Introducing next-generation firewall from Palo Alto Networks to support 5G-enabled IoT, OT and IT use cases

[ This article was originally published here ]

Enterprises know they need defenses integrated into each aspect of their network while not being an inhibitor to innovation. Digital transformation realized through new 5G-enabled IoT, Operational Technologies (OT) and IT use cases are no exception. Therefore, security teams need to take a closer look at the best technology to support this innovation. Next-generation firewalls from Palo Alto Networks with AT&T Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) solutions are designed to help protect enterprises while optimizing security performance for these new use cases.

Prime time for innovation

AT&T MEC in combination with 5G/4G LTE create a private network solution that enables businesses to localize cellular data to improve their operations. The solution supports edge computing by routing application-specific traffic in a highly effective way. Built on a software-defined network, AT&T MEC enables direct access to cellular data for highly reliable local processing. This technology helps create new outcomes and capabilities by allowing applications to process data right where it’s needed. In addition, MEC enables customers to control their traffic flow, restrict devices and select application access for local business content, all while enabling macro cellular access when desired.

This means that businesses can locally process and transfer data-intensive files in near-real time, scale robotic operations, and offer highly immersive customer experiences. Some on-premises use cases for this include video AI, synchronous media collaboration and industrial manufacturing. These are just a few examples of how businesses are being transformed through edge computing technologies. And these use cases can span many industries – manufacturing, public sector, healthcare, education, stadiums, retail and more. AT&T MEC is leading the way in the rapidly evolving private cellular space driving the right innovation today and tomorrow. CRN has named AT&T to its 2021 Edge Computing 100 list – with recognition as one of those driving innovation in the IoT and 5G Edge Services Category.  The AT&T Multi-Access Edge Computing offering ties together cellular network architecture for real-time high bandwidth, low-latency access to latency-sensitive mobile applications. This is great news.  AT&T is helping businesses connect – harnessing LTE and 5G at the network edge.

Protection at every layer 

AT&T MEC not only helps to enable these business use cases but also provides additional privacy and control beyond the inherent security of AT&T’s 5G/4G LTE cellular network. With AT&T MEC your data is in your control so you can determine the location, cloud, local data center or somewhere else to route it. Data you consider sensitive or proprietary can be kept locally within your internal network, significantly mitigating the risk of it being illegally accessed or stolen. This helps give enterprise control and privacy of their data.

In addition to these privacy measures, security teams must also consider mobile devices that could inadvertently introduce threats. For example, a user accidentally downloads malicious software. Or, an IoT device becomes subject to a supply chain attack. In any environment, but especially in edge environments built for business-critical applications, businesses need to respond to these security events as fast as possible, identify malicious events, and act in real time. Therefore, defenses are needed to inspect the application flows to protect mobile devices and business-critical data in transit and at rest within your network. Adding this layer of security allows consistently enforced policies across all network environments, including private cellular networks like MEC network.

Proven, reliable technology and services

To protect against these advanced threats, AT&T now offers a managed next-generation premises-based firewall optimized to work with AT&T MEC. It starts with proven, reliable technology utilizing Palo Alto Networks ML-Powered Next-Generation Firewall platform based on a scalable, modular design that enables you to increase performance as your needs increase. This state-of-the-art firewall technology brings advanced capabilities to prevent known and unknown threats such as vulnerability exploits, ransomware, malware, phishing and data theft. It also includes unique technology from Palo Alto Networks called WildFire® which automatically detects and helps prevent unknown malware and taps into crowdsourced intelligence from more than 43,000 customers. Palo Alto Networks has been recognized by NSS Labs for having high security effectiveness and by Forrester Consulting for strong Return on Investment . Savings are possible  across many categories, but key areas are  in efficiency gains for IT and security and the reduced risk of a data breach.

Furthermore, this next-generation firewall is managed by AT&T’s state-of-the-art Security Network Operations Center (S/NOC) 24/7. The S/NOC team of security professionals use this highly secure, fully redundant site and its advanced intrusion detection capabilities to further analyze and respond to threats. They also help reduce complexity by assisting the customer with ongoing configuration changes to their firewall policies. 

Visibility and control

This next-generation firewall offering provides fully managed, end-to-end firewall protection for your mobile network data traffic including traffic routed through AT&T MEC. The firewall provides visibility of applications and mobile services including those using AT&T MEC Local Content Offload connectivity. In addition, it provides application layer protection by enabling application centric policies that could be used to block as many or all malicious applications or only certain types of malicious activities.

This offering can further help prevent malicious activity that could be concealed in encrypted traffic. Already without decrypting, it provides visibility into TLS traffic, such as the amount of encrypted traffic, TLS/SSL versions, cipher suites, and more. If an instance warrants decryption, the business has the flexibility to gain that additional insight for forensics, historical purposes, or data loss prevention (DLP) needs.

Conclusion

AT&T helps make it safer for you to innovate with leading edge technologies and the security elements to help protect this dynamic environment. Gain fully managed, end-to-end firewall protection for your private cellular network including traffic routed through AT&T MEC with next-generation firewalls provided by Palo Alto Networks.  To learn more- visit us at AT&T Cybersecurity Advanced 5G security solutions | AT&T Cybersecurity (att.com).

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