Cyberattacks are growing at an unprecedented pace, keeping pace with digitization across businesses. According to ‘Global Cybersecurity Outlook 2022’ by World Economic Forum, each firm faced an average of 270 attempts in this digital economy in 2021. It also reported that every successful cyber breach resulted in a $ 3.6 million loss on average to the hacked company last year.
As enterprises grow and expand to multiple locations, attackers often target the smaller or more vulnerable locations for their sophisticated attacks. Businesses need to ensure that every location is equipped with high-level security. One of the essential frontline cybersecurity measures is the installation of a firewall.
Cybercriminals target the least secure computers on a network to compromise. As a firewall monitors all the network traffic, it can identify and block undesirable traffic. Depending on your requirements, cybersecurity vendors provide a wide range of firewalls.
About Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFWs)
Next-generation firewalls (NGFWs) is a network security device that combines features of a traditional, stateful firewall with advanced capabilities for deep packet inspection.
Along with stateful inspection of incoming and outgoing network traffic enables it to filter traffic, these firewalls ensure integrated intrusion prevention, single-console access, advanced malware detection, and so on.
NGFWs that inspect applications for real-time protection are becoming widely popular. The choice of a firewall for your business depends on several factors, including the form factor of your appliance. Form factors become an important parameter during the deployment of firewalls in small offices or other workplaces with limited space.
Keeping this in mind, Palo Alto Networks, a US-based cybersecurity firm, introduced the first-ever machine learning (ML) powered PA-400 Series NGFWs. It ensures high performance at smaller work locations in homes and offices without compromising enterprise network security.
This article discusses why network security teams must choose the PA-400 series for their hybrid workforce in a modern-day distributed setup.
Why Is Palo Alto PA-400 Series Firewall So Popular?
PA-400 Series is highly popular among organizations like hospitals, banks, retailers, etc. Palo Alto PA-400 Series NGFWs come in four different models, namely, PA-460, PA-450, PA-440 and PA-410.
These advanced security NGFWs by Palo Alto offer a low total cost of ownership (TCO) and easy deployment with automatic configuration in small spaces and remote locations due to their compact desktop form factor.
These features enable zero-trust network security, allowing organizations and employees to operate from anywhere. Five key reasons to pick PA-400 Firewall Series over other are:
In practice, it is often seen that a product that performs well with raw TCP/UDP traffic may not work well with security inspection enabled. However, the PA-400 series provides complete visibility into encrypted traffic and delivers high performance.
You can choose the model that offers a wide range of performance depending upon your business needs, starting from PA-410 to PA-460.
- Security Consolidation
PA-400 series enables organizations to merge all their security requirements in a single firewall platform at each location. Businesses do not have compatibility issues due to disparate security tools.
Instead, they can use the firewall for IoT security, threat prevention, advanced URL filtering, wildfire malware prevention, DNS security, and many other security services.
- Unique Industrial Design
The firewall series has specific features to mitigate failures when users work remotely. The fan-less cooling design makes the firewall resilient and quiet, which decreases the need for frequent servicing.
Dual power supplies in Palo Alto models ensure that an alternative power supply is available in case of outage due to one and there is no a single point of failure. You can select from different mounting options like rackmounts, wall mounts, and desktops as per your needs.
- Operating System
The latest version of PAN operating system, PAN-OS 10.1, is the controlling element for PA-400 Series NGFWs. It natively classifies all traffic, including threats, applications, and content. The device type or location of the user does not affect the monitoring.
It also has features like policy optimizer, credential phishing prevention, etc. PAN-OS 10.1 has a cloud identity engine consisting of a cloud authentication service for user authentication and directory sync for user information.
This incorporation helps businesses create security policies and uniformly configure them across all locations to reduce incident response times and improve security posture.
PA-400 series is available at competitive prices, yet it efficiently protects enterprises against both known and unknown threats. Hence, you can have an elevated level of security at all locations without spending too much money.
How Does Palo Alto Firewall PA-400 Series Improve Security Performance?
The PA-400 NGFW products centralize the management and simplify visibility and security for small businesses, branch offices, retail locations, etc. Unlike traditional NGFWs with add-on options, the products use single-pass architecture to improve security performance.
Organizations can ensure security even as traffic volumes continue to grow. They do not have to turn off security or backhaul traffic to a centralized place for inspection as high performance is ensured even at the largest load with multiple enabled services.
In single-pass architecture, there are no redundant functions, and the parallel processing system uses one scan to apply all elements of threat protection. The processing load to perform several functions in one device decreases.
When all packets are processed, policy lookup, networking, policy application and decoding, signature matching for all content and threats are performed. You can scan traffic for all signatures in one pass by using stream-based, uniform signature matching to avoid latency.
Palo Alto PA-400 Series Vs. Other Firewalls: What to Choose?
PA-400 Series can deliver higher performance and security at a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) than other firewalls for deployment across branch offices, cloud environments and data centers.
This outcome was proved by performance testing performed by the independent testing firm Miercom. In this third-party test, the performance of the PA-400 Series was evaluated against other vendor solutions that had similar pricing and positioning for similar use cases (like the Fortinet FG series).
The company used Ixia BreakingPoint PerfectStorm tool to mimic real-life scenarios in branch offices and small businesses. They pushed a real-world load onto each platform vis an 8 x 10 Gig-E line card.
The main findings from the performance validation test report are:
- Application Traffic Performance
The performance degradation for Palo Alto NGFW platforms was not as high and had an average of 24 percent decline in TCP sessions on single application tests for SIP, MySQL, etc., when security services were enabled.
Other firewalls had 82 percent average degradation or more than three times the loss. The connection rate had a decline of 11 percent for the PA-400 series compared to other firewalls, which witnessed up to 92 percent drop.
When security services were enabled in the test, the throughput was up to 6.6 times higher for the PA-400 series when compared to other firewalls due to single-pass architecture. The firm did this testing across several parameters, including application traffic.
- TCO (Total Cost of Ownership)
The cost per protected Mbps (throughput) for the PA-400 series was 9.4 times lower than other firewalls like those from Fortinet. The TCO for PA-400 series was in a range of INR 304.27 to INR 745.41 per protected Mbps.
The vendor’s range was from INR 1532.49 to INR 6222.93 per protected Mbps. Hence, PA-400 guaranteed a better performance for a lower cost with services enabled.
- PA-400 Series vs. the Previous Generation
PA-400 series can offer up to 10 times better performance than the previous generation of Palo Alto products when security services and decryption are enabled.
Palo Alto’s latest NGFWs can reboot up to five times faster than previous generations. This speed decreases the maintenance time.
PA-400 firewall series has enterprise-grade security like previous generation firewalls but is specifically optimized for remote locations with features like in-built power redundancy and fanless design to reduce maintenance costs. It has a compact form factor for easy deployment across thousands of locations.
If you want high network security across all your business locations without compromising performance, you should check out PA-400 Series NGFWs. Based on the use case, two subscription bundles are available: the Professional or PRO bundle and the Enterprise or ENT bundle.
The ENT bundle is for those who want all PRO bundle features and additional features to support businesses with OT/IoT devices in their network. It also works well for those who have deployed a hybrid network with SaaS apps.