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Prisma Access by Palo Alto Networks Valuable Features

Partha Dash - PeerSpot reviewer
Global Network Tech Lead at a computer software company with 10,001+ employees

The Prisma Access remote side is pretty good with respect to the footprint that it covers. Because it is built on the Google platform, using the Google Premium Tier network, it is almost everywhere geographically. From wherever we initiate a connection, it connects with the nearest point of presence, which minimizes the latency. And we can access applications wherever they are hosted.

It protects all app traffic so that users can gain access to all apps. Unlike other solutions that only work from ports 80 and 443, which are predominantly for web traffic, Prisma Access covers all protocols and works on all traffic patterns. It is not only confined to web traffic. This is important because security is something that should always be baked in, rather than being an afterthought. The most sophisticated attacks can arise from sources that are not behind 80/443. They could come through bit-torrent traffic, which uses a non-standard port, altogether. We want to cover off those possibilities. We were very sure, from the start of our deployment when conducting PoCs, that the solution we picked should have coverage for all ports and protocols.

The fact that it secures not just web-based apps, but non-web apps as well, is important because the threat landscape is quite big. It not only includes public-facing applications that are accessible via web protocols, but it also includes many attacks that are being generated through non-standard protocols, like DNS tunneling and newly-registered domain control names. There are also a lot of critical applications being accessed on a point-to-point basis, and they might be vulnerable if those ports and protocols are not being inspected. You need to have the right security controls so that your data remains protected all the time.

In terms of the solution's ease-of-use, once you understand the way the various components stitch together, and once the effort of the initial configuration, setup, and rollout are done and you have set up the policies correctly, you're just monitoring certain things and you do not have to touch a lot of components. That makes it easy to manage a distributed workforce like ours in which there are 10,000-plus users. With all those users, we only have a handful of people, five to seven individuals, who are able to gracefully manage it, because the platform is easy to use. It does take considerable effort to get up to speed in configuring things during the initial deployment, but thereafter it is just a case of monitoring and it's very easy to manage.

In addition, whether traffic is destined for a public cloud environment, or for a private data center, or you are accessing east-west traffic, you can apply the same security policies and posture, and maintain the same sort of segmentation. Prisma Cloud offers threat prevention, URL filtering, and DNS protection, and east-west traffic segmentation. These features are the foundation of any security stack. There are two primary purposes for this kind of solution, in the big picture. One of them is handling the performance piece, providing ease of access for end-users, and the second is that it should handle security. All of these components are foundational to the security piece, not only to protect against insider threats but to protect things from the outside as well.

Prisma Access offers security on all ports and protocols. It covers the stack pretty well, leaving no stones unturned. The same unified protection is applied, irrespective of where you access things from or what you access. That also makes it a very compelling solution.

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TejasJain - PeerSpot reviewer
Sr. Cloud Security Architect at a computer software company with 10,001+ employees

The model itself is great. It is a managed firewall. If you look at it purely from a technical standpoint, it is a globally distributed and managed firewall platform that sits on top of Google Cloud and AWS. It has a global presence, and that is one of the most important things because this particular client for whom I was building this design has a presence across the globe, including China, where there are few constraints. Its presence and performance are super awesome. 

It is a natural transition from Palo Alto Next-Gen firewalls. Of course, people who would be managing this platform need some knowledge transfer and training, but it is not a huge leap. That's the beauty of it.

It is geographically dispersed, and it sits on top of Google and AWS platforms. Therefore, you don't face the standard issues, such as latency or bandwidth issues, that you usually face in the case of on-prem data centers.

It is fairly simple in terms of administration. It is derived from Palo Alto Next-Gen firewalls that have been in the market for more than a decade. It has evolved from Palo Alto Next-Gen firewalls, and there is only the difference of naming convention. The web interface and the way of managing things are fairly easy.  

It does whatever they're promising about this particular product. It has all the features that they say. We are leveraging quite a few features, and there are not many features that we are not using. All the features work the way they say. 

Whatever we've configured is working as promised in terms of security, and I'm fairly certain about the security that it provides. From the security aspect, I would rate it a 10 out of 10.

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Max Islam - PeerSpot reviewer
Associate Director at Cognizant

At the end of the day, the most valuable feature of Prisma Access is user accessibility and performance. For us, it all comes down to how well this product performs.

In addition to that, we feel that the security is absolutely spot-on, really top-notch. It's the result of all the components that come together, such as the HIP [Host Information Profile] and components like Forcepoint, providing end-user content inspection, and antivirus. It incorporates DLP features and that's fantastic because Prisma Access makes sure that all of the essential prerequisites are in place before a user can log in or can be tunneled into. Until these requirements are met at a satisfactory level, it doesn't let you in. Once users are onboarded, they are going through Palo Alto's firewall inspection. Users' traffic is encapsulated and inspected well. It gives us the flexibility to apply various policies and inspections. All of these come into play and give us peace of mind that this platform is best-in-class in terms of security features and tool integration.

