Prisma Cloud by Palo Alto Networks Review

Enabled us to help an internal team, one that was totally vulnerable, to have a security solution within a couple of weeks


What is our primary use case?

When we started using this tool, the name was Twistlock, it was not Prisma Cloud. We had a container team responsible for modernizing our environment and they created an on-prem solution using Red Hat OpenShift. They started using Twistlock as a way to manage the security of this on-prem environment.

My team, which was the security team, inherited the ownership of the tool to manage all the security problems that it was raising.

When we started using containers on the cloud, our cloud provider was Azure. We also started migrating our security solutions for the cloud, but that was at the end of my time with the company, so I didn't participate much in this cloud process.

We were also sending the logs and alerts to Splunk Cloud. We were managing all the alerts generated by policies and vulnerabilities and the threats from the web. That way, we had a pipeline system sending these alerts to a central location where our investigation team would look at them. So we used the system to manage both cloud and on-prem and connect them.

How has it helped my organization?

We had one team that didn't have any security whatsoever. We helped them to add Prisma Cloud to scan their environment. It was a big issue in the company at the time, because they had a huge environment which was not following the security rules of the company. They didn't have any security. Prisma Cloud helped us to start raising alerts and vulnerabilities. That was a successful case because in the timeframe of one to two weeks, we installed the tool and were teaching the team how to manage it, find their vulnerabilities, and how to fix them. We were able to help a team that was totally vulnerable to have a security solution.

Overall, it covered all the stages that we hoped it would cover.

The solution also reduced our runtime alerts. I don't have the exact numbers but I would say it lowered the number of issues by 70 percent. Our strategy was that we started using the tool for some small applications, and then we started using it for other teams. For the small applications, I can't guarantee the reduction was 70 percent because those solutions were managed by the security team which had smart people who were security conscious.

What is most valuable?

We used the policy features to manage users so that they would not have secrets in their containers. We also used the vulnerabilities, the CVEs, that were being raised by the tool.

The CVEs are valuable because we used to have a tool to scan CVEs, at the language level, for the dependencies that our developers had. What is good about Prisma Cloud is that the CVEs are not only from the software layer, but from all layers: the language, the base image, and you also have CVEs from the host. It covers the full base of security.

The compliance is good because it has a deep view of the container. It can find stuff that only administrators would have access to in our container. It can go deep down into the container and find those policy issues.

We also started looking for the WaaS (Web-Application and API Security) solution, but we didn't implement it during the time I was at the company. We tested it. What's good about the WaaS is that it's almost a miracle feature. You can find SQL injection or cross-site scripting and defend against that by setting up Prisma Cloud and turning on the feature.

Prisma Cloud also provided risk clarity at runtime and across the entire pipeline, showing issues as they were discovered during the build phases. It provided a good rating for how to prioritize a threat, but we also had a way to measure risk in our company that was a little bit different. This was the same with other scanning tools that we had: the risk rating was something that we didn't focus too much on because we had our own way to rate risk. Prisma Cloud's rating was helpful sometimes, but we used our risk measurement more than the tool's.

What needs improvement?

One problem was identifying Azure Kubernetes Services. We had many teams creating Kubernetes systems without any security whatsoever. It was hard for us to identify Kubernetes because the Prisma Cloud could not identify them. From what I heard from Palo Alto at the time, they were building a new feature to identify those. It was an issue they were already trying to fix.

In addition, when it comes to access for developers, I would like to have more granular settings. For example, in our company we didn't want to display hosts' vulnerabilities to developers, because the infrastructure or containers team was responsible for host vulnerabilities or the containers. The developers were only responsible for the top application layer. We didn't want to provide that data to the developers because A) we thought it was sensitive data and B) because it was data that didn't belong to developers. We didn't want to share it, but I remember having this problem when it came to the granularity of granting permissions. 

