Palo Alto Networks CEO Nikesh Arora On The ‘Revenge Of The CFO,’ the ChatGPT ‘Boon’ And AI-Based Network Security
Palo Alto Networks CEO Nikesh Arora sounds off on the increased scrutiny by CFOs on security deals, the ChatGPT ‘boon’ and the next evolution of the company’s SASE offering with AI ‘throughout the entire network security stack.’
Palo Alto Networks CEO Nikesh Arora says the time is right for partners to make the cloud security platform powerhouse with a full-fledged “best-of-breed” stack their partner of choice.
“I think the time is now for our partners to make a bet on Palo Alto Networks and make sure that we become their partner of choice,” said Arora in a 45-minute Best of Breed (BoB) virtual interview with CRN Vice President, U.S. Content, Executive Editor Jennifer Follett and Executive Editor News Steven Burke.
With the breadth and depth of the Palo Alto Networks portfolio running the gamut from cloud security to SASE to the new AI-based Cortex Security Operations Platform, Palo Alto Networks is in a unique position to offer a best-of-breed security stack, said Arora.
“We are now part of 13 leadership positions in [Gartner] Magic Quadrants and alike and if you are going to consolidate, then you want best of breed as well as you want it to work together,” said Arora. “So I think we have the unique opportunity right now to be able to offer our customers best-of-breed security. At the same time, we do that in a comprehensive consolidated fashion where things work together.”
Arora’s comments come as Palo Alto Networks joined the prestigious “Leaders” quadrant for security service edge vendors with the release of the 2023 Gartner Magic Quadrant for security service edge (SSE) vendors.
“At the end of the day, five years ago we were a firewall company,” said Arora. “We sold firewalls and our traditional customer was a network architecture team or the infrastructure team. What has happened is we have transformed our business to be more cloud-first, more cloud-enabled, more participatory in the transformation process, more in the SOC [Security Operations Center].”
Arora said Palo Alto Networks’ channel commitment starts at the top with his own pledge to work with partners to close deals in the sales trenches.
“I’m very happy to go visit customers with our partners,” he said. “We sort of double team and tag team them. You go to the customer and say, ‘Listen, the two of us can give you this amazing capability and give you some comfort in the transformation that you’re undertaking because the both of us together are going to minimize risk for you.’”
At the same time, Arora urged partners to up their services game. “I think the partners need to keep working on their services muscle,” he said. “I think it’s not been a muscle that has been required in the past, but now every customer of meaningful scale and size requires the partners to have services capability, and that requires them to understand our products, understand the technology, understand the customer’s need, and find a way of not just being able to get them the product, but actually implement the product and get them a great security outcome.”