First NET+ Palo Alto Networks Community Call in the Books — But We’re Just Getting Started

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By Nick Lewis, Internet2 Program Manager

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

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With the release of the first of the NET+ Palo Alto Networks cybersecurity bundles under the Internet2 NET+ program, the team is excited to be able to bring the deep expertise and dynamic product leadership of Palo Alto Networks to the very real challenges of securing today’s always shifting, sometimes evaporating, campus environments. 

The process to get here has been long and collaborative, as we worked closely with Palo Alto Networks and the service evaluation campuses in following a comprehensive service evaluation process:

  1. Capturing community needs and constraints
  2. Analyzing the solutions portfolio 
  3. Creating outcomes-focused bundles (remote security, cloud native application security, XDR, and security automation)
  4. Configuring, testing, and validating solutions against common operation environments
  5. Higher education-focused contract and pricing
Internet2 NET+ logo

The solutions are really part of a larger conversation with the higher education community about how to meaningfully modernize and protect their mission. With that goal in mind, we’re holding community meetings to discuss particular challenges and use cases that universities are facing.

A Platform and a Conversation

During this month’s call, Hunter Ely from Palo Alto Networks introduced Ed Caswell, a Palo Alto Networks technical subject matter expert, who offered an overview of our first bundle designed for enabling remote access and more. Built around Prisma Access, the bundle delivers comprehensive networking and security in a single secure access service edge (SASE) designed for all traffic, all applications, and all users. Regardless of whether your community is back on campus or working remotely, this cloud-delivered and cloud-optimized security solution delivers consistent security enforcement across your remote, mobile, and campus-based employees.

A question was raised during the meeting about network peering. I’m happy to report that as part of the NET+ service evaluation, we did look at the network peering with Prisma Access using the Internet2 Network to get back to campuses’ networks. There’s nothing outside of the local network that needs to be configured by campuses; you just go to your regular Internet2 Network connection and get that high-speed network connection using the existing Internet2 Network peering.

The solutions are really part of a larger conversation with the higher education community about how to meaningfully modernize and protect their mission.

Rick Haugerud of the University of Nebraska added, “We also spent time managing or monitoring what the impact on those peering connections were for some of that typical traffic so that we could provide advanced notification in case somebody was going to exceed what they had available for peering.”

Of course, during COVID, one of the challenges was scaling remote access solutions to meet the explosive growth brought on by the pandemic. Just keeping up with that growth was nearly impossible with on-premises-based hardware solutions and limited bandwidth. Prisma Access scales elastically and is policy-based, making it easier than ever before to meet the remote access requirements necessary for your demanding community.

Community: More Than Just a Positive Feeling

This was the first of a series of meetings with the community, and we want your participation. Send us your questions, and share your challenges, effective practices, and your use cases. Share this update with your colleagues to help get them engaged. We plan to add community members to the panel each time, to keep the conversation fresh and relevant to both the challenges that are emerging as well as new ideas for keeping students, staff, and information secure no matter what the future brings.

I’m encouraged by these community conversations around Palo Alto Networks’ integrated suite of cybersecurity solutions, and hope they will become even more powerful in the hands of our connected community that’s committed to working together to develop a shared, proactive security posture. Big-picture control, total visibility, and continuous learning: we’re working to make it all possible.

Join Us on Our Upcoming Calls

Our NET+ solutions are just the starting point for what we hope to help higher education accomplish. Our next call is July 15 at 1 p.m. ET, where we will be talking about securing campus cloud workloads through simplified and integrated multi-cloud security across cloud and SaaS. You can register here

Please send us your questions and share your own cybersecurity challenges. Drop the team an email: netplus@internet2.edu.

If your campus wants to learn more about configurations and pricing, please contact the Carahsoft team at paloaltonetworks@carahsoft.com.