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Palo Alto – Firewall

14 Nov, 2023

PeerSpot users give PaloAlto Firewall a very high rating – 8 out of 10 points. Among the world’s leading brands, the company’s ranking is limited to the 7th place in the world of firewalls. According to the company’s research, 57% of their customers are representatives of large businesses, however, as PaloAlto employees say, they have equally important customers in small and medium-sized businesses.

What does the firewall protect us from?

When reporting incoming and outgoing packets in traffic, it’s important to know what paths they take and what role the firewall plays in their journey.

We need to know the term OSI LAYERS (The Open Systems Interconnection), i.e. open systems interconnection model.

OSI describes the seven layers that computer systems use to communicate over a network. It is these seven layers that the incoming and outgoing packets pass through to reach us and vice versa. OSI is divided into upper and lower layers.

The application layer is used by end-user software such as web browsers and email clients. It provides protocols that allow the software to send and receive information and present meaningful data to users. A few examples of application layer protocols are the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), File Transfer Protocol (FTP), Post Office Protocol (POP), Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), and Domain Name System (DNS).

The presentation layer prepares data for the session layer. It is based on established protocol. Specifies how to encrypt and compress data. The presentation layer receives any data transmitted by the application layer and prepares it for transmission to the session layer.

The session layer creates communication channels between devices called sessions. It is the session layer that is needed to ensure that the communication channels are open and everything is functioning properly during the data transfer.

The transport layer processes information between devices that communicate with each other (end-to-end). Communication (information exchange) management involves taking data from the session layer and dividing it into parts called segments. At the receiving device, the transport layer reassembles segments that travel through the session layer to your screen. This layer uses protocols such as TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) and UDP (User Datagram Protocol) to transmit data.
At the same level, TCP/UDP ports are defined (application layer protocols have predefined ports, for example, FTP – 25 ports, HTTP – 80 ports, etc.), through which the traditional firewall performs filtering. That is, we can open access to the network on 25 ports and close the rest through the firewall, which means that only requests coming to the 25th port will enter the network.

The network layer provides data transfer between devices. The network layer divides the segments that are transmitted from the transport layer. They are also referred to as packages. Also the network layer acts as an efficiency tool. It determines the optimal path required for the data to reach its destination. This function is called “routing”.

The data link layer establishes and terminates a connection between two physically-connected nodes on a network. It breaks up packets into frames and sends them from source to destination. This layer is composed of two parts—Logical Link Control (LLC), which identifies network protocols, performs error checking and synchronizes frames, and Media Access Control (MAC) which uses MAC addresses to connect devices and define permissions to transmit and receive data.

The physical layer includes the physical equipment that transmits data such as L1 switches and cables. In this layer, Data is converted into 1’s and 0’s. The physical layer handles the communication between the device (computer, server, network printer, and other network equipment) and the data transmission medium (optical or copper cable). The physical layer includes various components: cables, radio frequency used to transmit data, Wi-Fi, required voltages and types of ports.

Firewall of Palo Alto - features

Palo Alto’s Firewall’s The solution is equipped with many interesting features, for example:

  • Secure network activation (App-ID, User-ID, Content-ID)
  • Detection and prevention of malicious programs (Malware Prevention)
  • DNS security (URL filtering, malicious domain prediction and blocking, signature-based protection)
  • Panorama security management (including graphical views and analytics, rule and dynamic update management, network adjustable command center (ACC))
  • Threat intelligence (priority alerts, automatically obtaining information and sharing prevention indicators with you, easy local integration with Palo Alto Networks products)

Advantages of Palo Alto Networks Firewall

  • Palo Alto Networks Firewalls Implementation has several advantages. The biggest advantages of the solutions include:
  • Dedicated interface for device management and initial configuration
  • Regular signature collection (to avoid threats) and updates
  • Import addresses and URL objects from an external server
  • Configuration and management with REST API integration. REST API – Representational state transfer – A software architectural style that shows the differences and different interfaces between separate components on the Internet.
  • High bandwidth and connection speed, even when traffic is heavier than standard.
  • Deep visibility into network activity through the application layer and its controls
  • Easy control panel and friendly interface.

Users Ratings

Palo alto cooperates with such companies as: SkiStar AB, Ada County, Global IT Services PSF, Southern Cross Hospitals, Verge Health, University of Portsmouth, Austrian Airlines, The Heinz Endowments

Solutions Manager, Communications Service Provider Company – “Our priority is always customer satisfaction, a very valuable feature of Palo Alto’s Firewall-Si is its cognitive identifiers, which help the firewall know what its users are trying to do. It can block specific activities instead of blocking entire categories. For example, you can block the entire network, or block unknown packets entering the network one by one.”

PeerSpot user Gerry, a cybersecurity network engineer at a university, notes that Firewall has a “good user interface, user support, and is a stable product.” He also says that this solution provides a single platform that naturally integrates all the security capabilities that are 100% important to us as network security engineers.”

Firewall budget

As Palo Alto users say, the product is really not cheap, however, depending on how the interface the company offers and how high-quality communication with the customer is established in case of a problem (customer support), it is worth paying a certain amount.
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