We live in an increasingly mobile world where businesses have had to adapt to having a large number of their employees working from outside their network. Although this remote working model may be financially feasible for the business and comfortable for the employees, the fact that they use their devices from beyond the corporate firewall comes with security risks. In this post, we will look at a GlobalProtect review and alternatives that will help alleviate these issues.
What is GlobalProtect?
GlobalProtect, from Palo Alto Networks, is a network security client for endpoints that helps businesses protect the mobile workforce by extending the Next-Generation Security Platform to all users, regardless of location.
It extends security policies that are enforced within the physical perimeter to remote clients who want to access local resources with next-gen technologies. The tool applies its capabilities to understand application use and associate the traffic with users and devices and their permissions.
The purpose here is to keep both the users and the network safe without delimiting the users’ experience (UX) or having to lower their security standards.
GlobalProtect uses least-privilege access for the remote users which is based on three main tactics:
- Identity-based access control at scale To simplify remote access management with identity-aware authentication and client or clientless deployment methods for mobile users.
- Device trust enforcement To assess devices’ health and security status before getting permission to access the network.
- Extend consistent security policies To seamlessly implement industry best practice security controls and inspection across all mobile application traffic, regardless of where – or how – users and devices connect.
It is an easy-to-use secure remote access tool that is flexible and offers an ideal solution to the hybrid workplace because it brings:
- Dependable control To monitor all traffic with consistent security policies.
- Comprehensive security To deliver transparent, risk-free access to sensitive data that is protected with an always-on, secure connection.
- Full visibility To eliminate blind spots in the remote workforce traffic with full visibility across all applications, ports, and protocols.
All these features allow for the preventive steps to be taken to secure internal networks, adopt Zero Trust network controls, and reduce the risks of an attack.
Components of GlobalProtect
The GlobalProtect infrastructure consists of the following three components:
- GlobalProtect Portal Provides the management functions of the GlobalProtect infrastructure. It pushes out the configuration information to the endpoints that include details about available gateways as well as any client certificates that may be required to connect to the GlobalProtect gateway(s).
- GlobalProtect Gateways These are gateways that provide security enforcement for traffic from GlobalProtect apps. If the HIP feature is enabled, the gateway generates a Host Information Profile (HIP) report from the raw host data the apps submit and can use this information to enforce policies.
- GlobalProtect Apps These are the apps that run on endpoints and allow access to network resources through the GlobalProtect portals and gateways that have been deployed.
Advantages of GlobalProtect
The advantages of using GlobalProtect are:
- Ease of use Administrators and endpoint users alike will find that configuring, managing, and monitoring this tool is a breeze.
- Interactive UI The user interface (UI) is easy to master while giving access to all aspects of the tool. Administrators face a low learning curve before they begin working on the most complex configurations.
- Multi-gateway access It supports multiple gateway accesses which means users may switch between their gateways when any one of them is down or congested with network traffic.
- Minute traffic monitoring The tool safeguards mobile workforces by inspecting all traffic using next-generation cybersecurity deployed as internet gateways, whether they are at the perimeter level, in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), or cloud-based.
- It covers all devices Regardless of the device, be they laptops, smartphones, or tablets. If it has the GlobalProtect app, it automatically establishes a secure IPsec/SSL VPN connection to Prisma Access or a Next-Generation Firewall using the best gateway.
- Full visibility All network traffic, applications, ports, and protocols are covered to eliminate blind spots in the mobile workforce traffic.
- Implementing Zero Trust It allows users to access all assets inside the network depending on their needs and authorizations. It can be used to segment networks and enforce precise controls for access to internal resources.
- Device quarantining Devices that are compromised can be restricted from accessing the network and further infecting other devices.
What makes GlobalProtect stand out?
Some features that make GlobalProtect stand out from the competition include:
- Secure Remote Access Offers secure access to internal and cloud-based business applications to prevent the connection itself from being compromised.
- Advanced Threat Prevention Secures internet traffic to stop threats, like phishing and credential theft, from reaching the endpoint and quarantining compromised devices by leveraging immutable characteristics.
