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Focusing on cloud, partners, acquisitions to grow in India: Palo Alto Networks’ Carter

Focusing on cloud, partners, acquisitions to grow in India: Palo Alto Networks’ Carter
Keith Carter

US-based cybersecurity solutions provider Palo Alto Networks is now focusing on cloud-based delivery of solutions, channel partners and acquisitions to cater to markets like India in the Asia-Pacific region, a top executive said.

“We have been focusing on cloud-based delivery of solutions because it is agile, scalable and easily deployable for our customers at various locations,” Keith Carter, vice-president of channels for the Asia-Pacific region, said, adding that the digital transformation wave in Indian enterprises represents a significant market opportunity for the company.

In order to bolster its cloud security services and boost its efficiency in delivering cybersecurity services via cloud, the company has been making acquisitions at a rampant pace, seven in the last 12 months including Bengaluru- and US-based cloud threat defence company RedLock, Carter said.

In March last year, the company acquired public cloud security and compliance startup Evident.io for $300 million in an all-cash transaction. This acquisition was done to extend Palo Alto Networks’ API-based security capabilities, Carter said.

“The integrated offering now allows customers to use a single approach to continuous monitoring, storage security, and compliance validation and reporting. This will give security, DevOps and compliance teams unique capabilities for developing and deploying new applications in the cloud faster, simplify developer and security operations to speed up deployments without sacrificing security and continuous validation of cloud deployments,” he explained.

In October last year, Palo Alto Networks had acquired RedLock for $173 million in an all-cash deal. Carter said that the RedLock acquisition was to provide customers with cloud security, analytics, threat detection and compliance monitoring via a single service or offering.

“The integrated offering will allow security teams to respond faster to the most critical threats by replacing manual investigations with automated, real-time remediation and reports that highlight an organisation's cloud risks,” he explained.

During the time of the acquisition, the company had said that it served more than 6,000 cloud customers globally with its cloud security portfolio that includes VM-Series next-generation firewall, Aperture, Evident, and GlobalProtect cloud service. 

In March this year, the company acquired a US-based cybersecurity firm called Demisto that specialises in security orchestration, automation and response for $560 million in a cash-and-stock deal.

According to Carter, Demisto’s acquisition plays an important role in the security operations centres of enterprises and also accelerates the company’s application framework strategy. Palo Alto Networks’ application framework is an ecosystem that allows third parties to build security apps on its data and security tools.

“Demisto's automated playbooks have helped reduce alerts that require human review by as much as 95%, allowing security teams to focus on the most complex threats,” he explained, adding that the approach was to bring the company closer to the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to further automate significant security areas for a customer.

In May this year, the company, continuing its pace of acquisitions, announced its intent to buy two entities: Container security firm Twistlock for $410 million in cash, and serverless security provider PureSec. 

While Twistlock has the ability to monitor and protect cloud-native applications and workloads, PureSec enables its customers to build and maintain secure and reliable serverless applications, which is trending especially with the advent of Internet of Things (IoT).

According to Carter, the acquisitions will integrate into the company’s Prisma cloud security suite. The company’s four platforms include Prisma Access, Prisma Public Cloud, Prisma SaaS and VM-Series.

While Prisma Access helps in securing IT architecture in branch offices, Prisma Public Cloud provides security to the customer’s multi-cloud deployments. Prisma SaaS is a cloud access security broker service that provides advanced threat prevention, risk discovery, data-loss prevention, user behaviour and compliance checks.

On the other hand, VM-series is a virtualised form factor of the company’s next-generation firewall that can function both in public as well as private cloud environments. Palo Alto Networks supports Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure, Google Cloud Platform, Oracle and Alibaba.

Interestingly, Carter also said that the acquisitions were also a part of the company’s plan to target the entire IT infrastructure of an enterprise and not develop disparate solutions.

“What we have today are disparate solutions that don’t talk to each other, which makes the life of an IT administrator very difficult. Our effort through acquisitions has been to target the entire IT infrastructure of a company so that he can take one solution for all his needs,” the vice-president explained.

Speaking about the company’s strategy to market its products in India and the Asia-Pacific, Carter said that the company was taking the channel partner route and is working with consultancy firms such as PwC, KPMG, Accenture, Deloitte, IBM and NTT.

“While on the network side of our business, partners are working more independently due to the momentum that we have, the other areas of business are being driven by proof-of-concepts or PoCs (prototypes). The number of PoCs are going up like anything in the region,” he said, adding that more than 50% of PoCs result in some conversion.  

He also said that enterprises were gaining more maturity about cybersecurity and were thinking of dropping legacy infrastructure so that they can make space for Palo Alto Networks’ solutions.

The company, which is focusing on sectors such as financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, IT/ITeS, government and telecom in India, has more than 62,000 customers in over 150 countries across multiple industries including 85 of the Fortune 100 companies.

Asked about the company’s strategy to target enterprises of all sizes, Carter said that all its products were priced-based on throughput and speed, enabling every organisation starting from a firm born in the cloud to a large enterprise to buy its solutions.

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