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Prisma Access by Palo Alto Networks OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Prisma Access by Palo Alto Networks is #2 ranked solution in top Enterprise Infrastructure VPN tools, top ZTNA services, and top Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) tools. PeerSpot users give Prisma Access by Palo Alto Networks an average rating of 8 out of 10. Prisma Access by Palo Alto Networks is most commonly compared to Zscaler Private Access: Prisma Access by Palo Alto Networks vs Zscaler Private Access. Prisma Access by Palo Alto Networks is popular among the large enterprise segment, accounting for 67% of users researching this solution on PeerSpot. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 27% of all views.
What is Prisma Access by Palo Alto Networks?

Prisma Access provides protection straight from the cloud to make access to the cloud secure. It combines the connectivity and security you need – and delivers it everywhere you need it.

Prisma Access by Palo Alto Networks was previously known as Palo Alto Networks Prisma Access, Prisma Access, GlobalProtect, Palo Alto GlobalProtect Mobile Security Manager.

Prisma Access by Palo Alto Networks Buyer's Guide

Download the Prisma Access by Palo Alto Networks Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: January 2022

Prisma Access by Palo Alto Networks Customers

Concord Hospital, State of Colorado, Essilor International, RheinLand Versicherungsgruppe, University of Westminster, Universidade Nove de Julho, SPAR Austria, CAME Group, ZipRealty, Greenhill & Co., IKT Agder, Aviva Stadium, Animal Logic, Management & Training Corporation, Brigham Young University Hawaii, School District of Chilliwack

Prisma Access by Palo Alto Networks Video

Prisma Access by Palo Alto Networks Pricing Advice

What users are saying about Prisma Access by Palo Alto Networks pricing:
  • "The initial prices of Prisma Access were okay. But as soon as you start deploying Palo Alto gear, the support prices and the recurring prices, which are the major operational costs, tend to increase over time."
  • "Based on what I have heard from others, it is a pricey solution as compared to its peers, but I am not sure. However, considering the features that it offers, it is a break-even point. You get whatever they are promising."
  • "It's pricey, it's not cheap. But you get what you pay for."
  • "The price has been good for the ROI during these difficult times for the cruise industry. There are no hidden costs; what the product offers is what you get."
  • "It is pretty expensive. We have to balance the cost of some features. They need to work on some of the services and products, price-wise."
  • "The pricing can be difficult because it came to us with another agreement, but it can be negotiated. I highly recommend people to compare this product's performance and pricing against BetterCloud, because I feel BetterCloud is better than Prisma SaaS if they're starting from scratch."
  • Prisma Access by Palo Alto Networks Reviews

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    Partha Dash
    Global Network Tech Lead at a computer software company with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    Makes us part of a bigger security ecosystem with updates taken care of for us, but pricing and support need work
    Pros and Cons
    • "It protects all app traffic so that users can gain access to all apps. Unlike other solutions that only work from ports 80 and 443, which are predominantly for web traffic, Prisma Access covers all protocols and works on all traffic patterns... The most sophisticated attacks can arise from sources that are not behind 80/443."
    • "While Palo Alto has understood the essence of building capabilities around cloud technology and have come up with a CASB offering, that is a very new product. There are other companies that have better offerings for understanding cloud applications and have more graceful controls. That's something that Palo Alto needs to work on."

    What is our primary use case?

    We use Prisma Access, not only for our remote users, in a distributed workforce, but for our offices as well. Right now, because of COVID, there is a very limited footprint on the office side of it. But we would like to cover our offices so that when people are working in them and trying to access resources, whether those resources are hosted on public cloud, private cloud, in data centers, or on-prem, Prisma Access is involved.

    Prisma Access is completely hosted on Google Cloud Platform. Palo Alto Panorama, which is the centralized management tool, is also hosted on a public cloud environment. So the entire solution lies in the cloud.

    How has it helped my organization?

    The fact that Prisma Access provides millions of security updates per day is really important because it takes care of the equivalent of preparing patches and pushing them to your environment, without the headaches of managing and maintaining those processes for your infrastructure. If you get security intelligence from different verticals and different alliances, or through some sort of open API integration where vulnerabilities arise at different times, it's going to be difficult to keep up. Subscribing to this service and having it take care of that is really phenomenal.

    And the best part is that you know that you are part of a bigger ecosystem where this learning about security issues is happening, and things are made available to you on a scheduled basis every day. It automatically strengthens your security posture. We are quite happy with this feature and feel very confident that the Palo Alto security stack takes care of all of these things automatically. That is one of the salient features and was one of our evaluation parameters for choosing a solution.

    Another benefit is that before, if we had to set up a restricted environment for a given project, the lead time was about a day to get everything functioning correctly and to get the go-ahead from the security team. Now, setting up these environments can literally happen in less than five minutes. It is already segmented. All you need to do is ensure the people who are part of the project are included in a single access-control list, which these days is based on GCP Identity-Aware. Based on that, it provides the right privileges required to access certain things. That is the building block of any SasS solution with zero cross-network access. And it is very easy now.

    What is most valuable?

    The Prisma Access remote side is pretty good with respect to the footprint that it covers. Because it is built on the Google platform, using the Google Premium Tier network, it is almost everywhere geographically. From wherever we initiate a connection, it connects with the nearest point of presence, which minimizes the latency. And we can access applications wherever they are hosted.

    It protects all app traffic so that users can gain access to all apps. Unlike other solutions that only work from ports 80 and 443, which are predominantly for web traffic, Prisma Access covers all protocols and works on all traffic patterns. It is not only confined to web traffic. This is important because security is something that should always be baked in, rather than being an afterthought. The most sophisticated attacks can arise from sources that are not behind 80/443. They could come through bit-torrent traffic, which uses a non-standard port, altogether. We want to cover off those possibilities. We were very sure, from the start of our deployment when conducting PoCs, that the solution we picked should have coverage for all ports and protocols.

    The fact that it secures not just web-based apps, but non-web apps as well, is important because the threat landscape is quite big. It not only includes public-facing applications that are accessible via web protocols, but it also includes many attacks that are being generated through non-standard protocols, like DNS tunneling and newly-registered domain control names. There are also a lot of critical applications being accessed on a point-to-point basis, and they might be vulnerable if those ports and protocols are not being inspected. You need to have the right security controls so that your data remains protected all the time.

    In terms of the solution's ease-of-use, once you understand the way the various components stitch together, and once the effort of the initial configuration, setup, and rollout are done and you have set up the policies correctly, you're just monitoring certain things and you do not have to touch a lot of components. That makes it easy to manage a distributed workforce like ours in which there are 10,000-plus users. With all those users, we only have a handful of people, five to seven individuals, who are able to gracefully manage it, because the platform is easy to use. It does take considerable effort to get up to speed in configuring things during the initial deployment, but thereafter it is just a case of monitoring and it's very easy to manage.

    In addition, whether traffic is destined for a public cloud environment, or for a private data center, or you are accessing east-west traffic, you can apply the same security policies and posture, and maintain the same sort of segmentation. Prisma Cloud offers threat prevention, URL filtering, and DNS protection, and east-west traffic segmentation. These features are the foundation of any security stack. There are two primary purposes for this kind of solution, in the big picture. One of them is handling the performance piece, providing ease of access for end-users, and the second is that it should handle security. All of these components are foundational to the security piece, not only to protect against insider threats but to protect things from the outside as well.

    Prisma Access offers security on all ports and protocols. It covers the stack pretty well, leaving no stones unturned. The same unified protection is applied, irrespective of where you access things from or what you access. That also makes it a very compelling solution.

    What needs improvement?

    There are definitely a number of things that could be improved. 

    One of them is geographic coverage. China is still an issue because the solution does not operate there properly due to government regulations. I believe Palo Alto is trying pretty hard to get into partnerships with Alibaba and other cloud providers, but they do not have the same compelling offering in China that they have in the rest of the world. Businesses that are operating within China have to be very sure to evaluate the solution before making a buying decision. It is not an issue with Palo Alto, rather it is predominantly the result of government rules, but it's something that Palo Alto needs to work on.

    There is also room for improvement when it comes to latency in a couple of regions, including India and South America. They might have to increase their presence in those locations and come up with more modern cloud architectures.

    The third area is that, while Palo Alto has understood the essence of building capabilities around cloud technology and have come up with a CASB offering, that is a very new product. There are other companies that have better offerings for understanding cloud applications and have more graceful controls. That's something that Palo Alto needs to work on.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've been using Prisma Access by Palo Alto for two to three years. We started deploying Palo Alto gear back in 2015 and, along the way we have looked into multiple tools from them and invested them.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    On a scale of one to 10, I would give the stability a seven. There are a couple of reasons for that score. One is that when we make certain changes to configs, it takes about 14 to 15 minutes to populate. And there have been scenarios where it has taken about 45 minutes for the config changes to happen. When you sell a product by saying that it's cloud-native and that users can make all configuration changes on-the-fly, when those changes are made they should happen within a minute. They should not take that much time.