- Malware prevention The tool’s WildFire service automates the analysis of content to identify new, previously unknown, and highly targeted malware by its behavior and generates the threat intelligence to stop it in near-real time.
- URL Filtering Enforces acceptable use policies and filters to deny access to malicious domains and adult content; it also stops users from using avoidance and evasion tools.
- Customized authentication It can be used to cover both managed and unmanaged devices as well as BYOD. It even has clientless access capabilities for granting access to partners or contractors.
- Alternative authentication methods GlobalProtect has three formats of deploying strong authentication:
- Cookie-based authentication After authentication, an encrypted cookie can be used for subsequent access to a portal or gateway for the lifetime of that cookie.
- Simplified certificate enrollment protocol support The tool automates the interaction with an enterprise public key infrastructure (PKI) for managing, issuing, and distributing certificates to connecting clients.
- Multi-factor authentication (MFA) Before a user accesses an application, they can be asked to present an additional form of authentication.
- Granular access to applications and data Users can establish policies based on application, users, content, and host information to maintain granular control over access to a given application.
- Enhanced troubleshooting and visibility The tool’s Application Command Center (ACC) widgets, reports, and the new GlobalProtect log provide full visibility into its usage within the deployment for simplified troubleshooting of user connection issues.
- All-inclusive user authentication The tool supports all existing authentication methods including Kerberos, RADIUS, LDAP, SAML 2.0, client certificates, biometric sign-in, and a local user database.
- Single VPN solution Businesses can use GlobalProtect as a replacement for their traditional VPN, thus, eliminating the need for, and trouble of, administering multiple standalone, third-party VPN gateways.
- Architecture customization The tool has options for manual connections and gateway selection that enable users to tailor the configuration to support customer business requirements and solve an array of security challenges as may be needed.
- Asset attribute insights GlobalProtect helps gather information into assets that are critical for making sure only authorized and secure devices are on the network; this information includes device identification, operating systems, application patch level, antimalware versions, and states, as well as disk encryption and configuration details.
Users who want to use GlobalProtect as a secure remote access or virtual private network (VPN) solution via single or multiple internal or external gateways do not need licenses.
However, if they want to use some of the more advanced features – like HIP checks and associated content updates, support for the GlobalProtect mobile app, or IPv6 support – they need to purchase an annual GlobalProtect Gateway license.
This license needs to be installed on each firewall running a gateway that:
- Performs HIP checks
- Supports the GlobalProtect app for mobile endpoints or Linux endpoints
- Provides IPv6 connections
- Split tunnels traffic based on destination domains, application process names, or HTTP/HTTPS video streaming applications
- Supports identification of managed devices using their serial numbers on gateways
To use GlobalProtect Clientless VPN, users must also install a GlobalProtect Gateway license on the firewall that hosts the Clientless VPN from the GlobalProtect portal. They also need the GlobalProtect Clientless VPN dynamic updates to use this feature.
Details about pricing and licensing issues can be obtained by contacting customer support.
Meanwhile, you can try GlobalProtect by requesting a demo for FREE.
Features to look for when looking for alternatives to GlobalProtect
- Easy to use, deploy, and administer The tool should be user-friendly while also being able to tackle complex security issues. Administrators shouldn’t waste hours trying to protect their networks.
- Logging A VPN should help with issue resolution and activity monitoring with the help of detailed event logging that can be used for audit trails.
- Activity management It should be able to block or permit a wide range of activities and allow to set restrictions and keep an eye on employee activity from a single centralized user management interface.
- Flexible alerting The more mediums that can be used to receive alerts from the tool the better. It should be able to reach out to administrators via any platform or application they want.
- Security Its primary task is to help secure the network and all the devices that connect to it. Therefore, it should come with features like two-factor authentication for user accounts and kill switches that immediately cut off the Internet traffic whenever the VPN service goes offline, should be in-built. Another thing to remember is that it should always use encryption; the higher bit encryption it uses, the more difficult it becomes to decrypt data packets.
