Advanced visibility, simplified management, and substantial time savings of 25–30 percent with NGFW
After conducting a thorough Best Practice Assessment (BPA), where performance was benchmarked against industry standards, CIS selected Palo Alto Networks, as their solution was simple and more logical with respect to network segmentation.
Detailing the advanced visibility capabilities of the new solution, Alvin talks about how the new solution provides a clear, graphical representation that showcases application usage, helping the IT department understand the bandwidth used by students to browse sites like Google, YouTube, Facebook and several other educational resources. Alvin emphasises how these reporting features are important for a school to monitor. “Since these reporting tools are built into the solution and do not need a third party, we can plan bandwidth usage at our end,” he states. Another important feature is visibility into abnormal traffic. Alvin explains, “As you can imagine, we cannot risk students accessing unsecure networks and the safety and security of our students is of utmost importance. We have implicit trust in the NGFWs deployed by Palo Alto Networks.”
Sunil oversaw the business aspect of the new solution. “As with most schools in the region, the pandemic had pushed financial constraints to the forefront. Palo Alto Networks put together an affordable financial plan that we could consider during our upgrade. Even better, by installing two boxes instead of one, they helped us achieve our goals within one year, instead of two,” he says. For CIS, even though the initial investment was high, long-term returns were assured.
Deployment of the NGFWs was done seamlessly, and as Sunil puts it, “The local team came together with our team to ensure smooth implementation. It really was an amazing marriage that came our way with Palo Alto Networks, as they give us the benefit of the entire experience.” When the pandemic resulted in school closures and work from home, CIS was able to close the gap without further investments, as they had the GlobalProtect™ VPN service from Palo Alto Networks in place to connect all operational staff, faculty, and students securely.
At any given time, CIS has about 3,500 wireless devices connected to its network. “That’s where the Zero Trust Network Architecture comes into play,” explains Sunil. “With Palo Alto Networks NGFW, we have zero failure through load balancing without compromising on performance,” he observes. With digital citizenship being a focal point for the team at CIS, reporting is critical as it has a direct impact on decisions made regarding what needs to be incorporated into the curriculum so as to make sure the next generation is abreast with safe technology use.