    It might be that Palo Alto is still using a certain type of infrastructure in the backend that is causing these delays. If they pile on the cloud technologies, and work towards a more microservices-based architecture, I'm hopeful that they can bring this delay down to less than a minute.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Going from one user to 10,000 or 15,000 users, we haven't faced a lot of problems. However, for companies that are considering investing in this solution, if they have more than 50,000 end-users, a config change could take 10 to 15 minutes. In an environment where 50,000 people are expecting certain things to work, those things might not work for them. Such companies have to look at the solution very thoroughly in terms of the cloud piece, the integration piece. But from one to 15,000 or 20,000 end-users, it is flawless. We don't tend to see a lot of issues. But beyond, say, 25,000, I would suggest doing a deeper analysis before purchasing the product, because there are some glitches.

    How are customer service and support?

    Initially, Palo Alto technical support was okay around sales discussions and getting up to speed on doing a PoC. But one once we deployed and then raised queries, those lead times increased quite a bit. Unless you take their premium support, where there is an SLA associated with every issue that you raise, it becomes very difficult to get hold of engineers to work on a Prisma Access case. If you just take some sort of partner support, you cannot expect the same level of support on your day-to-day issues that you would get with premium support.

    Fundamentally, when a company sells a product, whether you are taking the premium support or some other level of support, the support metrics should be more or less the same, because you are trying to address problems that people are facing. Their response should be more prompt. And if they can't join a call, they should at least be prompt in replying via email or chat or some other medium, so that the customer feels more comfortable about the product and the support. If it takes time to resolve certain problems, post business hours, it can be very difficult for people to justify why they have deployed this product.

    How would you rate customer service and support?

    Neutral

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    COVID was a surprise for us, just like for everyone else in the world. We had a solution from Palo Alto, but it was not a scalable one. We configured things in a more manual way because our requirements were not that high in terms of remote use cases. Post-COVID, the situation has completely changed for us and we have to think about a hybrid situation where we can still gracefully allow access to end-users in a more secure fashion. That led us to evaluate this solution from Palo Alto.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup is not so straightforward. There is a learning curve involved because you need to understand which component fits where, with all of these modern, edge infrastructure secure-access services. You need to do capacity planning well, as well as a budgetary plan. You need to know the right elements for your business. Once you set that up, it is very simple to manage.

    It took us about two to three months to deploy because we have a lot of geographical constraints. Different regions have different requirements. Accounting for all of those needs is why it took us that amount of time to set everything up.

    What was our ROI?

    We have to do an apples-to-apples comparison. If you had a very small set of people who had to create a dedicated setup like Prisma Access, and manage the infrastructure piece and the upgrading piece and the security piece, it would be a nightmare. Prisma Access offers that ease and flexibility so that even a handful of people, with the right knowledge, are still able to manage the configuration piece of it, because the infrastructure and other things are handled by Prisma Access. If you had to build that whole thing versus buying it, obviously Prisma offers a good ROI.

    It all depends on your requirements. If your requirements enable you to do those things on a much smaller scale, then you need to be very cautious about which components of Prisma you actually pick for your use case. If you get all the components, you might not be getting the right ROI.

    For our use case, we feel we are getting a return on investment, but it could be better.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    The most pricey solution is Zscaler, followed by Prisma Access, and then Netskope.

    The initial prices of Prisma Access were okay. But as soon as you start deploying Palo Alto gear, the support prices and the recurring prices, which are the major operational costs, tend to increase over time. For example, if you go ahead with a one-year subscription, just for testing purposes to see how the whole solution works, and you plan to renew for the next two or three years, you tend to see that the solution gets really costly.

    We understand that when you purchase a hardware component, the cost goes up because you have a physical asset that depreciates over time. But when you are getting a subscription-based service, the cost should tend to be reduced over time. With Prisma Access, the cost is increasing and that is something beyond any kind of logic. This is something that Palo Alto needs to work on if they want to be competitive in the market.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We evaluated other options like Zscaler and Netskope. Prisma Access has more coverage for ports and protocols. It doesn't only inspect web protocols but all ports and protocols, and that's an advantage. Other solutions are still relying on web protocols.

    The positive side of these other solutions, because they came along a little later, is that they have understood the demerits of a solution like Prisma Access. They are using more cloud-native components and microservices architectures. That makes these solutions faster. As I said, some config changes in Prisma Access take 14 to 15 minutes, but these other solutions literally take a minute to make the same config changes happen.

    It's a constant race.

    What other advice do I have?

    Put your business requirements up against the solution to see how it pans out. Look at the stability of the product, and at how much time it takes to make configurations and apply them in practice. And if you have a distributed workforce, like us, try to run this solution in southern countries where there is a latency issue or known issues with ISPs. You may not get the same set results that you tend to get in northern countries around the world.

    We don't have a subscription to Prisma Access' Autonomous Digital Experience Management features, but we have done some testing of it. It's pretty good because it can help ease the work of an office helpdesk person who constantly gets tickets but has no visibility for monitoring things. With everybody conducting their work from home, it gets very difficult to know the setup of the internal environment and how people are accessing things and where the bottlenecks are. The ADEM tools are going to help immensely in that regard, because without having knowledge of the underlying infrastructure at every individual's home location, you can still identify whether a problem is specific to their home office or to the application the user is accessing or to the network that is causing the problem. That information is absolutely at your fingertips. Analyzing those types of things becomes really easy. 

    ADEM will also help with the efficacy of troubleshooting and providing support to end-users. If there are certain applications that are critical to an organization, you could easily define a metric to see, out of all the people who are accessing those applications every day, how many of them are facing a problem. And if they're facing a problem, what the parameters of the problem are. Avoiding the problem could turn out to be something that people need to be educated about, or maybe there is something we can proactively tell users so that they can take precautionary measures to get a better experience. It is certainly going to help in enhancing the end-user experience.

    Palo Alto's building blocks clearly illustrate an app-based model. It analyzes things based on an application so that we know what the controls are within an application. For example, if you want to block Facebook's chat but continue to allow basic Facebook to be browsed, that kind of understanding of the application would allow you to do so. That is way more graceful than completely blocking the end-user. It's not something that is specific to Palo Alto Prisma Access but it is a core component of Palo Alto.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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    TejasJain
    Sr. Cloud Security Architect at a computer software company with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    Top 20
    Provides actionable insights, secures all applications, and has global coverage
    Pros and Cons
    • "It is geographically dispersed, and it sits on top of Google and AWS platforms. Therefore, you don't face the standard issues, such as latency or bandwidth issues, that you usually face in the case of on-prem data centers."
    • "It is a managed firewall. When you run into issues and have to troubleshoot, there is a fair amount of restriction. You run into a couple of restrictions where you don't have any visibility on what is happening on the Palo Alto managed infrastructure, and you need to get on a call to get technical assistance from Palo Alto's technical support. You have to get them to work with you to fix the problem. I would definitely like them to work on the visibility into what happens inside Palo Alto's infrastructure. It is not about getting our hands onto their infrastructure to do troubleshooting or fixing problems; it is just about getting more visibility. This will help us in guiding technical support folks to the area where they need to work."

    What is our primary use case?

    I recently worked on a huge project for a new entity of a major semiconductor company. We had a greenfield deployment where we were building everything from scratch. The primary use case was to build a solution that meets the following requirements:

    • Provides Zero Trust Network Access for all remote users.
    • Provides seamless performance.
    • Avoids all bottlenecks that the traditional VPN concentrators have with regards to being a single point of failure by putting the entire global traffic to a particular VPN concentrator. 

    On the secondary front, we did a couple of integrations with Cisco Viptela. It is an SD-WAN solution for ensuring traffic optimization, traffic steering, branch-to-branch connectivity, and branch cloud connectivity. We had to ensure adequate performance and zero trust and have metrics and security compliance with all standard regulatory frameworks such as GDPR for the European region. This was a huge deployment with a budget of close to 2 million dollars.

    The plugin version is 2.1.086 innovation, and the platform version is 2.1.

    How has it helped my organization?

    It protects all app traffic so that users can gain access to all apps. There are definitely a lot of integrations. Prisma Access also derives the App-ID capability from the Palo Alto Next-Gen firewalls, which is a USP of Palo Alto. So, it inherently has the capability to see and monitor all the traffic and understand all applications. If an application is being tunneled through different ports or protocols just to masquerade the traffic to bypass the traditional security controls, it won't work. Technically, you cannot bypass any of the security controls that Palo Alto has.

    The Single Pass Parallel Processing (SP3) still works with Prisma Access. So, you can have all the integration that you want. It also integrates very well with Prisma SaaS, which is a new solution from Palo Alto.

    It can build IPS tunnels with all vendors that you have. It could be a very small router or a firewall from any vendor. With regards to protocols, traditional IPS used to have a couple of restrictions in terms of inspection and other things, but Prisma Access understands every application and every packet. It can see the higher progress of a session. It is a great product to work with.