The architecture is essentially a fabric-type SASE-based architecture. From a technical leadership standpoint, we are very pleased and satisfied with how efficient the product is, especially, again, when it comes to security.

One of the features that we really like in Prisma Access is its integration capabilities with Palo Alto's other platforms such as Cortex Data Lake. The best thing about it is that it gives us visibility and clarity. We can say, "This is what our threat metrics framework looks like. Yesterday we had this many potential threats, and out of that, this many have been fended off or mitigated." It gives us a really good single pane of glass that tells us what our attack surface looks like and how things have been mitigated." It gives us data that we can utilize for the benefit of our users and our senior executives.

From a user standpoint, it's very easy and very usable. Our users have used F5's products and it's not much different. There can be intricacies in that you have to have your laptops' antivirus protection updated, but that's not a big deal. Those are the types of things that users have to comply with anyway.

Traffic analysis, threat prevention, URL filtering, and segmentation are some of the features that come with Palo Alto itself. On the cloud controller platforms you have the ability to enforce controls, including things like the application layer inspection, granular policy constructs, as well as app-ID-based and application layer inspection. The inspection engines, such as the antivirus, malware, spyware, and vulnerability protection, are integrated into Palo Alto's cloud services platform. These features are quintessential to our entire cloud services security fabric. Users are users. You never know what's going to happen to a user. If somebody goes to Madagascar or to Bali and gets compromised, it is our job to protect that user and the organization. All of these interrelated features come into play for those purposes.

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Buyer's Guide
Prisma Access by Palo Alto Networks
June 2022
Learn what your peers think about Prisma Access by Palo Alto Networks. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: June 2022.
610,812 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Senior Network / ITOps Engineer at a leisure / travel company with 201-500 employees

I don't think we have actually fully utilised all the functions of Prisma yet. The main concept of Prisma Access is what really help us to transition our infrastructure from a legacy and complex approach to a more simple and easy to manage and maintain one.

Prisma Access has three major components / connections: 

- Remote connections: The links to the Remote Offices 

- Mobile Users 

- Service Connections : The links to the Data Centers. 

You connect everything by establishing VPN tunnels with the Prisma Access Infrastructure. Prisma is now the “brain” of the infrastructure. All edge devices send all traffic to Prisma and Prisma has the knowledge to route the traffic to the correct destination. In addition you can also apply all the additional security features a NGFW can offer. 

Since this is a cloud platform you can easily scale up adding more mobile users or new remote offices. Prisma will simple auto-run (if needed) additional instances in the cloud to support your load 

Also,  because everything's on the cloud, we don't have to worry about patching; we get all the new features as they come in. One of the biggest problems for us used to be to upgrade our VPN application. Now, it can be done with a click of a button. The administrative overhead has been reduced, and we are able to focus on things that actually matter.

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Senior Network Consultant at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees

Being able to use the user ID or Active Directory Group is one of the great features for control and providing more flexibility without worrying about IP addresses. 

Prisma Access has a lot of other features. Instead of VPN, its gateway is able to decrypt traffic and, potentially, inspect it. This feature is more likely to be used by companies using Websense or a proxy server. Prisma Access or Prisma VPN has merged VPN, firewall, and some of the Websense-type and proxy functions. This means that four or five components have become one now.

The solution also protects all app traffic, meaning that users can access all apps. All traffic is sent through the Prisma devices. Even a user who reaches Office 365 with a load closed location is still controlled by the VPN boxes, and from the security and network perspectives, we can still see all of the traffic, meaning everything is under control.

In addition, there is something called Pre-logon with Prisma VPN, which means before you log in to the PC with the user ID, domain, and password, the PC automatically connects to the Prisma VPN. That means you already have some basic access, like to Office 365. In case the VPN box is having issues, the user still has access to Outlook, Teams, Word documents, et cetera. The Pre-logon features make things really convenient.

Another nice feature for users is that Prisma VPN saves the user session for seven days instead of, with Cisco VPN, only one day. As a result, the user doesn't need to connect to the VPN every day. After a week, once it expires, they will need to log in with the username and password, but it still keeps the security intact.

There is also the ability to do a HIP (Host Information Profile) check. We can check things like whether a device's operating systems are properly patched, that the antivirus software meets security requirements, and that the hard drive is encrypted. The latter is important because if the laptop is lost, the data can be stolen. A HIP check enables us to make sure the endpoint maintains the security requirements. That helps make things more secure.

