Palo Alto Networks to provide new 5G-ready firewall security product

Internet of Things
The company says mission-critical 5G use cases such as autonomous cars are going to need much higher levels of security. (Pixabay)

With a nod to 5G, Palo Alto Networks is upping the ante in the security game, announcing a new product that will be directed at mobile service providers early next year.

The service provider segment is one where Palo Alto Networks traditionally hasn’t done as well as it would like, and “we’re about to change that,” said Chairman and CEO Nikesh Arora during the company’s fiscal first-quarter conference call Thursday.

Service providers are undergoing a major transition from 4G to 5G, and that’s why Palo Alto Networks is ready to strike now. “We want to be there with them to help them succeed,” he said.

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The new next-generation firewall, called the K2 series, has been developed specifically for service providers with high throughput needs, taking into account their upcoming 5G and internet of things transitions.

Arora, who previously was president and COO at SoftBank and chief business officer at Google, said there are structural and other reasons the company hasn’t done as well in the service provider segment as it would have liked. After he joined the company about six months ago, he and the team sat down to try to figure out what they could do. They believed they already had the industry-leading firewall solution from a security and networking perspective.  

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As mobile network providers move to 5G, they’re going to have to rethink their approaches to security, said Janet Matsuda, senior vice president of product marketing at Palo Alto Networks, in an interview with FierceWirelessTech.  

Service providers use less sophisticated firewalls today, she said. “What we’re suggesting is going forward, they’re going to have to re-prioritize and put a higher priority on security," she said. “They need to really get more serious about it and start to use leading-edge capabilities to protect their networks.”

The 5G-ready next generation firewall solution is the first to combine the deep visibility and control over all the network layers with the performance that service providers need for 5G, she said.

Fundamentally, the driver of this is going to be the IoT use cases—remote healthcare, emergency response, autonomous cars—“we think these mission-critical applications are the ones that they’re going to need to be secure,” she said.

The 5G next-generation firewall product will be available in February, she said.