    It secures both web-based and non-web-based apps. Traditionally, I used to have problems with web-based and non-web-based traffic. Prisma Access is a full tunnel, and it is fairly agnostic to the type of traffic. It recognizes everything such as a torrent, FTP, or UDP session. It recognizes web applications, non-web applications, or custom applications. We have a couple of applications that are Java-based, custom developed, and custom managed. It is capable of recognizing every application.

    It understands all applications and all standard and custom signatures that you can configure. With regards to the data leaks, it has a network DLP functionality. So, you can potentially configure regex or something else to inspect the traffic and look for patterns, such as credit card numbers and social security numbers. You can define the patterns and put a monitor for notification.

    It provides all capabilities in a single, cloud-delivered platform.

    It provides traffic analysis, threat prevention, URL filtering, and segmentation. Its usage for segmentation is less because we are also using their firewalls. On the transport side, we are using SD-WAN. We cannot do away with any of these features simply because we expect this platform to provide Next-Gen filtering capabilities. URL filtering is definitely important because we don't want to buy another dedicated solution. Threat prevention is like antivirus and anti-spyware, and all IPS functionalities are absolutely mandatory for us. Technically, it does everything that a typical Next-Gen firewall is supposed to do, but it does that in the cloud. So, you get all the scalability and visibility. We absolutely want all these features, and that perhaps was one of the reasons why we went for Prisma Access instead of another product.

    It provides millions of security updates per day, which is important to us. There is something called AutoFocus, which is their threat intel platform. We also get a lot of updates from Unit 42, which is their threat intel feed. We have incorporated that with our platform. It is absolutely essential for us to at least know all known threats so that we can take steps to fix them well in advance. There were recent attacks with regards to SolarWinds and other solutions, and we were able to get timely feeds and notifications from Palo Alto automatically through the signature updates. We also got proactive updates from the Palo Alto technical support. This is absolutely necessary for us, and it keeps all known threats at bay.

    Our implementation is still in progress, and we use its Autonomous Digital Experience Management (ADEM) features for performance-based monitoring, checking the latency, and checking the end-user experience not only based upon a couple of traditional metrics but also based on the actual ones. We don't have a standard benchmark to compare it with, but we definitely have complete visibility of who is doing what and who is getting what type of end-user experience. If someone is working from Seattle and needs to connect to Oregon, we definitely don't want to have the traffic all the way to some data center and then take a zig-zag route. We want it to follow an optimal path. It does provide us actionable insights into what's happening, and we can take corrective measures in the long run.

    ADEM provides real and synthetic traffic analysis. We do have a security operations team that tests and ingests into SIEM/SOAR platforms that do automatic remediation. This is quite crucial because if there is suboptimal routing, it totally destroys the end-user experience. We check for the concentration of the users. Especially at this time when most of the users are working from home or remotely, we need to have such insights so that we can enable all points of presence within Prisma Access to ensure a better end-user experience.

    What is most valuable?

    The model itself is great. It is a managed firewall. If you look at it purely from a technical standpoint, it is a globally distributed and managed firewall platform that sits on top of Google Cloud and AWS. It has a global presence, and that is one of the most important things because this particular client for whom I was building this design has a presence across the globe, including China, where there are few constraints. Its presence and performance are super awesome. 

    It is a natural transition from Palo Alto Next-Gen firewalls. Of course, people who would be managing this platform need some knowledge transfer and training, but it is not a huge leap. That's the beauty of it.

    It is geographically dispersed, and it sits on top of Google and AWS platforms. Therefore, you don't face the standard issues, such as latency or bandwidth issues, that you usually face in the case of on-prem data centers.

    It is fairly simple in terms of administration. It is derived from Palo Alto Next-Gen firewalls that have been in the market for more than a decade. It has evolved from Palo Alto Next-Gen firewalls, and there is only the difference of naming convention. The web interface and the way of managing things are fairly easy.  

    It does whatever they're promising about this particular product. It has all the features that they say. We are leveraging quite a few features, and there are not many features that we are not using. All the features work the way they say. 

    Whatever we've configured is working as promised in terms of security, and I'm fairly certain about the security that it provides. From the security aspect, I would rate it a 10 out of 10.

    What needs improvement?

    It is a managed firewall. When you run into issues and have to troubleshoot, there is a fair amount of restriction. You run into a couple of restrictions where you don't have any visibility on what is happening on the Palo Alto managed infrastructure, and you need to get on a call to get technical assistance from Palo Alto's technical support. You have to get them to work with you to fix the problem. I would definitely like them to work on the visibility into what happens inside Palo Alto's infrastructure. It is not about getting our hands onto their infrastructure to do troubleshooting or fixing problems; it is just about getting more visibility. This will help us in guiding technical support folks to the area where they need to work. 

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've been using this solution for about one and a half to two years. I've been extensively designing, implementing, troubleshooting, and working with Palo Alto for feature edits and update suggestions.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The solution itself is fairly stable. We never faced any outages because of the underlying platform. So, its stability has been good, but I would like more visibility into what is going on inside Palo Alto's infrastructure. 

    They have also been fine in terms of the maintenance that they have been doing outside the maintenance window.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    It is scalable. It sits on top of Google Cloud and Amazon AWS, so it is geographically distributed. The only place where we have connection issues is in China, but this is not because of Prisma Access. It is more related to the data privacy and regulatory restrictions that China has. 

    When we started, which was two months ago, we had about 5,500 users. We probably have more than 1,000 concurrent users. We have 15 or 16 sites. We're going up at quite a good pace, and we would have somewhere close to 30 sites.

    How are customer service and support?

    We have a premium/enterprise license. We never had any problems with getting support, especially on weekdays. Having a premium/enterprise license definitely adds a few points. I would rate them somewhere between a seven and an eight. That's because there is a lack of visibility into what happens inside the infrastructure, and because we can't pinpoint a specific area to them, they need some time to look at where things are wrong.

    With regards to backend maintenance, they have their own schedule of maintenance for their infrastructure. They keep us updated about that well in advance. The preventative maintenance and the communication from them have been fairly smooth, and we never had any issues. 

    How was the initial setup?

    It was fairly straightforward. We started with a couple of proof of concepts, and we've been adding things. We are gradually getting new locations, new sites, and new deployments, and we never faced any challenges in terms of the capabilities of the platform. It has been fairly smooth.

    This was a huge implementation with a couple of dozen sites, and it involved designing, bill of materials, procurement, and implementation. The designing phase took about two months. The implementation took about a month.

    The beauty of it is that we just have a team of five people managing the entire implementation. When it goes to the operation stage, we would definitely need more people because there are different pieces to it, but for the design implementation, we just have five people to manage everything.

    What about the implementation team?

    We implemented it ourselves. 

    What was our ROI?

    This was a greenfield deployment, and we built it from scratch. So, there isn't much of a comparison between what used to happen in the past and what is happening now. However, because it is an OpEx-based or typical cloud-based model where you get charged for whatever you are using, it would potentially bring down the cost of consumption in terms of bandwidth. For example, if we have currently enabled all features, and tomorrow, we find a feature to be redundant and we don't want to use it for a particular location or data stream, we can do away with a couple of controls. We will only get charged for what we are using. It is security as a service and network as a service. As of now, I don't have the exact numbers for the savings that we are looking at, but down the line, it would definitely translate to huge savings in terms of OpEx and CapEx.

    All such platforms require skilled professionals, and because it is derived from traditional Palo Alto firewalls, it is easy to learn. You don't need to spend a lot on training, and as of now, that's definitely a very important factor for us.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    We created a bill of materials and passed it on to a third party. It probably was WWT, but it was sourced by the client itself.

    Based on what I have heard from others, it is a pricey solution as compared to its peers, but I am not sure. However, considering the features that it offers, it is a break-even point. You get whatever they are promising.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We had used Zscaler for a proof of concept, but we wanted segmentation capabilities within the data center as well as for on-prem locations. We wanted to have local segmentation capabilities. We wanted a solution that scales inside the cloud but also on-prem. Zscaler didn't have that model in the past, so we went ahead with Prisma Access. That was the only PoC that we did in addition to Prisma Access.

    With regards to other integrations, the integrations with Cisco SD-WAN still exist, but these are not a competitor of Prisma Access. These are just integrations.

    What other advice do I have?

    If it is a natural transition from a purely on-premises model to a hybrid model where you have a significant number of sites or you are moving towards Zero Trust Network Access for providing a decentralized VPN solution, you should definitely go for it. It provides the entire security stack, so you don't have to keep on adding different solutions and then try permutations to make them work together. Prisma Access does everything beautifully. You don't need a lot of training or develop a lot of skills to manage the solution because it has evolved from Palo Alto Next-Gen firewalls.

    For DLP, we are not using Prisma Access because it is a network DLP. Being a semiconductor company, we needed a couple of controls to ensure that the entire flow of the communication is very well defined. Therefore, we are using different tools that auto-discover, and then we put controls. For example, we have endpoint DLP, network DLP, and email DLP. We don't want to rely on Prisma Access because it sits outside of our perimeter. We want to have as much close control over the source as we can.