- Speed Just because it has all the features that are required it shouldn’t mean it should compromise on its performance. If a VPN is to be used on a corporate network, it can’t be the reason for bottlenecks or failures.
- 24/7 support A VPN needs to be on round the clock. A failure or issue at any given time should be resolved in the shortest amount of time. This means the tool’s makers should offer quick customer support at any time of the day or night.
- Price Any tool should always be worth the investment.
It is with these points taken into consideration that we will now see the best GlobalProtect alternatives.
The five best GlobalProtect alternatives
Perimeter 81 is a SaaS-based tool for protecting networks and endpoints from malicious infections. This easy-to-deploy solution supports web filtering, URL filtering, DNS filtering, and more which makes it one of the best solutions to protect resources.
- It has a Monitoring Dashboard that offers a view of all network access with near-real data that is refreshed every 1-2 minutes for up-to-date network usage information.
- The tool’s views are easily filtered by time range, network, region, and gateway so users can focus on the information they need to manage their networks. It displays active sessions, utilized member licenses, gateway licenses, applications, and active users.
- It uses the Zero Trust and Software Defined Perimeter security models and seamless onboarding and integration with all major cloud providers.
Try Perimeter 81 – request a demo for FREE.
2. Cisco AnyConnect
Cisco AnyConnect (part of Cisco Secure client) is a VPN designed to provide remote clients with secure enterprise-wide network access across multiple locations and devices.
- Administrators can easily utilize the platform to identify network usage details and automatically conduct endpoint posture assessments to ensure data security.
- It provides flexible, policy-driven access through wired, wireless, and VPN connections.
- It helps detect which and what devices are using the network and gives insight and control as well as determining the status of compliance while increasing security by automating ongoing endpoint posture inspections and remediation.
Try Cisco AnyConnect for FREE.
3. McAfee Mobile Security
McAfee Mobility Security is an inclusive security solution for mobile devices and not just a VPN tool.
- Users can monitor personal information like email accounts, phone numbers, SSNs, and more. If breaches are found they get alerts so they can take action before their data is stolen.
- McAfee unlimited VPN turns on automatically to protect such personal and financial data allowing for secure banking, shopping, and online browsing from anywhere.
- It offers enhanced protection with additional antivirus and antimalware to prevent infections, phishing attacks, and identity theft.
JumpCloud is a tool that provides a comprehensive and flexible cloud directory platform for securing remote access to corporate networks. It offers a single pane of glass to manage user identities and resource access to secure Mac, Windows, and Linux devices, as well as get insights into the whole environment.
- It is a cloud-based solution for controlling and managing employee identities, their devices, and applying Zero Trust principles.
- It can easily enforce biometric and Time-based, One-Time Password (TOTP) MFA to safeguard user access to applications, devices, networks, and other connected assets.
- It automates policy enforcement, reporting, and management at scale with Zero-touch onboarding from setup to configuration to software management.
Try JumpCloud for FREE.
FortiClient is a Fortinet tool for protection, compliance, and secure access in a single, modular lightweight client. It comes with an agent that runs on an endpoint, such as a laptop or mobile device, that communicates with the core platform – the Fortinet Security Fabric – to provide information on, visibility into, and control of the device.
- It is a complete package that eliminates security threats with additional VPN capabilities that allows users to connect to their organization’s network from their home or any other network.
- It offers easy management of application control, USB control, URL filtering, and firmware upgrade policies.
- It is an endpoint security system that emphasizes automated advanced threat protection, security fabric integration, secure remote access, endpoint quarantine, and a comprehensive reporting dashboard.
Try FortiClient for FREE.
Conclusion – the GlobalProtect review and alternatives
The GlobalProtect review and alternatives we have seen all help protect your network when your users need to connect from remote locations. As we have seen, they primarily work on securing the connection and authenticating the users as well as monitoring devices’ health before they can connect to access resources.
We hope you find it informative and would like to hear your thoughts on it. Leave us a comment.