5 Hot Happenings From Palo Alto Networks Ignite 2017

What's New From Palo Alto Networks

Palo Alto Networks looked to up its security game across the board at its Ignite 2017 event in Vancouver, Canada, this week, rolling out new technology products, partnerships and venture capital investments. The investments aim to upend the current security status quo in multiple areas, bringing in new talent and redefining what a security platform should look like. The changes build on a massive update Palo Alto Networks rolled out to its platform earlier this year, adding new features across its full technology set with the PAN-OS 8.0 update. In a Tuesday keynote at the event, Executive Vice President of Product Management Lee Klarich said the changes propel Palo Alto Networks to the next generation of security, one based on platform security and subscription services.

"Security can't stand still. Innovation has to continue," Klarich said. Take a look at five things Palo Alto Networks announced at its event this week.

Palo Alto Networks Application Framework

The new Palo Alto Networks Application Framework will be similar in concept to frameworks offered by vendors such as Salesforce and Amazon Web Services, allowing any security provider to build cloud-based applications on top of the platform. Palo Alto Networks will provide cloud APIs, software services, threat intelligence, infrastructure, data stores and compute to deliver the developed apps to customers. The framework will allow for vendors – including competitors – and partners to build on the Palo Alto Networks platform, bringing new subscription applications that address security needs, according to Klarich. Klarich said he expects some of the categories of applications to be threat intelligence, automation, visualization and analytics.

Palo Alto Networks Venture Fund

To back up the launch of its Application Framework, Palo Alto Networks also unveiled the Palo Alto Networks Venture Fund. The $20 million fund, in collaboration with Greylock Partners and Sequoia Capital, will focus on early stage, seed stage and small startups that plan to build applications on the company's new Application Framework. The venture fund is not only open to ISVs and application developers, but also to partners and customers. In an interview with CRN, Klarich said the fund shows Palo Alto Networks' commitment to its new Application Framework and aims to foster new security innovation.

"We want to make sure if someone has a really great idea that, if possible, nothing gets in the way of seeing that become a reality," Klarich said.

Palo Alto Networks Logging Service

Providing the back end for the Application Framework is the new Palo Alto Networks Logging Service. The service collects logs and network data at a very high rate into a central location, which is operated by Palo Alto Networks. The Logging Service integrates with the company's Panorama centralized management platform for configuration, management and reporting. The significance of the Logging Service, Klarich said, is that it allows for third parties to leverage the high-value log data at scale and build applications on top of it. He said the product is in beta now and the company expects it to be generally available around the beginning of August. Palo Alto Networks also will be launching a European data center at the same time for European customers, he said.

GlobalProtect Cloud Service

Palo Alto Networks also unveiled the GlobalProtect cloud service. The launch allows partners and customers to bring GlobalProtect's traffic visibility, policy enforcement, threat prevention, WildFire and other security capabilities to remote offices and mobile users with a cloud-based service. Palo Alto Networks will manage a multi-tenant, cloud-based infrastructure, and partners or customers can buy the service according to bandwidth requirements. The launch of the GlobalProtect cloud service is a recognition by Palo Alto Networks that more employees are accessing corporate networks outside the traditional perimeter walls, Klarich said. The new service will allow enterprises to bring the same corporate security policies to remote locations and mobile users, he added.

Partnership With Girl Scouts Of The USA

Palo Alto Networks also looked beyond its product portfolio to help solve cybersecurity challenges. The security vendor announced a massive partnership with the Girl Scouts of the USA to create the first-ever national Girl Scout Cybersecurity badges. The badges will help encourage girls from 5 to 18 years old to learn cybersecurity skills. The skills will range from digital safety online to technical cybersecurity skills that could prepare the girls for a career in cybersecurity. The goal of the program, Palo Alto Networks CEO Mark McLaughlin said in a statement, is to bring more women into cybersecurity by introducing them to skills at an early age.

"Our mission to prevent cyberattacks and restore trust in the digital age is only achievable if we make meaningful investments not just in technology but also in people. Our collaboration with Girl Scouts of the USA to develop curriculum for the first-ever national Cybersecurity badges will positively influence the future of our industry by helping build tomorrow's diverse and innovative team of problem solvers equipped to counter emerging cyberthreats," McLaughlin said in a statement.