    It didn't enable us to deliver better applications because this implementation was done in a silo. This project was not done very sequentially. It has been quite sporadic. The way the solution was built, applications were not at the center. We built it with a top-down approach. It was our first cloud-deployment model, and we haven't faced any problems with any of the standard applications. All the custom apps that we are bringing from the original plan are working the way they're supposed to. So, we never faced any challenges with regards to the performance or the security after deploying these applications. The entire setup is fairly agnostic to the types of applications that we already have, and a couple of them are not standard applications like Office 365, Workday, etc. They are fairly custom apps that you use in your lab environment or manufacturing utilities, and it works with them.

    I would rate it a nine out of 10. Except for the visibility part, it is great. I am taking a few other client projects that are for Fortune 100 companies, and I am doing a lot of refreshes for them. Prisma Access is definitely going to be at the top of my list. It is not because I know this product inside out; it is because of the experience that our clients are getting with it, the security it provides, and the proactive updates that Palo Alto is pushing for Prisma Access.

    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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    Learn what your peers think about Prisma Access by Palo Alto Networks. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: January 2022.
    564,643 professionals have used our research since 2012.
    Max Islam
    Associate Director at Cognizant
    Real User
    Top 20
    Integration with Palo Alto platforms such as Cortex Data Lake and Autofocus gives us visibility into our attack surface
    Pros and Cons
    • "Security is absolutely spot-on, really top-notch. It's the result of all the components that come together, such as the HIP [Host Information Profile] and components like Forcepoint, providing end-user content inspection, and antivirus. It incorporates DLP features and that's fantastic because Prisma Access makes sure that all of the essential prerequisites are in place before a user can log in or can be tunneled into."
    • "It's not really Prisma's fault, but when you try to create exceptions you don't really have those abilities. You cannot say, on the management platform, "Hey, for these users I want to create these exceptions." That is one thing that I have gotten some complaints about, and we have faced some challenges there."

    What is our primary use case?

    We could write a book about our use cases. It provides best-of-breed optimization in CASB and SASE together. Our primary use case is enabling users from all walks of life, and all over the planet, to have remote access in the most optimized way.

    Prisma Access is a SASE-oriented solution, making it a hybrid and SaaS. Of course, it's built on Google's high-capacity backbone, but it is provider-neutral.

    How has it helped my organization?

    With the centralized remote access solution we had before, F5, we used to see a lot of latency and a lot of intermittent disconnects. But our people have reported that they like Prisma Access so much better in terms of speed and how it operates. The user experience is so much better in terms of throughput. They don't see as much lag. Of course, there are users who don't have the most stable internet connection, but even for those users, by optimizing data reduction, it works better. We can't really help users who have some sort of wireless connection, because if their underpinning link is not good, this overlay won't do much. But for users who are using a satisfactory type of connectivity, even for people who are on 10 Mbps, it works well.

    In addition, from an application accessibility standpoint, the integrated features that come with the QoS mean you can choose what types of applications get higher priority than others. It optimizes applications for QoS prioritization.

    What is most valuable?

    At the end of the day, the most valuable feature of Prisma Access is user accessibility and performance. For us, it all comes down to how well this product performs.

    In addition to that, we feel that the security is absolutely spot-on, really top-notch. It's the result of all the components that come together, such as the HIP [Host Information Profile] and components like Forcepoint, providing end-user content inspection, and antivirus. It incorporates DLP features and that's fantastic because Prisma Access makes sure that all of the essential prerequisites are in place before a user can log in or can be tunneled into. Until these requirements are met at a satisfactory level, it doesn't let you in. Once users are onboarded, they are going through Palo Alto's firewall inspection. Users' traffic is encapsulated and inspected well. It gives us the flexibility to apply various policies and inspections. All of these come into play and give us peace of mind that this platform is best-in-class in terms of security features and tool integration.

    The architecture is essentially a fabric-type SASE-based architecture. From a technical leadership standpoint, we are very pleased and satisfied with how efficient the product is, especially, again, when it comes to security.

    One of the features that we really like in Prisma Access is its integration capabilities with Palo Alto's other platforms such as Cortex Data Lake. The best thing about it is that it gives us visibility and clarity. We can say, "This is what our threat metrics framework looks like. Yesterday we had this many potential threats, and out of that, this many have been fended off or mitigated." It gives us a really good single pane of glass that tells us what our attack surface looks like and how things have been mitigated." It gives us data that we can utilize for the benefit of our users and our senior executives.

    From a user standpoint, it's very easy and very usable. Our users have used F5's products and it's not much different. There can be intricacies in that you have to have your laptops' antivirus protection updated, but that's not a big deal. Those are the types of things that users have to comply with anyway.

    Traffic analysis, threat prevention, URL filtering, and segmentation are some of the features that come with Palo Alto itself. On the cloud controller platforms you have the ability to enforce controls, including things like the application layer inspection, granular policy constructs, as well as app-ID-based and application layer inspection. The inspection engines, such as the antivirus, malware, spyware, and vulnerability protection, are integrated into Palo Alto's cloud services platform. These features are quintessential to our entire cloud services security fabric. Users are users. You never know what's going to happen to a user. If somebody goes to Madagascar or to Bali and gets compromised, it is our job to protect that user and the organization. All of these interrelated features come into play for those purposes.

    What needs improvement?

    The challenges we have faced are not connected with Prisma's core fabric, but more with the end-user. To use the GlobalProtect client and meet all the requirements, your laptop or your end-user system has to be at a point where things are up to date. It's not really Prisma's fault, but when you try to create exceptions you don't really have those abilities. You cannot say, on the management platform, "Hey, for these users I want to create these exceptions." That is one thing that I have gotten some complaints about, and we have faced some challenges there.

    It's always a challenge when people at the executive level start complaining because they're using the latest version of the MacBook Pro and it's not playing very well with Prisma.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I used the predecessor to Prisma Access, which was GlobalProtect Cloud Services and I have been using Prisma Access for a good two years.

    How are customer service and support?

    I wouldn't call their technical support a pain point, but they need to improve it. That is one of the biggest drawbacks.

    How was the initial setup?

    It was pretty straightforward at the PoC level. But the rollout of something like this across an enterprise is never like a one-shot thing. We went through some bumps and bruises and roadblocks along the way, but, overall, it was a pretty straightforward path.

    The entire onboarding took around four months for our approximately 20,000 users.

    On a day-to-day basis, we have security engineers and SMEs managing the platform. But there are not as many intricacies and challenges as there are in some of the other products that we deal with. From administrative, operational, and management standpoints, the way Prisma has let us do it, things are pretty efficient.

    What about the implementation team?

    We used Palo Alto's professional services.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    It's pricey, it's not cheap. But you get what you pay for.

    My most crucial advice to colleagues who are looking to purchase this product would be to look at it from a 50,000-foot point of view, and then narrow it down to 40,000, 30,000, 20,000, and 10,000. The reason I say that is because, at the 50,000-foot view, the executives care about the pricing and the costing model; it's all about budget and how they can save the organization money.

    If you are in a high-end organization, this is the product you had better get, hands-down. If you are an executive at a highly visible bank, please get your head out of the sand and see what is best for your organization. If you are a manufacturing company that doesn't need this level of integrative security, go get something else, something cheaper, because you don't need this extensive level of security controls and throughput. But if you want to get the best-of-breed, then Palo Alto's product is what you should definitely get.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    Our journey with Prisma Access started out with a battlecard comparison of what Prisma Access had to offer versus what ZPA [Zscaler Private Access], Symantec, and F5 had to offer. In doing all of these comparisons, we realized that Palo Alto had built a cloud services fabric that is user-first and security-first.

    If I compare Zscaler and Prisma Access, not all of the security controls that are in place with Zscaler are inherent to their own fabric. Zscaler has done a fantastic job with ZPA in terms of putting the components together. But when it comes to security enforcement, they are lagging behind on some things. One of them is the native security control component enforcement on their fabric. We feel like that is not done as efficiently as Prisma access does.

    In a simple scenario when doing a side-by-side comparison, if we were onboarding and providing access to an end-user using ZPA, they would be able to get on and do their job fine. But when it comes to interoperability, cross-platform integration, and security enforcement, we feel that ZPA lacks some of the next-gen, advanced features that Prisma Access has to offer. Prisma Access provides us with cross-platform integration with things like Palo Alto AutoFocus and Cortex Data Lake, which is great. ZPA does not provide all of these extensive security features that we need. In a side-by-side comparison, this is where Prisma Access outshines its competitors.

    With all of that in mind, the big question in our minds was, "Well, can you prove it?" PoCs are just PoCs. Where the rubber meets the road is when you can prove your claims. Palo Alto said, "Okay, sure. Let us show you how you can integrate with your existing antivirus platform, your existing content filtering platform, and your existing DLP platforms." We gave it a try. And then, we did various types of pen testing ourselves to see if it was really working the way they said it would. For example, could you take an encrypted file and try to bypass the DLP features? The answer was no. Prisma Access made sure that all of the compensating controls were not only in place but also being enforced. "In place" means you have a security guard, but you have told him to just keep a watch on things. If you have a robbery going on, just watch and don't do anything. Let the robbers do whatever they want. Don't even call the police. Prisma Access doesn't just watch, it calls the police.

