Today, cybersecurity professionals buy their tools in the software-as-a-service format by default; it’s a no-brainer.

But back in 2005, when the idea would have seemed far-fetched, Palo Alto Networks Inc. disrupted the industry by offering cybersecurity as a service and has evolved its product within that format ever since.

“When you found a new company, you have two good options,” said Nir Zuk (pictured), founder and chief technology officer of Palo Alto Networks. “You can either disrupt an existing market or you can create a new market. So, first, I decided to disrupt an existing market, first network security, then cybersecurity. The challenge is that every problem had a new vendor and nobody just stepped back and said, ‘I think I can solve it with a platform.’”

Zuk spoke with theCUBE industry analysts Dave Vellante and Lisa Martin at Ignite ’22, during an exclusive broadcast on theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio. They discussed the currently sprawling cybersecurity threat landscape and new technologies poised to defend the enterprise. (* Disclosure below.)

Evolving existing solutions instead of waiting for new ones

A major problem in the early 2000s computing space was that whenever a new cybersecurity threat arose, it had to be combated by a new crop of solutions vendors, according to Zuk. The tools of that age lacked the versatility to be all-in-one offerings that could evolve in capability and scale as required.

A lot of the initial brand-building process was convincing customers to trust a new vendor with their data.

Back then people thought it was crazy to think that customers are going to send their data to their vendor in order to process, and they wanted everything on-premise,” Zuk stated. “But I knew customers are going to send information to us for processing because we have much more processing power than they have.”

With the passing of time, the company evolved to depend more on the public cloud to further scale and deliver more capabilities to end users. But importantly, rather than “lift and shift,” it embarked on a rebuild to take full advantage of the cloud, Zuk explained.

“It wasn’t that hard for us because we didn’t have that many services,” he said. “Of course, we didn’t do a lift and shift, which is the wrong thing to do with the cloud. We rebuilt things for the cloud, and the benefits, of course, are time to market, scale, agility and, in some cases, also cost.”

Artificial intelligence has been touted as the next frontier in the battle against cybersecurity threats. However, an area where the industry might be faltering is assigning humans the tasks that machines of today are fully capable of carrying out, according to Zuk.

“The things that humans do today, machines can do better,” he said. “And once the machines do that, humans will be free to do things that the machines can not do today. We are consumed by finding attacks that machines can find, by dealing with incidents that machines can deal with. It’s a waste of time.”

Those things the machines can’t do, perhaps, involve dealing with more intricate threat areas, things that involve human perception and conscientious techniques, such as social engineering, Zuk added.

Here’s the complete video interview, part of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of Ignite ’22:

(* Disclosure: TheCUBE is a paid media partner for Ignite ’22. Neither Palo Alto Networks Inc., the sponsor for theCUBE’s event coverage, nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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