Insight by Palo Alto Networks

Securing multi-cloud environments

This content is provided by Palo Alto Networks.

Ongoing IT modernization pressures and 2020’s unexpected shift to remote work leave all agencies needing to accelerate cloud adoption. The Cloud First to Cloud Smart initiative was already urging the transition, but delay is no longer optional. With the federal government projected to spend up to $7 billion dollars1 on cloud technology and services in the current fiscal year, the stakes are high.

Yet obstacles to effective adoption remain. Among the most pressing are time to deployment; the need to ensure strong security and privacy protections for government data; and the shortage of skilled workers to manage it all. Those issues are compounded by the complexities of running multi-cloud environments, an approach that most agencies are pursuing.

To help overcome these challenges, Palo Alto Networks offers the comprehensive Prisma Cloud cloud native security platform. Prisma Cloud is part of Palo Alto Networks Government Cloud Services, which has been granted a Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) Moderate Authorization as of January 2021. Achieving this milestone underscores our ongoing commitment to supporting the unique needs of the US federal government.

Simplify Secure Cloud Deployment

Palo Alto Networks Unit 42 global threat intelligence team has found that more than 90% of all cloud breaches are due to misconfigurations resulting from human error. Gartner also predicts that through 2023, 99% of cloud breaches will be the result of customer actions. Misconfiguration risks escalate with the complexities of running multi-cloud environments.

That complexity is compounded as cloud service providers regularly release new features and updates, making it challenging for staff to stay current on how each unique environment functions. Security is also hindered by a lack of visibility into configuration, security status and compliance posture across multiple deployments.

Prisma Cloud streamlines the complexity so agencies have a comprehensive view of their dynamic, distributed environments. That even carries across multiple public cloud service providers (CSPs) and hybrid cloud approaches that leverage container platforms. As a cloud-delivered service, Prisma Cloud deploys quickly and dynamically discovers existing as well as newly deployed resources for complete visibility. The platform manages policy monitoring, forensics, and detection of anomalies and threats to allow for faster remediation.

Prisma Cloud provides broad security and compliance coverage—for users, applications, data and the entire cloud native technology stack—throughout the development lifecycle and across hybrid and multi-cloud environments. Covering all of the major cloud service providers relieves the need for IT staff to understand the security nuances of each cloud environment they manage. Built-in security policies like CIS benchmarks, guidelines from the NIST Cybersecurity Framework and MITRE ATT&CK allow for agencies to monitor posture, and detect and quickly respond to misconfigurations, vulnerabilities and other threats that might lead to data leaks. Prisma Cloud enables consistent security while dramatically reducing alert volume, configuration errors and cloud security tools.

Reduce Time to Benefit with Continuous ATO

Agency IT teams spend significant time and effort to achieve authority to operate (ATO) for the IT systems they develop. While it is critical to ensure that the technologies various missions depend on are secure, the lengthy ATO process often significantly delays adoption of important new solutions.

Prisma Cloud offers a rapidly deployed solution that removes the need for agencies to pursue ATO on their own. Agencies can leverage Prisma Cloud’s existing FedRAMP Authorization to streamline authorization and begin securing CSP environments usually within days.

Procurement is also streamlined because Prisma Cloud is an approved solution under the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) program. Prisma Cloud will also be available through CISA’s Quality Service Management Office (QSMO) shared service for managing cybersecurity solutions.

Streamline Management to Extend Staff Resources

Hiring, training and retaining ‘cloud smart’ staff is a priority for enabling mission delivery; yet skilled talent remains in short supply. Prisma Cloud enables agencies to make more effective use of all IT staff resources by consistently protecting multi-cloud environments without them having to master multiple security tools.

Prisma Cloud also reduces alert volume and cloud configuration errors, allowing IT and security operations to spend their time more productively. With support for every major compliance framework, Prisma Cloud enables multi-cloud monitoring through a ‘single pane of glass’ dashboard. Automated response and compliance reporting, generated with a single click, enables application modernization, development best practices and moving from a point in time to the continuous application of security.

All of this means agencies can achieve their missions while improving their cyber resilience with a preventive approach, accelerated incident response, and better management of the increasing volume, variety and velocity of cyberattacks across cloud environments. Learn more about how Palo Alto Networks and its FedRAMP Authorized services, including Prisma Cloud, can help secure federal networks.

[1] https://about.bgov.com/reports/the-state-of-federal-cloud-market-briefing/

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