Palo Alto Networks Launches Aperture To Secure Sanctioned Software-As-A-Service Applications

Palo Alto Networks has made its next big addition to its security platform, announcing Tuesday the general availability of Aperture, a solution to secure sanctioned Software-as-a-Service applications.

Delivered as a security-as-a-service complement to Palo Alto Networks' Next-Generation Firewall, Aperture is designed to solve the security challenges around sanctioned SaaS applications like Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, Salesforce and more. As more of these applications move into the cloud, Aperture provides visibility, user analysis and control over the data in those applications to maintain data policies and prevent advanced threats, according to Palo Alto Networks.

The capabilities are a direct result of Palo Alto Networks' integration of its May acquisition of CirroSecure. Terms of that deal were not disclosed at the time.

[Related: Here's What Innovations To Expect From Palo Alto Networks In The Coming Months]

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At the company's Sales Kick Off last month when the solution was previewed, partners said that their customers have been asking for exactly this type of solution for quite some time. That is especially true, they said, as more clients move to the cloud and, as a result, more of them are paying attention to infrastructure and the security of the cloud.

"There's huge demand for SaaS security solutions," said Andy Segal, president, Albertson, N.Y. -based Vandis. "We haven’t had any direct experience in the field, but from everything we learned about it, ... it’s a very interesting approach and we think that our users are going to be very receptive to it."

Specific features of the new offering include complete visibility into user, folder and file activity; retroactive analysis and control of data and threat exposure; deep content inspection and usage analytics; granular policy control; and advanced threat protection. The solution is also fully integrated with Palo Alto Networks' WildFire offering.

For partners already using the Palo Alto Networks platform, those additional capabilities and key integrations mean they can bring more value to clients by layering on additional security features, Todd Palmer, vice president, Americas channels, said in an interview with CRN at the company's Sales Kick Off event.

"If you're selling the platform and you've bought into the value and the strategy around prevention, then these are natural extensions to that," Palmer said. "If you've sold [the customer] on that vision and the value of Palo Alto Networks, ... it's just an added thing that [partners] can go back in and sell to their customers."

More important, Palmer said, partners who can add features such as Aperture easily on top of clients' existing security solution offers will differentiate themselves in the marketplace and help clients make the most of their investments.

"If you have a differentiated offering in the marketplace, then you command a higher premium and you're going to win a lot more of your opportunities. Aperture and [endpoint security solution] Traps -- it's core to that and you have to be able to do that," Palmer said.

Aperture is available immediately for authorized partners in North America and will be available to partners in EMEA and APAC in the first half of 2016.