    What other advice do I have?

    There are some encrypted traffic flows that you're not supposed to decrypt and intercept, but even for those we have constructs that give us at least some level of inspection. Once tunnels are established, we have policies to inspect them to a certain extent. We try to make sure that pretty much everything that needs to be inspected is inspected. All of this comes down to accountability and to protecting our users.

    Organizations with a worldwide footprint and distributed-services architecture require best-in-class security. Health organizations and pharmaceutical companies also do, because they are dealing with highly sensitive patient data or customer data. Organizations like these that have public, internet-facing web applications, need top-of-the-line security. Prisma Access, from an interoperability standpoint, addresses the big question of how well their web-facing applications are protected from potential malicious attacks. And the answer is that it is all integrative, all a part of a fabric with interrelated components. It protects the users who are accessing the corporate network and the corporate network from any potential risk from those users. Prisma Access gives us the ability to design architectural artifacts, like zones and segments, that really make for effective protection for web-facing components and internal applications.

    In terms of Prisma Access providing all its capabilities in a single, cloud-delivered platform, not everything gets on the cloud. You cannot take a mainframe and put it on the cloud. You have to understand the difference between Prisma Access and Prisma Cloud. Prisma Access is all about user accessibility to enterprise networks in the most secure way possible. Prisma Cloud is the platform to integrate various cloud environments into a unified fabric.

    As for Prisma Access providing millions of security updates per day, I don't know if there are millions, but it is important. We take advantage of some of the automated features that Palo Alto has provided us. We try not to get into the granular level too much because it increases the administrative overhead. We don't have the time or the manpower to drill into millions of updates.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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    Senior Network / ITOps Engineer at a leisure / travel company with 201-500 employees
    Real User
    Top 20
    Single pane of glass for security and network management - Reduces operational complexity and administrative overhead
    Pros and Cons
    • "It's much faster and more secure than legacy solutions. It is also quite stable and scalable as well. We are able to see all the traffic in one place."
    • "It would be nice to manage Prisma Access through the cloud instead of through Panorama. You can use the cloud version to monitor Prisma Access, but it doesn't have all the features yet, and it's not 100% done."

    What is our primary use case?

    We are a small team of ITOps Engineers. With Prisma, we can manage all our Edge Network Infrastructure (Mobile Users, Remote Networks, and Data Centers) in one location.

    We also decommissioned our  legacy MPLS connections and moved to VPN. If we need to expand to more offices, different countries, and different regions, it would be much simpler to do it with Prisma Access because the only things required are an internet connection and a pair of firewalls. 

    How has it helped my organization?

    On our IT team, we now have a single interface (using Palo Alto Panorama) where we can monitor our whole infrastructure. The office and Data Center Firewalls, as well as, the Remote User VPN, forward all the traffic to the Prisma Access Infrastructure. There we can apply deep packet inspection and allow or deny traffic, and also apply additional security features like threat prevention, DNS security, malware and anti-virus protection etc.

    For remote users, the VPN connection is more secure and much faster than the legacy solutions. Some of our users are located in different European countries. Now they can pick their closest location and connect to a VPN "concentrator" near their region. Whereas before, they needed to connect with one of our data centers in the UK. 

    Since everything is connected to Prisma, now we are able to be more proactive, detect end-user or site connectivity issues much faster. Before we were running multiple applications (NMS, Syslog, Netflow) that required a lot of engineering overhead to manage those, but also to extract the information needed. Now a lot of those tasks can be picked by the Service Desk team. 

    In addition, similarly to any other Cloud "Platform" the administrative tasks have been dramatically decreased. The upgrade process is very simple compared with any on-premise solution.

    What is most valuable?

    I don't think we have actually fully utilised all the functions of Prisma yet. The main concept of Prisma Access is what really help us to transition our infrastructure from a legacy and complex approach to a more simple and easy to manage and maintain one.


    Prisma Access has three major components / connections: 

    - Remote connections: The links to the Remote Offices 

    - Mobile Users 

    - Service Connections : The links to the Data Centers. 

    You connect everything by establishing VPN tunnels with the Prisma Access Infrastructure. Prisma is now the “brain” of the infrastructure. All edge devices send all traffic to Prisma and Prisma has the knowledge to route the traffic to the correct destination. In addition you can also apply all the additional security features a NGFW can offer. 

    Since this is a cloud platform you can easily scale up adding more mobile users or new remote offices. Prisma will simple auto-run (if needed) additional instances in the cloud to support your load 

    Also,  because everything's on the cloud, we don't have to worry about patching; we get all the new features as they come in. One of the biggest problems for us used to be to upgrade our VPN application. Now, it can be done with a click of a button. The administrative overhead has been reduced, and we are able to focus on things that actually matter.

    What needs improvement?

    The only drawback at the moment is that a “Cloud” solution like Prisma Access requires Palo Alto Panorama, which is normally a VM that sits in your DataCenter. Panorama is used for monitoring and mainly for configuring the different components of Prisma Access.


    For the configuration part, Palo Alto has recently introduced an equivalent cloud application, but not all features are available yet. Also at this moment if you enable Prisma Access with Panorama you cannot migrate to the Cloud version.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've been working with the Palo Alto team since the beginning of the year (2021), when we started the initial setup. It took us around 2 months (multiple weekly sessions) to complete the setup. And the last 2 months we are fully utilising the Prisma components (Remote Networks, Service Connections and Mobile Users)

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    We have utilised Prisma Access for the late couple of months. Now we are in the process of migrating all our Remote users from the on premise Firewalls to the Prisma Access VPN as a Service solution. 

    Over this period we haven't faced any connectivity issues. Prisma Access underlying infrastructure is high available and scalable. 

    As any major Cloud Vendors line Google or AWS we may face outages in the future, but we havent experience any problems yet. 

    As with any infrastructure where the managent plane is in the cloud, we can know schedule an upgrade and the Prisma will take care the rest. No more complicated upgrade processes that could lead to outages and downtimes. 

    A few days ago the Prisma Access dataplane was upgraded. We had zero downtime and the auto-procwss went smoothly (as expected).

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    As for scalability, you can easily bring more users to the platform; you would just need to buy additional licenses.

    There is no need for purchasing new and more powerful hardware. Palo Alto will scale your platform up to support your infrastructure.

    Simple integration with LDAP, SAML can help us to provision 100s of users quickly and onboard more users are the company is getting out of the pandemic freeze period.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    I think Palo Alto has great technical support in terms of the time of response and the efficiency of response.

    Over the past few months we raised multiple tickets (P2-P4). On all of them the responses were quick within the SLA timelines. All the support Engineers had deep knowledge of the product, and always went above and beyond not only by fixing our issues, but also by trying to explain us why was misconfigured or what actually went wrong. Everyone had great communication skills, they were patient and listening our needs and requirements.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    We used local Cisco ASA Firewalls that were located in our two UK offices.Normally we had around 10-15 % of our users working remotely. During the pandemic we had to setup around 500 users to connect to the VPN. Unfortunately our ASAs had limited capabilities (250 max users for the 5515-X and 100 for the 5508-X). Our temporary solution was to use the AWS VPN solution for the remaining users. 

    At that point we realised that we need a flexible and scalable solution. In addition the company has embraced the cloud first approach a few years back by moving all our servers to the cloud, so utilising a VPN as a Service (offered by Prisma Access) was an expected next  step. 

    In my team there are Cisco certified engineers and we have been using Cisco products for many years, but for my opinion when it comes to security and NGFWs, but they haven't reached the level of Prisma Access by Palo Alto Networks. I believe Palo Alto is the key player in the market. 

    How was the initial setup?

    We had a mixture of different applications and vendors, and we wanted to merge everything under Prisma Access. The terminology is a bit different between Palo Alto and Cisco ASA, and between their local firewalls and the Prisma Access firewalls. It took us about a month to wrap our heads around it and understand how things worked. Once we did that, it was easy to implement. We have gradually migrated all our services. We did our MPLS and the connection to AWS, and now, we're slowly migrating the users. No one has noticed, so it has been seamless.

    We don't have a big infrastructure and did the migration piece by piece, and it was really easy and seamless.

    To set up the infrastructure with the team, it took us less than a week. The gradual migration took us three weeks, but the basic setup takes less than a week.

    What about the implementation team?

    We used the Palo Alto professional services, which mainly help us though multiple Zoom sessions to understand all the Prisma components and also to configure the core Prisma setup. The fine tuning was done by the in-house team. 

    We had a great experience. All the Palo Alto consultants had a great knowledge of the product and they were very helpful, making it very simple for us to understand this new Platform. They were never leaving any questions unanswered and they were always providing accurate documentation and references for my team to get the required knowledge and to understand / follow up during the Setup.

    What was our ROI?

    I think the ROI has been good. We no longer need people to maintain the whole infrastructure, and we do not need to spend money on different services that we no longer use like MPLS or other kinds of support.

