Dell, Palo Alto Networks Partner on Managed Firewall Services

Dell SecureWorks and Palo Alto Networks are partnering to promote managed firewall security services. The big question: Where do Dell PartnerDirect members -- VARs, MSPs and even cloud service providers -- potentially fit into the Dell-Palo Alto strategy? Here's some insight.

Together, Dell and Palo Alto Networks say they've created a managed and monitored next generation firewall. Apparently, it connects the dots between Palo Alto Networks' firewall infrastructure and Dell SecureWorks' remote management and monitoring.

Palo Alto, back in March 2011, said next-generation firewalls need to:


  • Secure users and their data regardless of location, essentially remotely protecting computers;
  • eliminate network traffic blind spots, so admins can get insight into unusual or suspicious traffic and apps to help tweak security; and
  • meet latest and greatest data center requirements by sustaining 20Gbps of performance.
The Dell-Palo Alto relationship covers everything from intrusion prevention and detection, "threat intelligence" and security consulting. There's also alerts for device upgrades, patch management and multi-rule management to help better deal with a wide array of connected endpoints. Dell SecureWorks includes "unmetered support" from their own security experts for customers running the firewall.

On the flip side of the coin, Palo Alto Networks is offering user control and content control by filtering out everything from Web-based packets to application-specific traffic . This granular approach better deals with the Web 2.0 world -- where data can't simply be filtered from HTTP traffic on port 80. Likewise, this approach better deals with phishing attacks and any other targeted attacks designed to elude less sophisticated security measures. It also helps mitigate security concerns when connecting to public or private clouds that may exist outside the company data center.

Bottom Line

The Dell-Palo Alto Networks relationship essentially positions Dell as a managed security service provider. And Dell essentially becomes an MSP within Palo Alto Networks' partner program.

Should smaller MSPs be worried? Perhaps not. The Dell SecureWorks team certainly promotes managed security services directly to end customers. But from our experience, it seems like most of the Dell SecureWorks effort involves midsize to large customer engagements -- leaving much of the SMB space for more traditional MSPs.

Additional insights from Joe Panettieri.
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