What happens when hundreds of tech guys and gals from around the world converge on Las Vegas? That’s exactly what happened last week when The Cosmopolitan hotel in Las Vegas played host to the Palo Alto Networks SE Summit 2019, drawing in over 1500 system engineers (SEs) from Palo Alto Networks offices around the world plus specially invited partners to showcase new products and their vision for the evolution of cyber security.
As a key partner of Palo Alto Networks, Threatscape were at ground zero to find out the latest updates and insights with one of our lead network security and PCSNE-certified engineers, Tony Robson, the lucky victim in attendance.
The four-day event kicked off on Monday 11th February and featured keynote talks by senior members of the Palo Alto Networks team. Particularly well received was Scott Stevens, Head of System Engineers, who hosted a Q&A with new President Amit Singh, discussing a range of topics on which their opinions diverged more than once.
The atmosphere was buzzing, but no speaker was greeted with quite the same level of enthusiasm as Nir Zuk, Founder and CTO of Palo Alto Networks. His irreverant take on the cyber security world and where things are headed was coupled with an honest admission that his goal is nothing less than to conquer the whole cyber security space.
Following the keynotes, the afternoon sessions included a variety of workshops featuring deep dive demos into new tech solutions and interactive labs to enable their own team and partner SEs to engage directly with Palo Alto Networks’ key security solutions.
As expected, because it’s Vegas, Tony reports that it wasn’t all serious tech talk and there was plenty of fun had by all.
Highlights and Takeaways
Upon his return from Sin City, we grilled the jet-lagged – but nonetheless enthused – Tony to get the details on his highlights and the main takeaways from the week.
- Cloud technology was a key topic throughout the summit, with much emphasis placed on both the challenges and new opportunities it presents. This led to discussion about how the VM series Next-Generation Firewalls and RedLock can enable organisations to remain secure and compliant in their cloud environment.
- From a product perspective the big talking point was a new XDR platform that Tony describes as a real game-changer and what could become the brain behind the entire Palo Alto Networks security product line. It addresses some of the management and visibility challenges resulting from limitations of legacy SIEM, which has caused cybersecurity to dissect into many industry silos. The platform will be the first industry product to unify a detection and response solution for both endpoints and firewalls – via Traps and Magnifier – giving a single pane of glass view to the security stack and automated remediation from a single location and platform.
- Another focus point highlighted was the continued effort to empower internal teams and partner engineers with knowledge and expertise via the Cyberforce Technical Recognition Program. It represents a platform for identifying best in class certified engineers and they will be expanding and supporting this initiative further – something Tony himself will be engaging with over the coming year.
- They also provided updates on their recently announced partnership with Google Cloud Platform (GCP), which will see Palo Alto Networks move their cloud-based services – such as the Application Frameworks and GlobalProtect Cloud Service (GPCS) – to the GCP. The result will be a massive expansion of the number of endpoints available for GPCS, as well as future cloud-based services.
- Further product update announcements included the new Version 9.0 of PAN-OS. Among the 60+ new features are DNS Security, policy optimizer, new hardware support, enhanced cloud platform support and multiple other technical enhancements and performance improvements.
- If meeting the Palo Alto Networks Unit 42 threat researchers wasn’t exciting enough, add in a game of ‘capture the flag’ – complete with puzzles the unit had developed based on real-world challenges they have faced – and you have a recipe for success.
- Finally, according to Tony, nothing quite tops the pure comedy of watching hundreds of IT bods (himself included), more accustomed to sitting behind a computer screen, attempting (and failing) to successfully hit a golf ball at the Top Golf venue in MGM Grand.
The summit represented a fantastic opportunity for Tony and Threatscape to continue strengthening our expertise in Palo Alto Networks solutions and cloud security, while also giving him the opportunity to meet with other like-minded techies and equally poor golfers.
To find out more about how Threatscape’s expertise and Palo Alto Networks technology can secure your organisation’s IT infrastructure, contact us here.