The VM-Series firewall software secures private Azure-based 4G and 5G MEC

Protecting enterprise Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) installations against cyberattacks is the impetus behind Palo Alto Networks’ news on Thursday announcing the availability of its VM-Series Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) software, via Microsoft’s Azure Marketplace. Palo Alto promises Azure customers faster time to market thanks to the now-tested and validated solution, along with simpler deployment at scale for rapid rollout, and mitigation against zero-day vulnerabilities using pre-defined templates.

Microsoft pitches Azure private MEC for 4G and 5G enterprise edge applications like retail video analytics, IoT device deployment in smart buildings and hospitals, and low-latency communications for industrial automation. Microsoft already supports a broad swath of operators, system integrators and app developers, offering a constellation of Azure MEC-related solutions. 

“Customers choose this next-generation mobile technology for its security and reliability, but increasingly sophisticated networks must be safeguarded against a complex and escalating ‘threatscape,’” said Palo Alto Networks. 

The VM-Series are virtual firewalls — software that provides the same capabilities as Palo Alto’s physical firewall hardware. Key features include a single management console to handle security on public and private cloud and on-premise locations, network segmentation to reduce threat surfaces for inbound cyberattacks, automatic scaling with cloud infrastructure, sandboxing, Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) and intelligent traffic offload for service providers. Palo Alto emphasizes the VM-Series’ support for the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) Layer 7 network security model, the application layer. 

”The VM-Series Next-Generation Firewall enables enterprises to achieve comprehensive security for end-user application traffic that traverses the Azure Private 5G Core, securing edge infrastructure and helping detect and mitigate malicious activity within the user traffic,” said Palo Alto.

The company noted that Panorama, its firewall management platform, integrates with Azure. Panorama is Palo Alto’s centralized management system for its next-gen firewalls. The software provides an interactive, graphical view to help administrators monitor network activity, threats, and blocked activity from a single interface.

In late August, Palo Alto Networks announced improvements to its Prisma Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) platform to enable Software as a Service (SaaS) Security Posture Management, or SSPM. The tech leverages Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) software to mitigate security exposure through SaaS misconfiguration. Palo Alto claims Prisma employs the first natively integrated artificial intelligence for IT operations (AIOps) solution for SASE. 

Palo Alto Networks made financial news last week after executing a 3-for-1 stock split. The company announced the stock split plans during its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings report in late August, when it reported 27% year-over-year revenue growth to $1.6 billion, with annual growth of 29%. This week, rumors emerged that Palo Alto Networks is closing in on the acquisition of Apiiro, an Israeli cybersecurity firm specializing in risk assessment for cloud-native applications. Palo Alto Networks is set to grab Apiiro for $600 million, according to reports.

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