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Challenging Defence in Depth

Ross O. Storey | Dec. 21, 2010
Innovation, delegation and motivation are the key characteristics that Nir Zuk, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, with Palo Alto Networks, believes have contributed most to his business achievements and success.

The other advice I have is, don't try to think you can do everything yourself. If you're a good entrepreneur, you probably cannot be a good CEO. Hire a CEO. If you're a technologist, make sure you have a good marketing person. If you're a good marketing person, make sure you have a good technologist.

What do you see as the major challenges for governments in Asia relating to their adoption of information technology?

Based on my interaction with users and partners in Singapore and rest of Asia, the governments in this region are very open minded to new technology. They are also relatively advance in terms of what they want to achieve for security.      

One of the challenges would be defining the most appropriate risk levels to adopt as the government users embrace the latest technologies. Sometimes it might be better to keep things simple and integrated compared to adding more complexity in the name of doing more.

What is so special about Palo Alto Networks Next Generation Firewall and how does it fit with the current defense in depth thinking that seems to be accepted as a must for enterprises today?

Palo Alto Networks indeed challenges the defense in depth theory. Enterprises today rely on firewalls yet realize that firewalls dont do much because it is a very old technology developed more than 15 years ago.

Modern applications and threats easily circumvent the traditional network firewall so much so that enterprises have deployed an entire crop of firewall helpers to help remedy the situation. But that hasnt really worked. Neither have attempts to bolt application awareness and control onto existing firewall products, or to consolidate firewall helpers with a Unified Threat Management (UTM) device. Applications and threats are still making their way around these so-called solutions, frustrating IT groups that have only managed to incur additional cost and complexity, without fixing the problem.

In reality, legacy firewalls cannot deal with intrusion prevention, spyware, or content filtering. So, the defense in depth theory is really just attempting to help the firewall do its job by adding individual technology that does not offer a complete solution.

Traditional firewall devices do not protect against Web 2.0 threats such as social networking, online games, peer-to-peer applications, storage backup applications, etc. However, Palo Alto Networks takes all of these key functionalities and collapses them into one single high speed device, extending network security, not just on the web and email, but also to all other Web 2.0 applications.

What do you think will be the state of the threat environment in the next year or so? Are digital security specialists winning the war against the black hats and hackers? How can they be properly combated?


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