impressed Lin was its Palo Alto Networks’ ability to integrate functionality without compromising system performance. Princeton Technology approached a distributor for Palo Alto Networks and spent one month testing its equipment. The test results proved that the Single Pass Parallel Processing (SP3) structure from Palo Alto Networks could meet both functionality and efficiency requirements. From a long-term perspective, the investment in Palo Alto Networks was very cost effective.

“The product from Palo Alto Networks is a single device with multiple features. Based on the overall assessment of the three R&D divisions of Princeton Technology., the introduction of Palo Alto Networks solutions saved Princeton Technology as much as 40% in equipment cost,” said Lin.

Since the introduction of the PA-2050 and PA-500 devices in January 2010, network administrators at Princeton Technology no longer need to be continuously immersed in network report analysis; a quick reading of the top 100 users and the top 100 application reports is sufficient to know who (User-ID) is doing what (APP-ID). Network administrators can also open and lock any software with much greater flexibility by using the ACC (Application Command Center) feature, thereby offering convenience and security to all employees.

“Network administrators know they have achieved user satisfaction when users notice no restrictions whatsoever. The next generation firewall offered by Palo Alto Networks allows us to more precisely analyze network behavior and respond immediately. It helped us provide the best network experience to company employees and avoid leaking our R&D progress or any other intellectual properties to competitors. This is by far the best an IT department can do to contribute to a company,” stated Lin in his final remark that could best represent the features of NGFW of Palo Alto Networks.


 

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