And as a cloud-based solution, there are a lot of redundancies. I'm in Canada and have a gateway in Canada. In case the getaway or VPN box in Canada dies, they will automatically reroute me to New York or any other location that is available. In addition, if the cloud-based solution has an issue, we still have the on-prem firewall or VPN in place in our data centers, which means everything falls back to something that is just like Cisco VPN, but it is Palo Alto. But that is only happening in DR situations. The fact that Prisma Access is cloud-based also makes it easier to connect from our environment to cloud-computing environments.

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Toby Ashmore - PeerSpot reviewer
Network Administrator Specialist at a government with 501-1,000 employees

I like it because it's very easy to use. You install the client and you have to know your gateway, but that's something we give to our users. Beyond that, it takes about three seconds to train them on how to use it. And it just works well. That's great for us because it means less administrative time.

It's also nice that Prisma Access provides all its capabilities in a single, cloud-delivered platform. 

The thick client secures non-web apps in addition to web-based apps. If you have the client installed on your laptop, it's a completely secure VPN connection and anything you run will be secured by it. The clientless VPN, the web-based one, only allows you to redirect to URLs; it's only web. Being able to access non-web apps is important to us because it's how we get our remote work done. Not everything is web-based. We have to run applications and access Windows shares and the like. 

This ability helps decrease the risk of data breach. Information security is more and more a huge concern for everyone. Knowing that everything's going across an encrypted tunnel, and that we can manage what is accessed by which user, are huge benefits.

Another important aspect is that Prisma Access provides millions of security updates per day, because security has really become our number-one focus lately. That feature is very good.

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Naresh Pratap - PeerSpot reviewer
Senior Network Security Lead at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees

The WildFire Analysis is one of the good features we observed. Due to the fact that the traffic from the user to the internet is not passing under our on-prem, there is generally less control over it. With the help of WildFire Analysis, we are able to make sure the users are not downloading or accessing any malicious sites or any malware or anything.

The use of Microsoft Teams from a VPN used to give some issues earlier, however, with the Prisma Cloud, that has improved quite a lot. Even if you're tunneling the traffic of MS Teams through this Prisma terminal, there has been no issues yet. The VPN access it allows for is great.

The stability of the solution is very good.

The scalability of the solution is excellent.

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This is a one-stop solution. They have multiple features for every product, you don't need to purchase different products for each platform. When you purchase one Prisma SaaS you can connect to 10 different things. You can write different policies, attach different policies, search, and export the data out. There are many capabilities of this solution.

The solution has all its capabilities in a single cloud delivery platform which is great and it provides overall good protection.

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Global Leader Network Engineering at a financial services firm with 5,001-10,000 employees

It's an always-on solution and it supports both Mac and Windows. We have one configuration globally, and the only area where we had to do something differently is China.

Prisma Access protects all app traffic, so that users can gain access to all apps and that's very important because we need to be able to access everything. 

It also allows us to access non-web apps; anything internal that we need access to, we can access. Because we're using it as a VPN solution, our users are always on the internal network, regardless of where they are. They can't do anything because we lock them down so that if GlobalProtect doesn't connect, they can't get out to the internet. It's helped in that there were things that people would work around in other ways with our old model, things that they can't work around with the new model.

Also, having a single cloud-delivered platform, a global solution, was a key requirement for us.

We use the solution's threat prevention, URL filtering, and segmentation and they're all extremely important, based on what we're doing with the product. It's also very important to the business that Prisma Access provides millions of security updates per day.

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Saman Gupta - PeerSpot reviewer
Professional Services Consultant at Infinity Labs India

It's easy to manage. Our customers do not need to worry about what is happening in the data center. With legacy networks, they have to worry about things like the firewall being down and having to go to the data center to replace it. With Prisma Access, they do not need to worry about that. Palo Alto takes care of it. If something goes down in the infrastructure, the Palo Alto team will take care of it.

Prisma Access protects all app traffic, so that users can gain access to all apps. It is important for our clients that all traffic coming through the firewall is inspected. Prisma inspects all the traffic, and if a customer wants to make an exception for certain traffic, that is also possible.

It also inspects both web-based apps and non web-based apps.

In addition, it's really easy to manage. If customers have Panorama they can use it to manage Prisma Access. There is also a cloud application which provides a single console to manage it. Changes can be made on that console and pushed to the customer's environment, which is another way they make it easy to manage. The customer can opt for Panorama or the cloud management application. The latter is free.

Prisma Access provides traffic analysis, threat prevention, URL filtering, and segmentation, as well as vulnerability protection, DLP, anti-spyware, antivirus, URL filtering, and file blocking. It provides everything. This combination is very important. When a customer wants to block certain URL categories, they can block them. If they want to exclude any entertainment websites from their environment, they can block them. What we implement depends totally on the customer's environment and what they need. We can play with it and modify things.

Another benefit is that if any vulnerability is detected, such as a Zero-day attack, Palo Alto provides an update dynamically. The patch is installed so that the network is not exploited.

