Palo Alto Networks adds new capabilities around SSPM, URL filtering and AIOps for SASE to Prisma

The key innovations are native integrations of several solutions into the company’s SASE for the first time.

Anand Oswal, senior vice president, Network Security at Palo Alto Networks

Palo Alto Networks has beefed up their Prisma solution to address the growing risk of security concerns resulting from misconfigurations in SaaS apps. This includes the introduction of SaaS Security Posture Management (SSPM) natively integrated into the company’s, secure access service edge [SASE], new ZTNA 2.0 security inspection capabilities which include ML-powered Advanced URL Filtering, and the native integration of AIOps for IT operations [AIOps] into its SASE.

“We are in a situation where hybrid work is now norm,” said Anand Oswal, senior vice president, Network Security at Palo Alto Networks. “The average business has over 115 SaaS applications [according to data from German market research firm Statista]. SaaS misconfiguration is a major security threat. To address this, we have shipped the most exciting innovation we have shipped in a while, in SSPM.”

The introduction of this new version of SSPM comes through the Palo Alto Networks Next-Gen CASB, which lets customers easily view and configure security settings for multiple SaaS apps in a single place.

“Much SSPM is focused around compliance, but our whole value proposition is security and not compliance, and this is embodied in our PRISMA SASE,” Oswal said. “We don’t have a compliance focus. We help remediate misconfigurations with a single click, which reduces configuration by more than 90%.

“What is new for us with SSPM is that it is now being natively integrated for SASE,’ Oswal stated.

This version of Prisma also adds 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.

The Advanced URL Filtering is directed against new, highly evasive phishing attacks, ransomware and other web-based attacks through the use of inline deep learning, rather than a URL database.

‘For decades, security around URL filtering was crawlers on the Internet, which were used to create categories and risk profiles,” Oswal said. ‘Over time, the efficacy of that has reduced, in large part because bad actor URLs now come down very quickly. We can block 11 million more phishing sites with our deep learning.” That translates into preventing 40% more threats and detecting 76% of malicious URLs.

“We are unique there in machine learning URL Filtering,” Oswal noted.

This version of Prisma also adds what Palo Alto Networks terms the only intrusion prevention system [IPS] solution that can stop unknown command-and-control (attacks in real time — 48% more than other IPS solutions. It also natively integrates AIOps into its SASE to significantly reduce manual operations and enable faster troubleshooting.

“This is the industry’s first AIOps solution for SASE, which moves to proactive and predictive operations,” Oswal said.

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 all the SASE announcements,  Palo Alto Networks introduced 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 ports to connect and power endpoints within the local area network. 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.

“These two new hardware appliances will help modernize SMB branches, and allow customers to improve power performance and WAN speeds,” Oswal said. While he acknowledged these types of product are no longer the cutting edge of the company’s business, he pointed out that they still sell well.

“We do see growth in the area,” he noted.