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Obscure Technologies, Palo Alto reveal global cyber security trends for 2023

A post-COVID exposé of today’s prevailing cyber threats and the Palo Alto solutions available to defeat them.

Johannesburg, 26 Jan 2023
Justin Lee, MD, Obscure Technologies.
Justin Lee, MD, Obscure Technologies.

Obscure Technologies recently hosted a videocast in its JUST IN industry series that saw Samer El Kodsi, Palo Alto Networks Senior Director, Channel Sales Emerging Markets, revealing 2023 cyber trends and priorities for the globally leading enterprise.

In the videocast, Justin Lee, MD, Obscure Technologies, delved into the evolution of the cyber security market following the pandemic. “One of the main impacts of the pandemic has been the move to remote and hybrid work models coupled with the shift to the cloud. This has led to a significant increase in attacks – they are more frequent, bigger and bolder than ever,” said El Kodsi. 

“We believe traditional single check-based solutions will not cut it in this era as they will not be able to scale against the volume of attacks. People are now working from multiple locations as they seek to access data; we feel artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will be key components of how we enable customer defences against these threats. Palo Alto offers both of these technologies and can assist customers to scale against the vast volume of attacks and to focus on the right areas. We follow a zero trust model so that our customers provide access – regardless of whether it is to people inside or outside of their organisation – only to authenticated users. This approach will make it extremely cost prohibitive for bad actors to carry out successful attacks. Moreover, authentication can be implemented throughout the network chain,” added El Kodsi.

Lee concurred with this and added that COVID has accelerated the need for security. “The world is now used to a new ‘norm’ from an accessibility perspective. This is regardless of the size of an organisation – be it enterprise level or SME – companies are increasingly exploring the hybrid work model because it provides many advantages, including greater flexibility.”

Palo Alto regional plans for 2023

El Kodsi noted that Palo Alto has a broad portfolio founded on three pillars, namely: cloud security, network security and automation. “In terms of our regional priorities for the coming year, we will be focusing on ensuring our partners and DSIs are properly enabled within these pillars and will work with them to upskill guaranteeing the right level of proficiency. We strongly urge partners to specialise and, through our NextWave partner programme, they can avail of the opportunity to broaden skill sets. We also hope to be able to share enhancements we will be introducing to the market in the near future.”

Lee noted that Obscure Technologies endorses the drive for partner specialisation. “We believe that this year, partners will increasingly focus on investment in skills expansion within the Palo Alto arena. The portfolio is large – we’ve seen that expansion over the 10 years we have been working with Palo Alto in the region. The knowledge that partners will empower themselves through education is core to our business mantra and is very important also to our partner network,” said Lee.

El Kodsi confirmed that Palo Alto intends to broaden its partner specialisation offerings during the course of 2023.

Palo Alto’s acquisition trail

Commenting on Palo Alto’s acquisition of various vendors over the past five years, El Kodsi said future moves will focus on the market trend around the move to the cloud. “We have found that as customers transition to the cloud, they can have at least 30 different vendors on their network infrastructure – this is obviously challenging from various perspectives. Our focus is to make the journey for security in the cloud less cluttered with a smaller ecosystem – it is our goal to provide our customers with the most comprehensive platform available.”

SASE

El Kodsi confirmed that Palo Alto views SASE – Secure Access Service Edge – as hugely important. “SASE essentially collapses two markets into one that is cloud delivered; in short, it is the convergence of wide area networking (WAN) and network security services. Palo Alto and independent industry analysts believe the SASE market is the future of cyber security – we feel it will grow significantly and this is why we have been pushing it. We will continue to drive continuous trust verification with ongoing security checks for every individual, plus repeated security inspection on user behaviour. Ultimately, it is zero trust without compromise. This is what we are achieving through our ZTNA 2.0 (Zero Trust Network Access) solution and with our SASE platform.”

Firewalls

El Kodsi noted that CloudGenix (acquired by Palo Alto three years ago) – and now called SD1 – is almost completely layer seven analysis and can be delivered via the cloud or on-premises, making the level of access and visibility that can be acquired through SD1 second to none.

Lee highlighted Palo Alto’s Strata as one of the biggest in the company’s solutions portfolio and asked if it is still developing.

El Kodsi responded: “Strata is a market that will continue to grow, but SASE is built on many of the technologies that we have on the next-generation firewall platform – all of which will augment Strata; customers may decide to move to the full SASE solution but the next-gen firewall market is not only huge, but is here to stay. However, from the partner’s perspective, growth is going to come from the SASE option with analysts predicting that SASE will grow faster over the next three years than the next-gen firewall market.”

Lee added: “On the firewall/Strata side, it is important to note the technological advances in the virtual space. Traditional firewalls are on-premises, but the way that Palo Alto has done the modelling around the licensing is key to the ongoing success of Strata, especially in the service provider space where one has the flexible billing option.”

El Kodsi added that billing and availability are pivotal to the success of Strata. “We have organisations that come to us with thousands of employees – building individual firewalls is not practical, but with SASE access, you can enable a subscription in a matter of hours.”

In terms of 2023, El Kodsi confirmed that Palo Alto will continue to deliver what’s next across all the pillars of its solutions, whether it’s on Prisma Cloud, Cortex with the SOC automation, Network Security, Strata or SASE. “In doing this, we will help to deliver a seamless journey and without compromise to the market.”

Lee concluded that Palo Alto’s investment in the regional market has been impressive and welcomed the ongoing commitment and further development of the relationship with the global cyber security giant.

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Obscure Technologies

Obscure Technologies was founded in 2016 by a group of specialist security professionals whose combined IP and experience has been gained through working for and with global IT and security giants, over the years. We specialise in bringing the world leading security solutions to market. Obscure Technologies operates throughout the African continent.

We remain at the forefront of world and local security technology trends through our strategic partnerships with leading vendors. Moreover, we deliver end to end innovative technology solutions to our partner community.

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