The Autonomous Digital Experience Management (ADEM) offered by Palo Alto is a good reporting tool. It gives insights into how things are going within the network. It takes all the data from the users' endpoints and does an analysis, and it suggests changes as well. The ADEM analysis of various tests will give the user feedback such as, "Okay, I'm seeing latency here." We or the customer can then improve on that. If something is blocked that shouldn't be, we can make a change in the policy. It's a good tool to have. It makes the user experience better.

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Manager Network Engineering at a computer software company with 5,001-10,000 employees

Remote access is the most valuable feature, giving remote users secure access to our IT environment. That is the specific feature that we are using it for. Prisma Access provides secure access to the environment, including apps, and some non-apps systems, such as system administration. This ability is very important, almost a mandatory requirement for some of our systems.

It not only protects web-based apps, but non-web-based apps as well. Again, that's important, because for this kind of access, the traffic has to be protected and secure. The fact that it secures not just web-based apps but non-web apps indirectly reduces the risk of a data breach. If all the traffic can be seen it should help keep things from getting into the hands of hackers, helping prevent data from being compromised and preventing access to systems as well. We don't want our systems to be compromised, as they are critical to our services and to our customers.

The solution also provides traffic analysis, threat prevention, URL filtering, and segmentation. That combination is important because it enhances the protection and makes the traffic more secure. It also keeps things more up-to-date, enabling us to deal with more of the current threats.

In addition, Prisma Access provides security updates for threat prevention. Those updates are important in general, of course, for security reasons. The more up-to-date you are, the better you are protected.

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Network Security Engineer at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees

Prisma Access gives us security from a single point. It controls mobile users and determines how secure their networks will be, including from where they will get internet access. We can optimize things and add security profiles centrally.

Another valuable feature for mobile users is the GP VPN access. It provides security and a firewall as a service, including threat and vulnerability protection. From a security perspective, it is very good.

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Clement Johnson - PeerSpot reviewer
Chief Executive Officer at Clemtech LLC

Prisma isn't hard for the average system admin to use, and our customers are interested in Prisma's SD-WAN and Zero Trust capabilities. Government customers are particularly interested in the CASB capability. Prisma protects all app traffic, so our customers can access all of our apps, which is essential. That's one of the main reasons my business and customers use this technology, especially in the COVID-19 environment.

My military customers have users who need secure access to their information from all over the world. If they're using Microsoft Office products or some other app that isn't web-based, they can still access them through the web whether they're using their corporate devices or working on their personal devices using corporate information. Prisma will still protect that from phishing or other attacks.

Having all of these capabilities on a single cloud-delivered platform was extremely important to us. We also liked how well Prisma integrates with other solutions. Other solutions offer the same functionalities Prisma does when it comes to Zero Trust, CASB, and SD-WAN within the Microsoft Cloud. Prisma helps us protect our customers when a user isn't going to the Microsoft Cloud. 

Prisma also helps with traffic analysis, and that is controlled through the Manager. We can see what websites individuals within organizations are going to. For example, we can do cybersecurity analysis, such as phishing and so forth, to determine the cybersecurity risk of a particular site. While Prisma is doing that, we're also sending those Prisma files to our security operations, and they're also doing the analysis. In addition to threat detection, we're doing threat prevention. URL filtering fits into that category because we can determine what website an individual was able to access.

Prisma does segmentation either through the management of user groups or according to network access. Prisma provides millions of security updates per day, which is crucial for my government customers and business partners. It helps us keep up with security violations or phishing attacks by bad state actors. These threats are dynamic.

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Gregory Anderson - PeerSpot reviewer
Endpoint Security Manager at Catholic Health Initiatives

Overall, it's a great solution that works quite well.

The solution's most valuable feature is the posture checking. 

It's great that we can make sure a machine meets the minimum requirements before users are allowed to log in.

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Sr. Security Analyst at Atos

There are plenty of features this solution provides and the most valuable would be the complete security protection we are receiving. We are provided with similar security that the Palo Alto AWS solution has. This includes features such as a firewall and machine learning AI. The cloud server provides maximum uptime, controls, and overall strong security. 

I have received a lot of good client user experience from the solution.

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Head of Pre-Sales at a tech services company with 51-200 employees

The users can securely access any cloud data centers or cloud platforms. In terms of the features, it has all the features that Palo Alto Next-Generation Firewall has. It is also very stable and scalable.

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Senior Security Architecture Specialist at a computer software company with 201-500 employees

The most valuable feature is the ability to join your network and provide access through the VPN.

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Buyer's Guide
Prisma Access by Palo Alto Networks
June 2022
Learn what your peers think about Prisma Access by Palo Alto Networks. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: June 2022.
610,812 professionals have used our research since 2012.