In its 90-year history, Sielte SpA has evolved from a pioneering telephone and electrical systems company in Italy to an international cloud-based information and communication technology (ICT) service provider. Today, Sielte has annual revenue of over €400 million with cloud operations spanning Italy, Spain, Romania and Nigeria.
With 500 customers operating in its cloud, encompassing approximately 10,000 devices and a wide range of applications, Sielte must be constantly vigilant against cyberthreats. In fact, most of Sielte’s customers also struggle to contend with an ever more complex threat landscape and have begun demanding managed security services as part of the Sielte cloud offering. Increasing pressure from customers, combined with a breach to its previous Cisco firewall, prompted the company to immediately seek a new network security solution.
After evaluating the market, Sielte conducted a proof of concept (POC) to compare Juniper Networks with the Palo Alto Networks Next-Generation Security Platform, which consists of Next-Generation Firewalls, Threat Intelligence Cloud services, and Advanced Endpoint Protection. During the POC, the Palo Alto Networks platform detected an active cyberattack on Sielte’s network. This proved to be the deciding factor in the company’s final decision.
Dr. Salvo Rosa, Sielte’s chief security officer, remarks, “The Palo Alto Networks platform showed real advantages in detecting and averting cyberattacks. It clearly provided better network visibility with coordinated statistics that would enable us to effectively prevent threats from compromising our network. We were convinced the Palo Alto Networks platform was the right choice for Sielte and our customers.”
Following the successful POC, Sielte deployed the Palo Alto Networks Next-Generation Security Platform in its data center in Catania, Italy. A key component of its deployment includes the PA-5050 Next-Generation Firewall as an Internet gateway for network security and segmentation. Dr. Rosa reports that the PA-5050 has improved performance dramatically, enabling greater throughput to support the highest number of concurrent user sessions.
“Due to the limited capacity of our Cisco firewalls, we often ran into performance problems that dragged down productivity,” he notes. “Since deploying the PA-5050, we have seen a 150 percent increase in network performance, while using only 50 percent of available bandwidth.”
In addition, Sielte’s deployment of the Palo Alto Networks Next-Generation Platform includes subscriptions for Threat Prevention, URL Filtering (PAN-DB), and WildFire to provide holistic, preventive security. In fact, the Palo Alto Networks platform is transforming Sielte’s approach to security.
Dr. Rosa explains, “Palo Alto Networks enables us to identify and monitor traffic in much more detail than any other vendor. We can analyze all the way to the application level and automatically block any traffic coming from a malicious source. It completely changed our mindset from a security approach based on protocols to one based on applications.”
Another major advantage Sielte has realized from the Palo Alto Networks platform is the ability to block even unknown threats as they emerge, thanks to the threat intelligence provided by WildFire. Dr. Rosa participated in a national meeting in Italy with the Palo Alto Networks Unit 42 research team, which contributes to WildFire. He came away with a whole new appreciation for WildFire’s advanced, proactive analysis of the constantly evolving cyberthreat landscape.
He comments, “The ability of WildFire to identify new threats and update the global community every 15 minutes with its findings provides an extra level of assurance that our company is strongly protected against attacks every minute of every day.”
For centralized management of the Palo Alto Networks platform, Sielte relies on Panorama. For everything from monitoring network traffic to managing all aspects of device configuration, enforcing policies, and generating reports, Panorama provides a single interface to simplify and accelerate administration.
“Panorama reduced the amount of time we spend on security administration by about 20 percent compared to our previous solution,” says Dr. Rosa. “That allows us to work on other projects to further strengthen security for Sielte and our customers.”
One major initiative is expanding Sielte’s services portfolio with managed security services built on the Palo Alto Networks platform. By bundling network security with its cloud offerings, Sielte foresees exciting new business opportunities and increased revenue potential.
“Working with Palo Alto Networks gives Sielte a great advantage for expanding our cloud business,” Dr. Rosa asserts. “Palo Alto Networks is a clear leader in security innovation, and as a partner, we will have exposure to their latest technology to protect our customers from the most advanced cyberthreats. We see partnership with Palo Alto Networks as a very important vehicle for increasing customer confidence in Sielte, attracting new customers, and opening new markets to help our business grow.”
This case study available in: Italian.