What was the mood at NextWave this year?

There was so much energy at the conference. Palo Alto Networks is experiencing an incredible pace of growth right now. Everyone has the attitude that the sky is the limit and I can definitely tell that Palo Alto Networks wants to be the biggest security company in the world. It was nice to see a company that is really large but basically still has that small company, start-up feel. It was apparent that Palo Alto Networks was enthusiastic about the opportunity to show people what they are doing and who they are as a company.

What was the one thing everyone was talking about at the conference?

A lot of conversation was focused around new Palo Alto Networks technology, Autofocus and Traps. Palo Alto Networks was excited to show it off and everyone at the conference was eager to see what the new technologies have to offer.

Autofocus is a new threat intelligence platform that will provide priority alerts based on statistical information from Palo Alto Networks’ 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. Palo Alto Networks has already done all the engineering to reverse the malware, helping security teams analyze what is happening in the network, identify threats quicker, and better prepare for future malicious intruders. It’s basically letting customers look under the hood and see all the security landscapes that they get to see.

Autofocus is right at that sweet spot for mid-level government agencies and smaller companies. Palo Alto Networks is targeting to have Autofocus available to customers in October.

Traps is Palo Alto Networks’ next-generation advanced endpoint protection solution. We expect this to be huge over the next calendar year. Instead of using a signature methodology to catch attacks to your networks, Traps watches your endpoints and how they run to find out if you’re being attacked.

This is practically an entirely new way of thinking about endpoint security. When I think of the old model of endpoint protection and the new Traps approach, it reminds me of stopping a bank robber. With the old model, there would be a security guard at the front door of the bank, with a giant book of mugshots. If the person coming in to rob the bank didn’t match a picture in the book, they would be allowed in. In other words, if the virus had not been seen in the network before, it would be allowed in. With the new approach, the bank security sees a robber and tackles him because he recognizes that they are doing something wrong. With Traps, the virus is stopped, or tackled, because it is doing something threatening to the network. We expect Traps to revolutionize the way we have always looked at endpoint security.

What was your overall takeaway on Palo Alto Networks’ position in the marketplace?

Palo Alto Networks has taken the time to have everything work from the same platform and the same interface. All their programs working together in an integrated architecture is the answer to many of today’s most challenging security issues and is really what has and is going to put them ahead in the marketplace.

Palo Alto Networks’ focused vision for the future also helps to set them apart. They said they are going to go bigger, act faster and strategically grow. I noticed they have a strong alignment internally and between partners. Having partners at their sales kickoff really cemented how much they value and are committed to those relationships.

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

I’m excited to share the new information I learned about Autofocus and Traps. I feel like I gained so much insider information from the Palo Alto Networks engineers at the conference about these upcoming technologies, so I’m ready to bring that knowledge back to the Force 3 team and see what it can do for our customers.

I’m also eager to share the energy and progressive attitude that I saw at the conference with our team. Like Palo Alto Networks, Force 3 is always looking ahead and stopping at nothing to find the most innovative solutions for our customers’ networks. It’s an exciting time to have our hand in next generation network security!

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