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Prisma SASE: The Smart Way to Protect Your Data in 2024

Prisma SASE - The Smart Way to Protect Your Data

Nowadays, organizations are dealing with the complexities of digital transformation. As businesses embrace new technologies and shift towards cloud-based infrastructure, the need for robust and adaptable cybersecurity solutions has become more important. Palo Alto Networks leads the industry with its Prisma SASE solution, which is important for protecting digital transformation projects.

Prisma SASE is a comprehensive strategy designed to safeguard organizations as they embark on digital transformation journeys rather than just a cybersecurity tool. This guide covers the critical aspects of secure digital transformation with Prisma SASE from Palo Alto Networks. It will explore how it helps businesses use advanced technologies while easily focusing on security and user experience.

Digital Transformation Background

Digital transformation leverages digital technologies to adapt or create business processes, culture, and user experiences to meet market demands. Across various industries, there’s a notable surge in digital transformation efforts. The rise is primarily because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which led more people to work remotely. With more employees working remotely, organizations increasingly rely on cloud services. Therefore, many are transitioning to hybrid cloud environments, combining public and private cloud infrastructures.

In the hybrid setup, applications are not limited to a single location. They can be anywhere. However, this flexibility causes issues, particularly in security management. Palo Alto Networks found that a significant portion (53%) of workforce threats in a sample of 500 enterprise customers originated from non-web-based applications (Meyer, 2021). These applications don’t rely on HTTP or HTTPS protocols for user communication, adding complexity to security measures.

Applications now reside anywhere and can be accessed by users from anywhere. This introduces new challenges for the security team in protecting its hybrid infrastructures. Companies need new solutions to secure these new norms infrastructures.

Work from anywhere advantages

Why Mobile Technologies are Transforming the Workplace

Employees no longer need to be physically located under the new rules. Instead, they can keep working and stay connected using various mobile devices such as computers and smartphones. Mobile workforces are becoming more prevalent because these technologies are increasingly portable, easier to use, and affordable. Some of the advantages of these types of employees are as follows:

  • Employees can immediately respond to customers’ needs, as they can access their company data from mobile devices instead of from the office.
  • Businesses can provide 24×7 customer service or establish continuous workflows with employees scattered across time zones.
  • Mobile-based employees can continue working while a company may experience downtime.
  • Less traveling for meetings, as employees can set an appointment using online meeting applications.

Challenges of Traditional Security in Modern Work Environments

Traditional security measures find it hard to adapt to changes in remote and hybrid workplaces. While they can secure internal networks, they fail to protect the new norms of work-from-anywhere setups. Many organizations overlook securing non-web-based applications, relying solely on solutions like Secure Web Gateways (SWGs) or Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASBs), which only cover web-based protocols. This leaves gaps in protection, especially with the surge in shadow IT risks from employees working on insecure home networks and using personal devices.

The rise of polymorphic malware and increasingly sophisticated threats demands a more comprehensive security approach. Remote workers require a seamless, optimized user experience across various locations and applications. However, maintaining consistency poses significant challenges, including:

  • Inconsistent Performance: Applications may run smoothly within an organization’s headquarters, but users might notice slow performance or more latency outside of the office to VPN or a home office.
  • Limited Access Privileges: Users have different access privileges depending on their location. Many users can access almost everything from headquarters. However, from a branch, Wi-Fi hotspot, or somewhere else, there might be restrictions or cumbersome workflows they must follow to access all their applications.
  • Poor Visibility into Activity: Most cloud-delivered security vendors don’t provide enough visibility into the full range of activity on this new extended infrastructure to identify where a problem might lie or provide the right type of remediation for that problem.
  • Traditional WAN Path Selection: Increased WAN use and WAN requirements for security, control, visibility, and performance mean traditional WAN path selection based on Layer 3 metrics and MPLS links do not meet the needs of the current digital environment. MPLS is too expensive, and IPsec VPNs with backhauling to headquarters lead to a poor user experience.

Zero Trust Security Approach

Zero Trust is a term and strategic approach in Cybersecurity that revolutionizes organizational security by eliminating implicit trust and continuously verifying every network transaction. It doesn’t blindly trust users, interfaces, packets, or applications. Instead, it simplifies network security and maximizes effectiveness by eradicating trust in these entities. At its core, Zero Trust operates on the principle of “never trust, always verify.”

Zero Trust architectures have no default trust for any entity, be it users, devices, applications, or sessions, regardless of their traffic origin within corporate networks. Only authorized entities can perform permitted actions. Zero Trust can be implemented through sensors with control capabilities deployed throughout the data center via firewalls or endpoint protection (Georgi, 2020). These sensors oversee critical data segments or microsegments, controlling traffic and inspecting details such as who, what, where, when, and how to safeguard critical data.

Sensor data serves as vital input for machine-learning detection, offering a streamlined approach to traffic control, endpoint protection, and superior solutions compared to traditional security methods.

Zero Trust Concept

Four Important Control Points in the Zero Trust Model

Here are four control points to be secured in the Zero Trust model.