    Also, the fact that we can quickly scale up without worrying about buying additional licensing is great for us.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    The price has been good for the ROI during these difficult times for the cruise industry. With Prisma, you need three types of licenses

    - Palo Alto support

    - Number of Remote Users that are connected to VPN (concurrent connections)

    - Total Bandwidth between Remote Sites offices and Prisma. If you have three or fewer DCs then you don't have to purchase additional connections or bandwidth.

    There are no hidden costs; what the product offers is what you get.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We didn't run any PoC with other vendors. Before we were introduced to Prisma Access we were thinking of moving also our Firewalls to Meraki (as we will do with our switches). I believe no other vendor can offer what Palo Alto with Prisma provides, at least at this moment.

    What other advice do I have?

    In my experience, Prisma Access is a great platform. However, since SASE is a new fairly new concept, it was a bit confusing to understand all the  different components and how all of them work together. On top of that if you are not very familiar with Palo Alto firewalls and especially Palo Alto Panorama, additional training would be recommended. Of course the same concepts of a NGFW from any other vendor are applied. 


     Once you grasp how Prisma Access works, then it's really a piece of cake to set everything up.

    For example, we are a small team of three people, and I'm the senior network engineer. My VPN knowledge was not good because we've mainly had MPLS. Still, it was very easy to set everything up.

    You setup everything through the web GUI (Palo Alto Panorama). You don't need to know a lot about CLI. With Cisco devices, you have to be an expert in CLI to set up a few things.

    On a scale from one to ten, I would rate Prisma Access by Palo Alto Networks at ten because it's an innovative product. They “invented” the whole concept (SASE), and they're way ahead of other competitors.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    Public Cloud

    If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

    Amazon Web Services (AWS)
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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    Senior Network Consultant at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
    MSP
    Top 5Leaderboard
    Enables us to meet performance and security requirements for Office 365 traffic
    Pros and Cons
    • "Being able to use the user ID or Active Directory Group is one of the great features for control and providing more flexibility without worrying about IP addresses."
    • "When we deploy firewall rules via Panorama, we find it's a little bit slow. We have a global environment and might have 100 gateways or VPNs in the cloud. When we deploy something, it tries to deploy it one-by-one, and that can be slow."

    What is our primary use case?

    We're migrating customers from existing Cisco AnyConnect VPN to Prisma Access GlobalProtect VPN.

    How has it helped my organization?

    GlobalProtect VPN is a brand new concept compared to Cisco AnyConnect VPN. The huge difference is that if a user is working from home and needs access to Office 365, the way traffic is usually sent will potentially increase the delay. Some companies open split tunneling for users and they are able to send a request to Office 365 directly, but there is a loss of control from the network and security perspectives.

    Since we started using GlobalProtect VPN, all the traffic is monitored, even for a user who needs access to Office 365. The traffic from the user's PC will connect to the closed and available VPN boxes, depending on the location. The traffic from that box will head to Office 365, meaning it will meet the performance and as well as security requirements. So that's one, the huge difference.

    The other difference, in my experience with Cisco VPN, is that we normally control traffic based on source address, destination address, and destination port. But with Prisma Access, and using a lot of features from Palo Alto firewalls, we control the source, in particular, with the user ID or an Active Directory Group, instead of an IP address. The benefit for the user of using the user ID or Active Directory Group is in the following scenario. Suppose a user is usually in the United States but goes on a business trip to the UK. With a regular VPN, the user in the U.S. has a subnet. But when they travel to the UK, the IP just will be changed and there will be a totally different subnet. The access they had in the States may be lost when connecting from the UK. But using the user ID or Active Directory Group, the ID is always there no matter whether they are in the States, the UK, or anywhere else. That makes it more flexible for a user who is working remotely, traveling, or roaming.

    In addition, performance-wise, a lot of applications have improved because the cloud-based VPN, based on the geographical location, provides a more optimized path and potentially reduces the latency. That provides better performance, but it depends on the applications.

    What is most valuable?

    Being able to use the user ID or Active Directory Group is one of the great features for control and providing more flexibility without worrying about IP addresses. 

    Prisma Access has a lot of other features. Instead of VPN, its gateway is able to decrypt traffic and, potentially, inspect it. This feature is more likely to be used by companies using Websense or a proxy server. Prisma Access or Prisma VPN has merged VPN, firewall, and some of the Websense-type and proxy functions. This means that four or five components have become one now.

    The solution also protects all app traffic, meaning that users can access all apps. All traffic is sent through the Prisma devices. Even a user who reaches Office 365 with a load closed location is still controlled by the VPN boxes, and from the security and network perspectives, we can still see all of the traffic, meaning everything is under control.

    In addition, there is something called Pre-logon with Prisma VPN, which means before you log in to the PC with the user ID, domain, and password, the PC automatically connects to the Prisma VPN. That means you already have some basic access, like to Office 365. In case the VPN box is having issues, the user still has access to Outlook, Teams, Word documents, et cetera. The Pre-logon features make things really convenient.

    Another nice feature for users is that Prisma VPN saves the user session for seven days instead of, with Cisco VPN, only one day. As a result, the user doesn't need to connect to the VPN every day. After a week, once it expires, they will need to log in with the username and password, but it still keeps the security intact.

    There is also the ability to do a HIP (Host Information Profile) check. We can check things like whether a device's operating systems are properly patched, that the antivirus software meets security requirements, and that the hard drive is encrypted. The latter is important because if the laptop is lost, the data can be stolen. A HIP check enables us to make sure the endpoint maintains the security requirements. That helps make things more secure.

    And as a cloud-based solution, there are a lot of redundancies. I'm in Canada and have a gateway in Canada. In case the getaway or VPN box in Canada dies, they will automatically reroute me to New York or any other location that is available. In addition, if the cloud-based solution has an issue, we still have the on-prem firewall or VPN in place in our data centers, which means everything falls back to something that is just like Cisco VPN, but it is Palo Alto. But that is only happening in DR situations. The fact that Prisma Access is cloud-based also makes it easier to connect from our environment to cloud-computing environments.

    What needs improvement?

    I can't think of many things that need real improvement. But one thing that comes to mind is that when we deploy firewall rules via Panorama, we find it's a little bit slow. We have a global environment and might have 100 gateways or VPNs in the cloud. When we deploy something, it tries to deploy it one-by-one, and that can be slow. For example, one time we pushed a firewall change and the changes took about 10 minutes to finish up. If they could optimize the whole process to speed up that kind of deployment, that would be especially helpful.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using Prisma Access by Palo Alto Networks for close to two years, including the testing and eventually working on it in the production environment.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    As of now, we have deployed it for 25 percent of our employees globally and, so far, it has been stable. We haven't seen a situation where it is working one day and totally stops working the next. 

    There are still some bugs and sometimes we encounter issues and we have to open a case with Palo Alto to ask them to fix things. Because this is a new solution in the market, having been introduced two or three years ago, the overall stability is good, but they can still enhance that aspect even more.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The scalability is pretty good. Since we bought it, we have added more and more users and had no issues. And because it's cloud-based, they can add VPN boxes in the cloud and, for us, that process is transparent, which is pretty good.

    How are customer service and support?

    All in all, tech support has satisfied us. We are a big customer, and they have two tech engineers working with us when we deploy and when we do a migration. We always have them with us, especially via conference calls.

    The support is timely, but there is still some room for improvement because, when we open cases with them, some agents are not as timely about fixing problems as others.

    But overall, we are satisfied with their services.

    How would you rate customer service and support?

    Positive

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was not too complicated, but it still took a little time to get familiar with it. The good thing is that Prisma VPN uses our existing Panorama centralized management tool, which we use to manage Palo Alto firewalls and VPNs. Because the centralized management tool is very familiar to us, it helped us in using the new solution. But, of course, since it is a cloud-based VPN, it did take a little bit of time to get used to, but after we got used to it, it became straightforward.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    It is pretty expensive. We have to balance the cost of some features. They need to work on some of the services and products, price-wise.

    What other advice do I have?

    The importance of the combination of the solution's traffic analysis, threat prevention, URL filtering, and segmentation depends on the business. Some business lines are very critical so we might potentially apply more features to them, but everything has pros and cons. Applying more features potentially slows down the performance, so we have to balance between security and performance. But so far, in most situations, we don't have any concerns because we already apply the HIP check to make sure the laptop side meets all kinds of security requirements, based on our internal policies. Also, we are able to see all the traffic logs. Even though it's a huge amount of data, and we're not currently doing so, we're potentially able to investigate or analyze things. 

