Palo Alto Networks Steps Up Endpoint Security Game With Certification Of Traps As AV Replacement

Palo Alto Networks is stepping up its next-generation endpoint security game, with the announcement Tuesday that its Traps technology has received third-party PCI and HIPAA certification as a replacement for legacy antivirus.

Coalfire Systems, a Qualified Security Assessor, completed an independent analysis of Traps, including technical testing, design review, architecture and supporting documentation, and expert interviews, and found the advanced endpoint protection offering allows organizations to meet or remain compliant with HIPAA and PCI regulations around endpoint security.

The announcement is significant for Traps, because with it the technology joins the few next-generation endpoint security solutions that are certified as an antivirus replacement, including SentinelOne and Cylance. Sources told CRN that Palo Alto Networks had eyed at least one of those companies, SentinelOne, for acquisition in recent months.

[Related: CRN Exclusive: Palo Alto Networks CEO On Security Platform Evolution And When Partners Can Expect Traps To Take Off]

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’Earning compliance was the last piece we needed, and with this announcement, objections based on requirements around compliance standards are addressed and partners can position Traps as a viable replacement for legacy antivirus solutions. The endpoint market is at an inflection point and together, with our partners, we are poised to capitalize,’ Dal Gemmell, head of Traps marketing at Palo Alto Networks, said in an email to CRN.

Jon Robinson, president of Digital Scepter, an Irvine, Calif.-based Palo Alto Networks partner, said the launch is significant because it ’unlocks’ customers who need antivirus solutions, but are looking for a better alternative than legacy solutions. Robinson said his business has been seeing strong traction for Traps, but he expects the certification will make it an ’easier sell’ to customers who have a dedicated budget for AV and can now put that money towards a certified alternative like Traps.

’This is definitely a watershed moment because people have this latent desire to get rid of AV… Everyone has been waiting for this moment where they can get Traps and AV in the same product,’ Robinson said.

Palo Alto Networks has been looking to make a play in the endpoint security market since its $200 million acquisition of Cyvera in 2014, which it now sells as its Traps solution. While multiple partners said they have seen slow sales or been hesitant to sell the solution, CEO Mark McLaughlin said the company has hit an ’inflection point’ when it comes to Traps and saw ’really great growth’ in the second half of its fiscal year.

In addition to the new independent analysis, Palo Alto Networks rolled out version 3.4 updates to Traps in August, including static analysis via machine learning, trusted publisher identification, quarantine of malicious executables, and grayware classification.

Andrew Nowinski, senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray, said the new certification gives Palo Alto Networks the opportunity to address a much larger market for enterprise endpoint security, and potentially displace legacy antivirus vendors like McAfee and Symantec. That certification, combined with the version 3.4 updates rolled out this summer, could be a ’game changer’ for Palo Alto Networks in the endpoint security market where it has been slower to gain traction, he said.

’It certainly was slow prior to that because incremental purchase for customers…It really wasn’t much of a viable solution. Now you have more capabilities, you have the certification and I think you will start to see it gaining traction really quickly,’ Nowinski said.

Gemmell said he expects the new certification will ’remove the hurdle’ for customers looking to adopt Traps, but have faced regulatory compliance standards.

’This announcement continues the momentum and increases market awareness that Traps, with its unique multi-method approach to threat prevention and native integration with the Palo Alto Networks next-generation security platform, provides a viable solution for partners looking for an effective alternative to legacy AV solutions,’ Gemmell said.