Thursday, February 22, 2018
Needless to say, cybersecurity can be a tough environment in which to operate. For many professionals, it is not uncommon to be working with industrial assets that are located in harsh environments that have been, or are being modernized as part of an OT digital transformation initiative.
While the automation piece to these environments may be cutting-edge, provisions for cybersecurity are lagging, leaving organizations exposed. Given the rising threat landscape for ICS/SCADA and the simultaneously tightening regulatory landscape, where even the most remote sites may be subject to cybersecurity laws, this could not continue.
For these very reasons, the idea of ruggedized equipment is on the mind of more and more professionals as part of their efforts to protect the network. In conjunction with the release of PAN-OS 8.1, Palo Alto Networks announced their new ruggedized next-generation firewall, the PA-220R, which is immediately available for ordering. One important note is the fact that it runs the same PAN-OS operating system that users are familiar with through their use of NGFWs. This gives users advanced capabilities of securing industrial protocol traffic and stopping ICS-specific threats.
So why the release of a ruggedized firewall? Certainly part of the motivation is the fact that some harsh-environment remote sites have grown in complexity and require local segmentation to improve visibility and control over local traffic. There are also use cases which require direct site-to-site connectivity instead of requiring users to go up through SCADA first in order to get to other sites.
The PA-220R introduces a way to bring the advanced capabilities and flexibility of next-generation firewall technology to these industrial sites with extreme temperatures, humidity, vibration, dust and sometimes electromagnetism.
And early results have garnered positive response. The beta program for PA-220R was quickly oversubscribed and, although it was a small set of users, the group touted a diverse range of harsh-environment use cases ranging from utilities substations, oil and gas production sites and pipelines, factory floors, railway systems, defense infrastructure, and even amusement parks.
Of course the proof will be in the actual use cases. The PA-220R is intended to help users safely modernize their OT and prevent successful cyberattacks to critical infrastructure, and we will look to the Fuel community to tell their stories about what looks to be an exciting new product from Palo Alto Networks.
Have you tried the PA-220R, or are planning to? We want to hear from you. Start a discussion here.
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