    It is a good solution and a new direction for many companies, especially big companies with global offices. Overall, the security that Prisma Access provides definitely meets our security requirements. Otherwise, we wouldn't be using this solution. The majority of companies, including a bank or any other financial company, should be happy with this solution.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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    Toby Ashmore
    Network Administrator Specialist at a government with 501-1,000 employees
    Real User
    Cloud-based VPN solution grabs user's config, and our firewall doesn't see any extra traffic as a result
    Pros and Cons
    • "I like it because it's very easy to use. You install the client and you have to know your gateway, but that's something we give to our users. Beyond that, it takes about three seconds to train them on how to use it. And it just works well. That's great for us because it means less administrative time."
    • "The one thing that I've been a little bit disappointed with is when we have had to open cases with Palo Alto about Prisma Access issues. Versus their other platforms, like their firewalls, where we tend to get really quick responses and very definitive answers, the few tickets I've had to open for Prisma Access have taken them longer to respond to. And they haven't necessarily given me the kind of answer I was looking for, meaning a fix to the problem."

    What is our primary use case?

    One of our use cases is that it is used by our internal users, our employees, when they need to work remotely. They'll be out in the field and, wherever they have an internet connection, they run the GlobalProtect client, connect, and they can access our resources as if they're in our building. For example, we have health inspectors who go to different sites.

    Of course, we're doing more teleworking like everyone right now. Also, our admins all use it because that's how we get in and do remote work. And, periodically, we have contractors or vendors who need remote access. We'll build an account in AD and either have them download the client and connect to us, or if they currently use the GlobalProtect client for some other VPN connection, we can just provide our gateway and they can use their existing client to connect to the resources that we allow them.

    We also have a clientless VPN by Palo Alto. It's a website where you can enter your AD credentials, and it will publish internal web apps that you can access through a browser. We have some users, and a set of contractors, who use that to access some of our internal systems for COVID response.

    It's a cloud-based VPN, but it's managed from our Panorama instance, which is on-site. There's the GlobalProtect client that gets installed, that's the VPN client on your laptop, and that automatically updates from the cloud when a new version is available.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Prisma Access is our first cloud-based VPN solution. I like that aspect because I don't have all the traffic hitting my firewall interface directly. Users go to the cloud, wherever they are, and connect to some kind of cloud. It will grab their config, and our firewall doesn't see any extra traffic from that. That's awesome.

    Because we are in the health sector, the clientless, web-based VPN that we're using has allowed us to partner with some external companies to do contact tracing for COVID. That means that if someone is positive for COVID, those companies track back to the people they have been in contact with and try to find the source. The fact that the only way a couple of hundred of our employees can access our records at any time is through the web-based VPN has really improved our ability to respond to the pandemic.

    What is most valuable?

    I like it because it's very easy to use. You install the client and you have to know your gateway, but that's something we give to our users. Beyond that, it takes about three seconds to train them on how to use it. And it just works well. That's great for us because it means less administrative time.

    It's also nice that Prisma Access provides all its capabilities in a single, cloud-delivered platform. 

    The thick client secures non-web apps in addition to web-based apps. If you have the client installed on your laptop, it's a completely secure VPN connection and anything you run will be secured by it. The clientless VPN, the web-based one, only allows you to redirect to URLs; it's only web. Being able to access non-web apps is important to us because it's how we get our remote work done. Not everything is web-based. We have to run applications and access Windows shares and the like. 

    This ability helps decrease the risk of data breach. Information security is more and more a huge concern for everyone. Knowing that everything's going across an encrypted tunnel, and that we can manage what is accessed by which user, are huge benefits.

    Another important aspect is that Prisma Access provides millions of security updates per day, because security has really become our number-one focus lately. That feature is very good.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've been using Prisma Access by Palo Alto Networks for about two years, maybe a little longer.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It has been very stable. We've had a couple of small outages, but overall it's very trustworthy and stable.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    It's cloud-based, so it's infinitely scalable. For us, it has worked fine. We went from a few users at first and we built up to hundreds.

    It's our clientless VPN that really builds up our user count. It is consistently between 300 and 400 users. It rises and falls depending on what kind of campaign we're doing. If a new COVID variant is discovered and we have to ramp things up because of CDC guidance, the user count will bump up.

    How are customer service and support?

    The one thing that I've been a little bit disappointed with is when we have had to open cases with Palo Alto about Prisma Access issues. Versus their other platforms, like their firewalls, where we tend to get really quick responses and very definitive answers, the few tickets I've had to open for Prisma Access have taken them longer to respond to. And they haven't necessarily given me the kind of answer I was looking for, meaning a fix to the problem. Maybe this technology is not as cut and dry as some of their other technologies. But I think they could improve their support offering for Prisma a little bit and put more expertise in place.

    Overall, I'm very happy with Palo Alto's support. I'm not saying that their Prisma support is awful. It just hasn't been quite up to par with other support I've seen from them, which has been pretty phenomenal.

    How would you rate customer service and support?

    Positive

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    For VPN, we used Cisco AnyConnect. The switch to Prisma Cloud was part of a platform switch from Cisco ASA to Palo Alto firewalls.

    We also have other solutions, such as a virtual desktop solution that is available externally. Some of our users use that and others use the VPN.

    How was the initial setup?

    The setup was medium complex. Because of the way we're doing it through our Panorama, it's a little more complex than it would be on the cloud-only solution. There is definitely some  complexity to it.

    What about the implementation team?

    I wasn't involved in the initial deployment of it, but our organization worked with a vendor called CompuNet, a company with Palo Alto expertise. I would guess it took one to two days to get through everything and test it. 

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    The evaluation happened before my time here, but we had people who had worked with Palo Alto previously. They knew its reputation and were happy with it. I think the switch happened directly.

    What other advice do I have?

    It functions like a lot of other VPN solutions. It's not special in that sense. It just works.

    I have spoken with another agency that was looking at Prisma Access. The one thing they weren't aware of was the clientless, web-based VPN that is part of the product. They were pretty excited when I explained to them how we use it. So make sure you review the full feature set that Prisma Access offers. It may be broader than you expected.

    We are using it as a hybrid solution where we manage it through our onsite firewall. There is a Prisma Access full-cloud solution where you do all the management there. If we were to start over again today, I would probably go full-cloud. That would ease the management a little bit. People who are using the cloud-only solution probably have fewer hoops to jump through to get certain things accomplished. But we've been fine.

    The biggest issue I've run into is that most of the documentation for Prisma Access is based on the full-cloud model, as opposed to our hybrid implementation. It's a little trickier to find out how to implement some of those changes through Panorama. There are also some connectors you have to set up to make sure that your Panorama is talking to the cloud the way it should. Those wouldn't be necessary in the cloud version, and that means it's probably a little easier to sync your AD, set up your users in the cloud, and you're done. Everything is already on the cloud.

    Overall, I'm very happy with the security provided by Prisma Access. Palo Alto is a security company and is always working on ways to make things more secure. I feel very confident that our data is safe using the solution, which is the whole point.

    Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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    Naresh Pratap
    Senior Network Security Lead at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    Top 20
    Good VPN access with great security and good scalability
    Pros and Cons
    • "The scalability of the solution is excellent."
    • "There is some particular traffic that the security team wants to filter out and apply their own policies and they cannot."

    What is our primary use case?

    One of the main advantages we have found of Prisma Access is that it has gateways across multiple continents. Due to that, many users can connect from different parts of the world will be able to access everything very fast. Also, internet access through VPN has become much simpler in getting the traffic to our on-prem data center.

    How has it helped my organization?

    The main example is my particular client that has employees working from different parts of the world - Malaysia, Singapore, India, Europe, and even the Middle East. The use of multiple continental gateways has helped us a lot. The users who are working in different parts of India can connect to different gateways. There are four gateways, including in India itself, the Middle East, and Europe as well.

    What is most valuable?

    The WildFire Analysis is one of the good features we observed. Due to the fact that the traffic from the user to the internet is not passing under our on-prem, there is generally less control over it. With the help of WildFire Analysis, we are able to make sure the users are not downloading or accessing any malicious sites or any malware or anything.

    The use of Microsoft Teams from a VPN used to give some issues earlier, however, with the Prisma Cloud, that has improved quite a lot. Even if you're tunneling the traffic of MS Teams through this Prisma terminal, there has been no issues yet. The VPN access it allows for is great.

    The stability of the solution is very good.

    The scalability of the solution is excellent.

    What needs improvement?

    Our security team had a concern that they are not able to filter out a few things. There is some particular traffic that the security team wants to filter out and apply their own policies and they cannot. Earlier, we used our on-prem solution for that, however, when it is in the cloud, the problem is that it has to be done manually. When we do changes on the on-prem, it will not automatically sync to the cloud. Therefore, manually, the admin has to do changes on the on-prem for spam filtering and at the same time on the cloud as well.

    We actually faced some a problem with using the failure of authentication. Our primary authentication happens through a RADIUS server, to a non-IP solution, so that there is a double-factor authentication. In that double-factor authentication, we are using three different RADIUS servers. Apart from that our requirement was that if all our RADIUS servers failed, we wanted the authentication of users to fall back to LDAR.

    The problem we faced is that each RADIUS server was consuming 40 seconds each for the timeout, and then only will it go to LDAR. However, the total timeout of the global product timeout, we are not able to adjust. If you take an on-prem Palo Alto device, you can adjust or increase the Global Protect time out value from 30 seconds to up to 125 seconds or 150 seconds. Later, we were able to resolve this by reducing the timeout value for each RADIUS server.

