How Palo Alto Networks and Okta Are Helping Enable Secure Remote Work

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Category: Secure the Cloud, Secure the Enterprise

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In the last few months, many people have had to learn how to work, absorb lessons, teach and collaborate effectively while physically distant. With all these changes, businesses, schools and governments have tried to keep other changes minimal, such as how we access the apps and data needed to do our work. So it’s no surprise that Okta’s most recent app usage report listed Palo Alto Networks GlobalProtect as the fastest-growing security app in Okta’s integration network for the month of March. The GlobalProtect subscription for Palo Alto Networks Next-Generation Firewalls extends consistent security policies to remote workers and assists in eliminating remote access blindspots. Prisma Access is the industry’s most comprehensive secure access service edge (SASE) platform that offers the same security and remote access capabilities as GlobalProtect and Next-Generation Firewalls, but from the cloud and without having to deploy new infrastructure. A recent blog post explored how Prisma Access has scaled rapidly to help our customers power the new normal. Both Next-Generation Firewalls – and now, Prisma Access – integrate with Okta Identity Cloud to further simplify the remote worker experience.

A good way to demonstrate the benefits of the Okta integration is to look at our own experience. Palo Alto Networks has been a corporate customer of Okta for several years, using Single Sign-On (SSO) and Adaptive Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to ensure a cohesive and secure login experience for our workers. Like other businesses, Palo Alto Networks had to rapidly enable thousands of employees, contractors and third-party vendors in dozens of countries to work from home. In the month of March, our IT team saw a greater than 50% increase in the number of remote users worldwide accessing our data center, cloud and SaaS apps through Prisma Access. Fortunately, both Prisma Access and Okta are globally available, cloud-delivered services that scale rapidly. Almost immediately, our workforce had the same secure access to the internet and applications – and the same seamless experience – as in their usual workplaces. 

Security is particularly important in a time when attackers are capitalizing on the need for COVID-19 information to launch phishing attacks, lure users to fake websites, capture login credentials, start ransomware attacks or steal data. The Palo Alto Networks SOC team (who are also working from home) have recorded a 10x increase in phishing attempts on our networks since the first part of March. Fortunately, Prisma Access and Okta work together to stop phishing and credential abuse at every point of an attack. With constantly updated protections that counter the latest threats, Prisma Access blocks our users from landing on phishing websites when they click a link in an email. Granular security policies also prevent users from entering corporate credentials into risky or unsanctioned apps, or on a brand new phishing website mimicking a valid one. Even if adversaries succeeded in obtaining corporate credentials, they would not be able to connect to our gateway using their computer, since their device would be unknown. Prisma Access also helps enforce Okta MFA by seamlessly directing all users who pass their first authentication to Okta for a second factor. For intrepid attackers who have made it this far, MFA thwarts virtually all attempts at credential abuse. 

Palo Alto Networks and Okta technology integrations have helped hundreds of customers to quickly and securely embrace remote workforce initiatives. Since the beginning of the year, our joint customer list has grown by 37%. 

For more information on how Prisma Access and Okta work together to secure remote access, read the solution brief, “Secure Remote Access with Palo Alto Networks and Okta.”