Utility companies that keep the heat and lights on in our homes and businesses face unique network security challenges. From protecting power substations exposed to harsh weather conditions to defending against cyberattacks on nuclear power plants, they have a critical need to secure their facilities and infrastructure.
A utility company saw the necessity of safeguarding security vulnerabilities in its many energy-generating facilities and corporate headquarters. The company sought a trusted partner to secure its network from unauthorized access and threats and ensure its ability to provide uninterrupted service to millions of customers.
Energy, commodities, and resources assets in the U.S. have been targeted more than any other nation, according to the S&P Global Energy Security Sentinel, accounting for almost a quarter of global cyberattacks on the energy sector since 2017.
“Security is extremely important to our utility company customer,” says a Palo Alto Networks employee familiar with the company. “The company is responsible for protecting nuclear plants and other sensitive infrastructure from malicious attacks. However, it lacked visibility into its network environment.”
Managing multiple solutions and devices was complicated and time-consuming. The company needed a consistent, unified approach to securing a growing multicloud environment.
The utility company needed to protect its numerous nuclear, gas, coal, hydro, and solar power plants from cyberattacks and vulnerabilities that could lead to outages. It also needed to defend its power substations and data centers. It required a Zero Trust approach to security and the ability to adhere to strict compliance requirements set by the government.
The company’s IT team needed visibility into traffic on its corporate network and the capability to segment traffic to prevent users from accessing unauthorized sites and malware from spreading. It also wanted to improve network performance.
The company sought a solution that would allow it to simplify and streamline management, increase efficiencies, and control costs.
Palo Alto Networks Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFWs) were the choice of the utility company. Palo Alto Networks stood out from competitors because of its App-ID classification technology, which enables the company to see mission-critical applications on its network, evaluate their behaviors, and determine risk.
The utility company selected several models of NGFWs to provide security across its domain, securing its operational technology (OT) network, and protecting power plants, substations, and renewable energy equipment exposed to harsh weather.
Operating in a multicloud environment, the company also relies on VM-Series virtual firewalls. The company chose PA-5200 Series NGFWs to secure its regional hubs and PA-7080 NGFWs in locations requiring more bandwidth, in addition to ruggedized hardware that can operate in harsh environments.
Palo Alto Networks NGFWs extend protection to the edge of the utility company’s corporate network and provide visibility into internet traffic. They allow the IT team to segment traffic for guest wireless, video cameras, multicast TV feeds, and more.
In addition to App-ID, the company is covered on all perimeters by Advanced Threat Prevention, Advanced URL Filtering, Advanced WildFire®, and DNS Security. Managing the network is facilitated with Panorama™, which provides centralized visibility across a large footprint.
The Palo Alto Networks NGFWs provide best-in-class network security coupled with single-pane-of-glass visibility. Deployment has increased the utility company’s confidence that vital infrastructure across the U.S. is protected from threats.
Since implementing Palo Alto Networks solutions, the utility company has achieved Palo Alto Networks best practice assessment ratings demonstrating its mature security capabilities. Performance evaluations show that the company adheres to protocols for a strong security posture by using preventative countermeasures.
“The utility’s adoption of recommended security practices is greater than many in the industry,” says the Palo Alto Networks employee. “With Palo Alto Networks, the company has built a strong defense against threats and can comply with rigorous regulations of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC).”
The utility company is turning its attention to security across its cloud environments and looking to advance its Zero Trust approach.
“The utility company is expanding its partnership with us,” confirms the Palo Alto Networks employee. “They trust our technologies and ability to keep their facilities and infrastructure as secure as possible.”
Through its partnership with Palo Alto Networks, the company is securing its power plants and other assets against zero-day malware and other increasing cyberthreats while ensuring continuous operations for its customers.
Find out more about how Palo Alto Networks’ best-in-class solutions can improve networking and security for your organization. Additional information is here.