Last spring at their Ignite customer event, Palo Alto Networks announced the Palo Alto Networks Application Framework, an extension of their next-gen security platform into the cloud which the company changed a game-changer for the industry. Now they have announced their first application for that framework. Magnifier is a cloud-based behavioral analytics offering, based on last year’s LightCyber acquisition, which uses machine learning technology to quickly detect and prevent threats.
“We are really excited about this,” said Eric Schou, Senior Director, Security Services and Alliances, at Palo Alto Networks. “This is our first official application for the Application Framework. It’s a super-critical piece of the platform extension.”
Schou said that the Application Framework was based on a conclusion that the traditional consumption model of technology is completely broken.
“With all of the point product sprawl out there, the industry can’t keep up with the rapid development pace needed to stay ahead of the bad guys,” he stated. “This provides a new consumption model that can manage all the technology effectively, with native integration and a much higher degree of automation.”
The Application Framework leverages Palo Alto Networks’ WildFire cloud-based threat analysis service.
The second piece of the framework is really the data,” Schou said. “WildFire collects a massive amount of data around threat and malware, which is rich and very differentiated in the marketplace.”
Schou said that the third piece of the new model is the ability of partners as well as Palo Alto Networks to write applications to that data.
“We are already seeing these applications being developed,” he said, “A full ecosystem of applications, not just from Palo Alto Networks, but also partner apps, will happen over time. Magnifier is a great example of the application framework and what it can be. While the term ‘platform’ gets thrown around a lot, for channel folks, being able to take advantage of a platform that actually works is so important. The integration capability of this is real. You will see highly-integrated solutions which will provide unique value and assist the channel’s ability to position themselves as trusted advisors.”
Schou said that while LightCyber was a hardware and on-prem based solution when it was acquired after a partnership between the two companies, the idea was always to deploy it in the cloud.
“As a behavior-based analytics service in the cloud, Magnifier can pull data all together, creating much more scalability and reach,” he said. “Magnifier is a great marriage of the LightCyber technology with our WildFire. In the cloud, it can fully take advantage of all the data that is collected, and deliver alerts at a very low false positive rate. That false positive rate was why our founder was so excited about LightCyber. Competitor products would have 40-50-60 false positives a day, while this has less than a dozen. It makes things much easier for companies without a large staff.”
Schou also said that partners and customers can expect to see more fruits from this acquired technology.
“There is so much more from a roadmap perspective,” he said. “I’m constantly impressed by the team, which has remained since the acquisition. In this calendar year, the focus on endpoint will get stronger and stronger, because we see the endpoint as a place where attackers are focusing. We see Magnifier as a natural for this, with endpoint capabilities around detection. There will be more on the endpoint, and more on the integration on the platform. You will see these sooner this year, rather than later.”