    Technical support could be a lot better.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We have deployed the Prisma solution and environment almost six months ago and we have been using it for the last six months.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The solution is very stable. It doesn't have bugs and glitches. It doesn't crash or freeze.

    So far, we haven't observed any such issues. We have been closely monitoring for the last six months but there have been no issues with latency or anything. The only thing we are worried about is that what if something goes from the cloud if the cloud set up as an issue. So far, we haven't encountered such an issue yet, however, the client is always worried about that point as all these things are happening externally to our own firm. That said, so far it hasn't given any trouble.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Scalability-wise it's a very good solution as we will be able to increase the number of users or decrease the number of users or even the bandwidth. Scalability-wise it's a perfect solution.

    This solution is used by little over 8,000 users in our intranet and the user roles span from high-level management up to the contacts and their employees who are supporting the calls and the suppliers for the telecom. It is being used by a lot of different variety of users, management, IT, admin, business users, call center users, everyone.

    When we decode, we decode it for 10,000 users. So far, we haven't increased it yet. In the future, if our number of user accounts increases or if the Work from Home situation due to COVID continues, then maybe our client will think about increasing it.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Technical support for this solution is via one of our third-party vendors. One problem is that the third-party vendor is not able to resolve all the issues. They will have to go to Palo Alto technical support via their exclusive support. One problem is ASP. Palo Alto is taking a lot of time for coming online and supporting that could be for a minor issue or a major issue. The time taken by Palo Alto Support to get online and support us has been a pain area. We're not really that satisfied.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    Before Prisma, we were using the Palo Alto on-prem solution, Global Protect Solution. We had Palo Alto firewalls in our on-prem which we were using for VPN and before that, we used a few VPN solutions.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was a mix of difficult and straightforward. We did the deployment in phases for users across different continents. By the time we finished the deployment, which took nearly six months, it was in our case a stable solution and simple to use as well. However, it took a while as we were working on different continents and moving from one to the other in a particular order.

    The team was a combination. The team was a combination of one of the vendors in Malaysia and my team, who's from a client end. So there was a total of seven members in the team.

    Our implementation strategy was as follows: we already had one Palo Alto Global Protect Retail Solution, so it was not big trouble for us to migrate it to a cloud. We started implementing, planning the redundancy for such two different sites. We established the IP set terminals with our two different sites, which will terminate from the cloud to Palo Alto VPN Box on our on-prem. Then, we gradually migrated the users from on-prem to the cloud.

    In terms of maintenance, first of all, we have to keep on monitoring it. If there is something wrong with the cloud, we will have to get the alert and act accordingly. Maintenance-wise so far we have increased the bandwidth for internet links. At that time we had set up redundancy and there was no trouble with that. Apart from that, so far, no other maintenance has been done.

    What about the implementation team?

    We had a vendor assist us a bit during the implementation.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    I can't speak to the licensing costs. We had a two-year license, which we are still on.

    What other advice do I have?

    We're just customers and end-users.

    We are using a SaaS version of the solution.

    I will definitely recommend implementing this product as it has a very good scalable solution. Considering this work from home scenario in COVID, it is one of the best solutions one can implement. However, my advice would be to make sure you have enough internet bandwidth while implementing and also make sure there is site-level redundancy at your end. If you are a client then you won't implement it. Make sure there are two separate IP set terminals published from the client to your end. That way, if something goes wrong, your internet goes down or something, the VPN will be accessible.

    One good lesson I have learned is that earlier in my thought process related to VPN was very narrow. I never thought that you can put it across multiple continental gateways and allow users to access it so fast. 

    I'd rate the solution nine out of ten.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    Real User
    Beneficial single platform delivery, protects application data well, but reports lacking
    Pros and Cons
    • "The solution has all its capabilities in a single cloud delivery platform which is great and it provides overall good protection."
    • "If you compare Prisma SaaS against other products, such as Cloud Log, it's a little bit tricky to understand, but it offers different functionality that other products don't have. From a user usability point of view, you need some training for this product, as an admin, you need a couple of demos."

    What is our primary use case?

    We are using Prisma SaaS for products. We use many content-based platforms and we were using this product to perform policy detection. If someone is sharing something publicly, externally, from our domain, which is risky. This product allows you to write policies, and those policies will detect content, which captures them in the policy category or in the criteria. You then can add remediation action for protection.

    We deploy the solution using their infrastructure and we connected that solution with our applications.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Prisma SaaS has helped the way our organization has functioned. Before the used the solution, we needed to write API calls for every platform to receive data out of it. It's a tedious task because we have 20 products and you need to write 20 application API calls. Once you receive the API calls, you need to massage and manipulate the data, search, and filter it. We need to write the full-fledged application. However, this product does it all, it gives you everything.

    Instead of writing applications, we only need to go into one place, one URL, and we are able to do whatever we need to. In terms of hours, it saved us a lot of time and hours to do similar tasks previously, which we used to do using API calls to the product.

    What is most valuable?

    This is a one-stop solution. They have multiple features for every product, you don't need to purchase different products for each platform. When you purchase one Prisma SaaS you can connect to 10 different things. You can write different policies, attach different policies, search, and export the data out. There are many capabilities of this solution.

    The solution has all its capabilities in a single cloud delivery platform which is great and it provides overall good protection.

    What needs improvement?

    If you compare Prisma SaaS against other products, such as Cloud Log, it's a little bit tricky to understand, but it offers different functionality that other products don't have. From a user usability point of view, you need some training for this product, as an admin, you need a couple of demos.

    The reports and setting the policies could improve, they are important. Their UI is a little bit confusing when you create the policy section. There are times when it looks like you are in one section, but you're technically in another section and you're saving something else. The need to make it more clear in the UI for policy creation and setup.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using Prisma SaaS for approximately one year.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The stability of the solution is a little bit slow when you do searching. However, I have never seen an error on the application for over one year. It is stable.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The scalability of Prisma SaaS is very good.

    We plan to increase the usage of this solution. We are working with the compliance team and we are trying to find more policies and more products where we can use Prisma SaaS. We have recently renewed the solution for three more years.

    How are customer service and support?

    If we open a private ticket, they're pretty fast. They get back to us in a timely manner and we work with them actively.

    I would rate the technical support a seven out of ten.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    We have two solutions that we use. We also use CloudLock for a specific product. These products are usually application-based, and if you compare BetterCloud and CloudLock, CloudLock is good for Google. Similarly, BetterCloud is good for Dropbox because their EPA's are more integrated. Prisma SaaS is good for receiving data from OneDrive, Office365, and a lot of other products. We have multiple products depending on the use case.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup is straightforward. It's a SaaS product, we only need to log in and integrate our apps using our administrative rights.

    The full deployment takes a couple of weeks. The deployment is easy, but the scanning takes time. If you connect a product and that product is having a terabyte of data, the scanning will take time. However, deployment connecting to the products, it's fairly easy.

    We implement the solution in a sandbox environment and a production environment. The sandbox environment is connected to our sandbox applications, and production is connected to production applications. Whenever we are trying to launch a new policy, we used to try a new sandbox first. If it goes well, we send it to a production environment. We upload a sample of corrupted files to see if the policies are acting as they are supposed to.

    What about the implementation team?

    We used an integrator and we worked with them directly.

    We use approximately 40 hours a week for the maintenance of the solution to get everything done.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    The pricing can be difficult because it came to us with another agreement, but it can be negotiated. I highly recommend people to compare this product's performance and pricing against BetterCloud, because I feel BetterCloud is better than Prisma SaaS if they're starting from scratch.

    What other advice do I have?

    The auditing does not protect all application traffic. It's more content-based. For example, if I uploaded a file and that file has sensitive information, Prisma will detect it. It will tell me where that file has been uploaded, how it's shared, whose current external parties were accessed. Anything which is bound to my user base, I will receive the report, but not the audit log. It won't tell me when users log into the platform, or if they log out. However,  it will tell me if they upload anything and take any action on that content.

    We can connect the solution to AWS F3, which you can be considered not web-based because it has both products. From the F3 bucket, you can access it through different mechanisms. We are using it for some products which are not purely web-based.

    We use SaaS products. That means infrastructure is not in our control and if you upload something into those platforms, such as Dropbox, any content that is put into the data system, we need to make sure that our data is protected and not shared outside. This product and its processes allow us to monitor it. We can create a policy, and limit the action. A person does not need to wait and then take action. For example, if someone uploaded something critical, a Saas policy gets triggered, and it automatically brings that operation down. If someone shares a file publicly, the policy triggers and detects the file and removes the public sharing. This is how we are protecting our data within our platform using this product.

    I have learned from using this solution we should have more policies created as per compliance and security to utilize the features of this product better. If you have this product and if you're not writing a policy, then this product is useless. Right now we have basic policies, four and five, which I feel we have the potential to increase to 15 or 20.

    I rate Prisma SaaS by Palo Alto Networks a seven out of ten.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    Public Cloud
    Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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