Earlier this month, Force 3 engineers Ryan Wolfe and Pete Burke headed out to Las Vegas to take part in Palo Alto’s Ignite conference. They participated in hands-on labs, interacted with other security experts, and brought home tons of tools and techniques to help Force 3 continue to provide customers with the latest and greatest security solutions. We sat down with them to get the scoop on this year’s event.

 

What was the overall vibe at Ignite this year?

It was really exciting. The conference was well-attended and sessions were full. The Palo Alto team provided a ton of great information for customers, including use cases. The way they walked through different scenarios seemed to be really helpful from a user standpoint.

We learned a lot from several in-depth technical sessions that were very focused, including a really good lab on integration between Palo Alto and NSX technology.

We especially enjoyed the breakout sessions, which provided an opportunity to meet with Palo Alto engineers to participate in whiteboard sessions with them, discuss different issues or situations we’ve encountered, and ask questions.

 

What were the hottest topics of conversation?

A lot of conversation was focused around the integration of Palo Alto technology into cloud environments such as Amazon Web Services, as well as SDN approaches, NSX, and Cisco ACI. We talked a lot about how we can get a product to integrate with data centers moving into new architecture and even more so moving into the cloud.

There were also several new announcements and feature updates. One of the biggest was the unveiling of Palo Alto’s AutoFocus, a new feature that can alert a security team about issues in their security network. AutoFocus will provide priority alerts based on statistical information from Palo Alto’s own Unit 42 intelligence. With this data, AutoFocus is able to provide an alert with attack context, a web-based dashboard, and tools that quickly investigate the tools of attack.

What makes AutoFocus so exciting is that intelligence element. When you have a virus, it’s a pretty manual task to find all of the locations that are infected. AutoFocus can help security engineers like us analyze the data that is going on within the network and identify events a lot quicker.
Also, we can’t lie—everyone was pretty excited to have The Most Interesting Man in the World do the closing ceremonies.

 

What did you learn from your experience at Ignite?

Ryan: I was really interested to learn more about the API tools that allow you to integrate other products into Palo Alto’s firewalls and create custom functionality. With Force 3’s focus on building custom solutions, it’s exciting for me to increase integration with other solutions, especially with some of the next-gen technology we are working with.

Pete: I learned the most from my conversations with Palo Alto’s engineers who were on-site at Ignite. It was pretty unique, how open they were. Their security engineers were very approachable and it was great to be able to go up to any of them to ask a question, get into a technical conversation or whiteboarding session. The environment was very open and comfortable and it was great to be able to learn from each other.

 

What are you most excited to bring back to Force 3?

Ryan: I’m excited to bring back everything I learned about integration and start applying it to some of our existing solutions to better serve our customers’ security needs.

Pete: I’m excited to share the new information I gleaned from the event about AutoFocus intelligence and endpoint protection, as well as the insight I gained from other customers and their experiences deploying Palo Alto technology. The opportunity to engage with other engineers and users, as well as to be the first to learn about new Palo Alto developments made Ignite a valuable experience that puts us ahead of the curve.

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