Palo Alto Networks Strengthens Its Protection for SaaS Applications

With hybrid work well established as the norm for the post-pandemic workforce and vast amounts of sensitive data now stored in SaaS apps, the risk of SaaS misconfiguration poses a serious security threat to businesses. According to Statista, as of 2021 the average business now has over 110 SaaS applications (apps) that must be secured.

Misconfigurations in SaaS apps are a common problem. To address this, Palo Alto Networks announced new innovations in Prisma SASE that enable customers to identify and remediate misconfigurations in SaaS apps using SaaS Security Posture Management (SSPM) capabilities.

“SaaS apps have given organizations the freedom to have their workforce work from wherever they are most productive. The vast amounts of sensitive data being created, held, and shared via SaaS applications, however, expose a serious risk of data breach due to SaaS misconfiguration. Simply put, the world needs a SASE solution that can manage the configuration and security of SaaS applications,” said Anand Oswal, senior vice president, Network Security at Palo Alto Networks. “With today’s Prisma SASE updates, we are significantly strengthening the security posture of SaaS apps through the Palo Alto Networks Next-Gen CASB, which allows customers to easily view and configure security settings for multiple SaaS apps in a single place.”

In addition to SSPM, the company announced new ZTNA 2.0 security inspection capabilities, including ML-powered Advanced URL Filtering and Advanced Threat Prevention as well as the industry’s first natively integrated artificial intelligence for IT operations (AIOps) solution for SASE, simplifying networking and security operations for customers.

The full set of product announcements are:

  • SaaS Security Posture Management (SSPM): Powered by Palo Alto Networks Next-Gen CASB, the SaaS Security Posture Management capabilities go beyond CIS and NIST compliance checks and move to comprehensive security, allowing customers to configure security settings for multiple SaaS apps in one location. In an effort to reduce remediation time, SSPM can help fix misconfigurations with a single click and helps prevent configuration drift by allowing users to lock critical security settings in place.
  • Advanced URL Filtering: Prevents new, highly evasive phishing attacks, ransomware and other web-based attacks through the use of inline deep learning, rather than a URL database — preventing 40% more threats and detecting 76% of malicious URLs up to a full day before traditional web filtering solutions.
  • Advanced Threat Prevention: Provides the only intrusion prevention system (IPS) solution that can stop unknown command-and-control (C2) attacks in real time — 48% more than other IPS solutions. New capabilities bring security analysis from “offline” to “inline” using machine learning techniques — improving detection rates for zero-day threats without sacrificing performance.
  • AIOps for SASE: Palo Alto Networks natively integrated AIOps into its secure access service edge to significantly reduce manual operations and enable faster troubleshooting. AIOps for SASE provides automated root cause analysis, rapid problem remediation and guided best practice adoption. Predictive analytics enable more efficient capacity planning and anomaly detection, preventing business disruptions. A simple query-based interface empowers the IT service desk with automated troubleshooting and change analysis.

In addition to these software enhancements, Palo Alto Networks is introducing new hardware appliances — ION 1200-S and ION 3200 — to help organizations modernize their small to midsize branches. These new appliances include a fully integrated switch and Power over Ethernet (PoE) ports to connect and power endpoints within the local area network. Additionally, integrated WAN capabilities like 5G and LTE on the ION 1200-S and fiber ports on the ION 3200 allow customers to improve WAN availability, performance and speed. ION 1200-S and ION 3200 can help significantly reduce operational complexity by eliminating multiple point products while providing power redundancy with a built-in dual power supply that ensures network uptime and consistent connectivity.

“As one of the largest cinema chains and theme park operators in Australia, we started our journey with Palo Alto Networks by deploying Prisma SD-WAN to improve the reliability and throughput of our WAN connections,” said Michael Fagan, chief transformation officer, Village Roadshow. “Since then, we have added Prisma Access to complete our SASE architecture and secure both our remote locations and our hybrid employees. We are pleased to see the introduction of 5G and PoE switching into the Prisma SD-WAN appliances to help us further consolidate our branch infrastructure, and simplify our operations with AIOps for SASE. Our team loves the fact that they no longer need to remember usernames, pins, passcodes, tokens and have different multi-factor authentication apps. Performance and uptime has improved to allow our staff to continue working without disruption to services, thereby reducing the amount of calls through to our service desk team.”

“Protecting sensitive data, especially data in SaaS applications, is paramount for us. As we continued to utilise more cloud services we knew we needed to implement a SASE framework and provide Zero Trust Network Access to protect our users and applications,” said Simon Hibbert, general manager of IT, Chemist Warehouse Group. Implementing Prisma SASE has enabled our employees to do their jobs more efficiently, and enabled new ways for us to engage with our customers. Not only has it improved our security posture, but it also provides highly reliable and smooth connectivity.”

“The usage of SaaS applications continues to expand at a faster rate than security teams can keep pace with. As more applications are introduced and ownership becomes distributed across organizations, the risk of misconfigurations grows, which increases the likelihood for security incidents to occur. A SASE solution like Prisma SASE by Palo Alto Networks provides a logical consolidation point for all the capabilities needed for complete SaaS security, including SSPM. However, functionality cannot be sacrificed for efficiency,” said John Grady, ESG senior analyst. “Palo Alto Networks provides comprehensive SaaS security through its security-focused SSPM capabilities coupled with comprehensive application coverage and a history of analytics-led threat prevention.”