They need to make the settings more flexible to fit our internal policies about data. We didn't want developers to see some data, but we wanted them to have access to the console because it was going to help them. One possibility was to develop our own solution for this, using the API. But that would add complexity. The console was clean and beautiful. It has the radar where you can see all the containers. But we just didn't want to show some data. It was a pain to have to set up the access to some languages and some data.

Another thing that was a pain was that in our on-prem environment there was a tool that sometimes generated a temporary container, to be used just for a build, and Prisma would raise some compliance issues for this container that would die shortly. It was hard to suppress these kinds of alerts because it was hard to find a standard or a rule that would fit this scenario. The tool was able manage the whole CI/CD pipeline, including the build as well—even these containers that were temporary for a build—but sometimes it would raise too much unnecessary data.

Also, one of the things that it's hard to understand sometimes is how to fix an issue. We managed to do so by testing things ourselves because we are developers. But a little bit of explanation about how to fix something would help. It was more showing what the problem was than it did about how to fix it.

For how long have I used the solution?

I used Prisma Cloud by Palo Alto Networks for about a year and a half.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's pretty much stable, as much as containers are stable. It is more about the container solution itself, or how Kubernetes is managed and the state of health of the containers. As Prisma is a container solution itself, it was as good as the Kubernetes environment could make it. 

I don't know about the Prisma Cloud SaaS solution because we didn't use it, but the on-prem solution was as reliable as our Kubernetes system was. It was really reliable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's pretty scalable because of the API. I liked how simple the console was and how simple the API was. There was no complexity; it was straightforward. The API documentation was also very good so it was pretty easy to scale. You could automate pretty much everything. You could automate the certificate information, you could automate the access for developers, and a lot of other stuff. It was a pretty modern solution. Using APIs and containers, it was pretty scalable.

How are customer service and technical support?

We used their technical support many times and it was very good. The engineers there helped us a lot. They were engaged and interested in helping, and they were polite and they were fast. When we raised an issue to high priority, they answered faster. I would rate their support at five out of five.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Prisma Cloud was the only solution we had for container security. We had other tools such as SAST and DAST tools, as well as open source management tools. Those intersected somewhat with what Prisma does, but Prisma had access to the whole environment, so it's a little bit different.

What other advice do I have?

We used the API from Prisma Cloud. We had a Jenkins pipeline with a lot of scripts to automate the installation of Prisma Cloud and the patching updates as well.

In our company, the security team had about 10 people, but only two were responsible for Prisma Cloud. As I mentioned, we inherited ownership of it from the containers team. In the containers team, we had a guy who was our main contact and who helped us. For example, when we needed to access a certain environment, he had to manage access so that it could have privileged access to do what it needed to do in the container environment. So overall, there were three people involved with it.

We used Prisma Cloud extensively. We used it across the whole on-prem environment and partially on cloud. We were at around 10 or 20 percent of the cloud. I think that nowadays they have probably reached much more than that, because we were just beginning on the cloud at the time.

Smaller companies should probably use the SaaS. I know that Azure and the cloud providers already have different ways to use tools in an easy manner so that you don't need to manage the infrastructure. So smaller companies should look into that. The infrastructure solution would be more for big companies, but I would recommend the solution for big companies. I would also recommend it for small companies. In terms of budget, sometimes it's hard to prioritize what's more important, but Prisma fits into different budget levels, so even if you have a small environment you can use Prisma's SaaS solution.

I was pretty satisfied with it. My impression of Prisma Cloud was pretty good. It's an amazing tool. It gives the whole view of your container environment and connection with multiple platforms, such as Splunk. It is a good solution. If I had my own company and a container environment, I would use it. It can fit a huge container environment with a lot of hosts, but it can also fit a small container environment. Azure also provides built-in solutions to install Prisma in your application. So there are different solutions for various container environments. The company I was in had huge container environments to monitor, on-prem and in the cloud, and the tool fit really well. But the tool also fits small environments.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

20
**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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