‘An Active Community’: A Q&A With Palo Alto Networks LIVEcommunity Solutions Engineers

Posted by Fuel HQ on Jul 29, 2021 2:21:25 PM

Thursday, July 29, 2021

By Fuel HQ

For IT and network security professionals, it’s crucial to have access to quick, applicable solutions in order to address threats in the ever-changing security landscape. For Palo Alto Networks users, help is just a click away in the LIVEcommunity. This peer-to-peer forum allows industry professionals to not only work together to troubleshoot threats, but also openly discuss ways to enhance an interface and navigate different products and services.

We recently spoke with Joe Delio and Kim Wens, solutions engineers for the Palo Alto Networks LIVEcommunity, about the community, recent trends members are discussing, and tips and tricks users should know about.

What first interested you in the world of cybersecurity?

Joe Delio (JD): I got my start in the world of cybersecurity in 1996 as a firewall administrator managing Check Point firewalls. What interested me in it was the ability to help control the flow of traffic — more specifically, how to keep everyone secure while doing their job at the same time.

Kim Wens (KW): I slowly grew into cybersecurity, starting out as a network engineer in 1999. As more and more of the customers I was supporting were getting more cybersecurity products, no cybersecurity experts were available. It was a natural evolution for me to get more involved and my focus shifted from networking to cybersecurity.

Tell us more about LIVEcommunity and your role. How do you and community members engage and connect? 

JD: The LIVEcommunity is an active community for Palo Alto Networks devices and solutions that has grown so much over the years. My role as a senior solutions engineer is more like that of a curator of information inside of the community. I help people help themselves and others by not only creating new content in the form of blogs and video tutorials, but also by moderating and answering questions in the community.

What are some significant trends that LIVEcommunity members are discussing? 

JD: That is a hard one due to the fact that we have so many discussion areas that cover the wide range of products that Palo Alto Networks provides: Strata (network security), Prisma (cloud security) and Cortex (security operations). There aren't many "new" trends that I can tell you about other than the standard discussions about connecting with GlobalProtect and overall configuration of the product.

KW: With the pandemic, many employees started to work remotely. Even if these topics were already gaining popularity, I definitely saw an increase in discussions related to working remotely. Topics like GlobalProtect and cloud services definitely come to mind.

You share tips and tricks blog posts with the LIVEcommunity. What’s one topic you’ve focused on recently that people should know about?

JD: I think that one of the hidden gems is the Quickplay Solutions. Quickplay Solutions is like the “easy button” when it comes to configuring and setting up your new Palo Alto Networks devices/software. Users can learn more about its benefits and implementing it into their Palo Alto Networks devices in my recent blog.

KW: I think the “Getting Started” series is awesome! So many great topics are covered in this series and are extremely helpful for any user out there — noobs and even veterans can pick up interesting tips and tricks from this series. (View a “Getting Started” video on firewalls here.)

What is one tool or resource you wish LIVEcommunity members knew more about?

JD: I think that more people need to know about the Best Practice Assessment (BPA) tool. This tool is designed for Next Generation firewalls (NGFW) and Panorama helps evaluate your configuration to help determine what portions of the capabilities have been enabled or not. It also provides recommendations and instructions on configuring those pieces. I would recommend it for everyone to ensure that you are getting the most out of your Palo Alto Networks Strata setup.

KW: The BPA tool comes to mind for me, as well. It allows users to find out where they can improve upon their configuration following best practices. It's shocking really to see how many users are still using their device as a stateful firewall from back in the ‘90s and not using the security features a NGFW is actually intended for. 

Another great tool is Expedition. While it's primarily used for migrating configurations from another vendor to Palo Alto Networks, it can also be used for bulk configuration changes that you can't really do in the regular FW GUI. I also recommend the Palo Alto Networks GitHub resource. It is an amazing resource for scripts, repositories, automation, templates, etc.

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Topics: Palo Alto Networks, LIVEcommunity

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