  1. Identity: No matter where the user is located, whether in their corporate office, working from home, or mobile, a Zero Trust environment must confirm them using strong authentication methods, including two-factor authentication.
  2. Device/Workload: A Zero Trust environment must not implicitly trust the device they are using. Laptops, mobile phones, tablets, and other devices cannot simply be assumed to be trusted. The device’s integrity must be verified.
  3. Access: Securing users also includes securing their access to applications, their function within an application, and their access to a file directory. A zero-trust environment must enforce a least-privilege policy that only allows the user to access what they have been specifically approved to access.
  4. Transaction: Every transaction must be analyzed to achieve a complete zero-trust environment. Even when a user accesses a specific application or resource, Zero Trust security solutions must actively scan all content for possible malicious activity and data theft.
Zero Trust Model

Zero Trust With SASE

Today, applications, data, and users are connected everywhere, such as in data centers, clouds, software-as-as-service (SaaS) applications, and so on. Companies are struggling to gain visibility into their applications and data, let alone control and manage the access of those assets. This is where augmenting SASE solutions with Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) helps.

SASE with ZTNA provides security and connectivity with the cloud to offer consistent protection, exceptional user experience, and flexibility. Also, it helps reduce costs associated with deploying security at scale while providing a single, holistic view of the entire network.

Here are more points about why augmenting SASE with ZTNA is necessary.

  1. Provide Secure Uninterrupted Access: More enterprises are leveraging secure access service edge (SASE) solutions to secure uninterrupted access for their branch offices and users.
  2. Deliver Consistent Security and Connectivity: SASE promises consistent security and connectivity no matter where applications, users, or branch offices are located, and ZTNA can augment traditional VPN solutions.
  3. ZTNA With a Single Solution: By combining SASE and the Zero Trust concept, companies can achieve ZTNA with a single solution to control and apply policies across their entire network consistently.

The Need for a New Security Approach

Organizations need a new approach and a better way to provide good security and a good user experience. Here are the requirements for this new approach, where apps live anywhere and people work from anywhere.

This approach must safeguard all application traffic comprehensively. It should extend protection beyond web-based applications to encompass all threats, reflecting the evolving threat landscape.

Moreover, the solution must offer a holistic package of top-tier security features consolidated within a single cloud-based platform. Consistent policies and threat intelligence sharing across the entire ecosystem are central to providing uniform security standards.

Equally important is delivering an exceptional user experience with consistent performance and access levels. Additionally, the solution should enable effective user experience management with guaranteed Service Level Agreements (SLAs).

The approach should integrate capabilities to secure, route, and manage Wide Area Network (WAN) traffic, forming an integral part of a comprehensive Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) solution.

Prisma SASE Solution Secure Digital Transformation

Existing network approaches and technologies no longer provide digital organizations with security and access control levels. Users demand immediate, uninterrupted access, no matter where they are located. Prisma SASE is the Palo Alto Networks cloud-delivered security platform for digital transformation. It is the industry’s most complete SASE solution, able to converge security, simplify SD-WAN technology, and Automate Digital Experience Management into a single cloud-delivered solution.

The Prisma SASE solution structures protect all applications with the highest level of security while optimizing the user experience. It properly integrates services, not just service chains of multiple products, with combined services and visibility for all locations, mobile users, and the cloud. Prisma SASE is developed for cloud and hybrid environments and is cloud-delivered.

Further, it uses many points of presence to reduce latency and supports in-country or in-region resources and regulatory requirements. It goes beyond box-based access support with agent-based capability managed as a cloud service. Network security policy enforcement beyond IP addresses. It uses identity-based and application-based policy enforcement, incorporating real-time conditions such as device type, posture, and location.

Prisma SASE architecture
Gartner Magic Quadrant for Single-Vendor SASE

Recently, Palo Alto Networks Prisma SASE Solution has been recognized as the only Leader in the Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Single-Vendor SASE. Gartner defines single-vendor secure access service edge (SASE) offerings as vendors that deliver multiple converged networks and provide security-as-a-service, such as software-defined WAN, cloud access security broker capabilities, zero-trust network access, secure web gateway, and network firewall. Watch our YouTube videos to learn more about Prisma SASE and how Prisma SASE can help you secure digital transformation. Watch our YouTube video below to learn more about certification.

Related: Palo Alto Networks System Engineer (PSE) – Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) Professional | PSE-SASE Professional Exam

Final Thoughts on Prisma SASE

Prisma SASE by Palo Alto Networks is essential for companies growing into digital workplaces. As organizations adopt mobile technologies, the demand for robust security solutions grows. Prisma SASE addresses these needs by improving on the limitations of traditional security frameworks. Its approach to integrating advanced security measures helps businesses adopt new technologies confidently and securely.

Prisma SASE uses a Zero Trust security model within its architecture to simplify and strengthen security protocols. This approach simplifies the security management process and improves its effectiveness. With comprehensive protection, Prisma SASE helps enterprises handle the challenges of digital transformation while prioritizing security and maintaining an excellent user experience.

References

  1. Georgi, J. (2020, January 6). Zero Trust Network Access: Build Your SASE on a Solid Foundation. Palo Alto Networks. Retrieved September 4, 2023, from https://www.paloaltonetworks.com/blog/2020/01/cloud-zero-trust-network-access/ 
  2. Meyer, D. (2021, August 4). Top challenges for hybrid workforces. Palo Alto Networks. Retrieved September 4, 2023, from https://www.paloaltonetworks.com/blog/sase/2021-hybrid-workforce/ 
  3. 2023 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Single-Vendor SASE. (n.d.). Palo Alto Networks. Retrieved September 4, 2023, from https://start.paloaltonetworks.com/gartner-sase-mq-2023.html 
  4. Prisma SASE. (n.d.). Palo Alto Networks. Retrieved September 4, 2023, from https://www.paloaltonetworks.com/resources/datasheets/prisma-sase 
  5. Understanding Zero Trust. (n.d.). Palo Alto Networks. Retrieved September 4, 2023, from https://www.paloaltonetworks.com/zero-trust 

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