A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a secure way to communicate over public networks and is often used for exchanging critical/sensitive information. Undoubtedly, VPNs are used for both personal and professional use.
Due to their popularity, many VPN tools are available today. One such VPN is GlobalProtect from Palo Alto Networks. This tool is best known for providing security capabilities to remote workers who log in from any device. But is it a good fit for your organization? Read on for a critical review of this tool and the possible alternatives to it.
Features of GlobalProtect
GlobalProtect comes with an extensive set of features that can streamline remote access for a work-from-anywhere workforce. Here's a look at some of its salient features.
Remote Access Management
GlobalProtect streamlines remote access management across all devices. Its clientless deployment choices make it a good choice for mobile devices as well. Moreover, it authenticates users and ensures that only authorized users are allowed access to the network. Needless to say, this reduces the chances of attacks.
This tool continuously assesses the health and performance of devices before connecting them to the corporate network. Again, this feature ensures that compromised or non-functioning devices don't connect to the network and use up their resources.
Implements Zero Trust
GlobalProtect follows a strict zero trust policy and this means, users and devices have to prove that they are authorized to access the network. With Zero Trust, organizations can segment their network and implement custom security policies for different users/groups/devices. Such categorization provides granular control over access and at the same time, enhances the overall security of your organization.
GlobalProtect comes with many built-in security tools and features that protect your network and data from external and internal threats. Some of the prominent security features of this tool are:
- Identifies application traffic to protect your organization from Denial of Service (DoS) attacks.
- Categorizes users and devices for granular security policies.
- Decrypts SSL, TLS, and SSH traffic to ensure that threats are not encrypted into the data packets.
- Its malware protection capabilities identify known and unknown threats and take measures to protect your organization from these threats.
- It has built-in Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) and firewalls to block malicious traffic.
- Supports URL and content filtering.
- Its data filtering capabilities prevent the unwanted movement of data.
- Supports file analysis to ensure that sensitive/unwanted data are not transmitted.
Integrates With Other Tools
Another useful feature of GlobalProtect is that it integrates well with many custom and third-party tools and platforms. This option makes GlobalProtect highly flexible and extensible.
Thus, these are some of the notable features of GlobalProtect, and next, let's do a critical review of these features to understand if this is a good fit for your organization.
GlobalProtect – A Critical Review
GlobalProtect is a good choice for a VPN as it eliminates the complexity of installing and managing a third-party VPN. Now, you may wonder how it's different from a traditional VPN. Well, for starters, it comes with many features that can solve a wide range of security challenges that can emanate in today's remote world.
First off, let's talk about the problem of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). Given that remote workers, today bring their personal devices including mobile phones, it's a nightmare for administrators to secure all these devices and at the same time, provide seamless access to applications and data for users. GlobalProtect helps to bridge this gap. When your employees connect with GlobalProtect, they can access those apps that they are authorized to use, and hence, there's no loss to their productivity whatsoever. This is possible due to GlobalProtect's clientless SSL VPN that provides secure access for both managed and unmanaged devices.
From an organization's standpoint, GlobalProtect provides in-depth visibility and granular control over what users access within the network. In turn, this visibility eliminates the possibility of insider attacks. Moreover, the detailed logging mechanism of GlobalProtect ensures that you can always use these logs as a reference point for troubleshooting.
Above everything, GlobalProtect has a flexible architecture that enables customization. For example, you can use manual connections, select gateways including the cloud, and more through configuration. Such flexibility ensures that you have a solution that's customized for your organization's needs instead of adapting to the features of a third-party VPN.
Lastly, GlobalProtect ensures high levels of transparency and user experience. All these help GlobalProtect to grow with your organization and adapt to your changing needs with little changes.
As for the downsides, there aren't many notable ones. Some users have opined online that they have faced temporary connection issues while using GlobalProtect, but there's no proven evidence that it's due to an error on this VPN. However, one common downside is the high cost, and this makes it unsuitable for SMEs and startups.
GlobalProtect is a VPN that comes with added security features to make it more conducive for a hybrid workforce. In particular, it enables you to consistently apply your security policy across all endpoints and users for streamlined access to resources. Besides, this platform also offers granular control and system-wide visibility to prevent both internal and external threats.
Despite these advantages, you may want to consider other tools and platforms that offer a specific feature you want. Read on for some alternatives.
Below are some tools that have similar features as that of GlobalProtect.
- Cisco AnyConnect This VPN from Cisco provides the best of both worlds – security and productivity. With this tool, remote employees can connect privately and securely to the company's network. Its many features such as single sign-on, threat protection, and visibility make it a good alternative to GlobalProtect.
- FortiClient A secure VPN service that combines security, access control, and compliance. Its lightweight client is simple to install while its endpoint protection feature secures all remote devices. Its comprehensive analytics and real-time risk monitoring also add to its appeal.
- Citrix Gateway This VPN encrypts connections and in the process, secures your data. It is fast and the connections happen in the background, so there's no impact on productivity at all. In addition, all the corporate data is stored on virtual machines, and this means, no sensitive data is leaked even if the device is lost or stolen.
- WatchGuard Mobile VPN Best known for its easy installation and configuration, both onsite and off-site. It also comes with many security features such as support for policy-based controls, content inspection, reporting, logging, and more. Plus, it is deemed to be cost-effective for SMEs.
- SonicWall VPN An affordable VPN that provides secure access to an organization's data. It is fast and trustworthy and works well on both distributed and mobile devices. In addition, its dashboard is comprehensive enough to provide the visibility you need over who accesses your network and through which devices.