Palo Alto Networks extends AWS relationship to enhance firewall scalability

Palo Alto Networks sees its adaption to the new age of cloud security as fundamental, and has been doing what it can to keep its channel partners moving in tandem on this objective.


Frank Mong, head of product, solution and industry marketing for Palo Alto Networks

Next-gen firewall vendor Palo Alto Networks has enhanced their relationship with Amazon Web Services [AWS]. They have passed the AWS requirements to join the AWS Competency Program for Security. This also allows them to integrate their VM-Series virtualized next-generation firewalls with AWS Auto Scaling and Elastic Load Balancing [ELB], enhancing the firewalls’ scalability.

Palo Alto has been available on AWS before, but not integrated in this way, said Frank Mong, head of product, solution and industry marketing for Palo Alto Networks.

“This is not our first run at it, and we have been on AWS for a couple of years, but it is the first time we have gone through the rigour to get the critical design framework approved in AWS’ Competency Program,” Mong said. “We are now announcing that we are AWS competent. They beat the crap out of our technology – from everything from the user interface to technical integrations. They made us improve it, and that really helped us improve the solution overall.”

Mong indicated that customer requests were behind the move.

“We do what customers tell us is important to them,” he said “We’ve seen hockey stick growth in this space. AWS has a lot of mature tools and systems that are geared to secure-minded organizations. We work with Microsoft Azure as well, and Azure is aggressively catching up, but there is still greater maturity of available toolsets with AWS.”

With the expanded AWS relationship, joint Palo Alto and AWS customers are able to automatically scale the cyber breach prevention capabilities of the Palo Alto Networks platform to meet fluctuating AWS demand, using a combination of AWS Lambda, CloudFormation Templates, and Amazon CloudWatch services, along with bootstrapping and XML API automation features supported by the VM-Series.

“For partners, this is incredibly important,” Mong said. “Our own technology has transformed to put us in the cloud. Resellers have to understand these transformative changes, including serverless architecture, which is the next stage. This is the age of cloud security, and it is a transformative event like the internet itself This is especially important for resellers that address the SMB, where their customers count on them to be the trusted advisors. They must be able to do this. They need to go to their vendor partners, ask for training and advance around cloud security and be there to help customers transform, which has always been the value of partners.”

Mong said that Palo Alto has been aggressively moving its partners in that direction.

“Our responsibility to our partners is to make sure they are trained and have the knowledge to become experts. Just as we have trained our own sales organization, we have trained our partners, making sure they are empowered. That’s first and foremost.”

Many of Palo Alto’s partners are successfully making this transition into the cloud security age as a result.

“A lot of our partners have grown up with us, and these same partners are moving with us into the hybrid cloud environment, which is how it will be for the next 5-10 years,” Mong stated. “Partners who have been with us this entire time have a great opportunity to move with us into the cloud security world. We are actively seeking out new cloud partners because we are learning too, and we can learn more about the cloud from them. They are the first movers and pioneers.”