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What is Palo Alto?

Palo Alto Networks Traps is an endpoint protection solution that utilizes effective endpoint protection technology alongside endpoint detection and response capabilities as a unified agent. It empowers security teams to automatically protect, discover and respond to attacks. Palo Alto employs AI and machine learning techniques to handle unknown, known or sophisticated attacks.

XDR tools further EDR concepts to provide organizations with a unified view of security events across their IT environments. As a result, it is worth noting that Palo Alto Networks no longer supports Traps today as support ended on March 1, 2022. Traps is now a part of Cortex XDR. Here’s a guide outlining how to migrate from Traps Endpoint Security Manager to Cortex XDR.

What is Fortinet?

FortiEDR is Fortinet’s EDR solution that offers real-time automated pre- and post-infection endpoint protection. With orchestrated incident response across many communication devices like servers with legacy and current operating systems, and operational technology and manufacturing systems, Fortinet proves to be a comprehensive endpoint security platform. It proactively lessens the attack surface, prevents malware infections and handles potential threats in real-time.

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Fortinet vs Palo Alto: Feature comparison

FeatureFortinetPalo Alto
Real-time preventionYesYes
Zero-trust approachYesYes
Shared threat intelligenceYesYes
Customizable playbooksYesNo
Incident alertsYesYes

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Head-to-head comparison: Fortinet vs Palo Alto

Malware and ransomware protection

Fortinet stops malware attacks before they are executed using a machine learning anti-malware engine. This next-generation antivirus capability is built into a lightweight agent and is configurable to make it easy for end-users to set anti-malware protection to the endpoint group of their choosing without further installation.

Through a constantly updated cloud database, Fortinet’s real-time threat intelligence feeds are continuously enriched. Fortinet also offers offline protection for disconnected endpoints and leverages application control to conveniently enter allowed or blocked applications to predetermined lists.

To prevent ransomware, Fortinet defuses the threat of potential ransomware by detecting suspicious processes and behaviors and cutting outbound communication and access to file systems of those processes. The tool halts ransomware damage in real-time to uphold business continuity on compromised devices.

Similar to how Traps used to handle malware and ransomware, Palo Alto Networks through the Cortex XDR agent blocks the execution of malicious files using various preventative technologies to stop both modern and traditional attacks. It uses WildFire Threat Intelligence, which is Palo Alto’s malware prevention service, to constantly aggregate threat data and ensure immunity across not only endpoints but also cloud applications and networks. Palo Alto queries WildFire on whether a file is benign or malicious and receives a near-immediate response which results in malicious files being quarantined.

Palo Alto then employs local analysis using machine learning on endpoints to establish whether a file is executable if it is still unidentified after querying WildFire. Without using behavioral analysis, signatures or scanning, local analysis allows users to determine whether files are benign or malicious. Palo Alto can then send unidentified files to WildFire for deeper inspection and analysis to quickly expose potential malware. The Cortex XDR agent also leverages a behavioral threat detection engine that examines the behavior of numerous related processes to expose attacks in real-time.

Investigation and hunting

Fortinet carries out forensics on compromised endpoints by automatically enriching data with detailed malware information both before and after infection. It offers an intuitive interface that highlights best practices and offers security analysts the next logical steps. Fortinet’s automated investigations ensure users maintain their productivity by ensuring they encounter minimal interruptions.

Security analysts can carry out threat hunting on their own time as Fortinet automatically defuses and halts threats. Furthermore, patented code-tracing technology ensures that the entire attack chain and stack are fully visible. This makes it possible to trace conclusive evidence of threats even on offline devices.

Palo Alto’s solution constantly exchanges data with Cortex Data Lake, which is a cloud-based data collection, analysis and storage service. It stores event and incident data in Cortex Data Lake, which transfers it to Cortex XDR for additional investigation and faster and simpler threat hunting that empowers security operations teams to stop attacks and beef up defenses in real-time.

Cortex XDR assists teams to accelerate their investigations through a complete picture of alerts by stitching together different types of data and disclosing the root causes and timelines of alerts. These teams can also hunt threats using precise or open-ended search queries.

Response and remediation

Fortinet offers users custom playbooks with cross-environment insights to orchestrate incident response operations. This allows users to streamline their incident response and remediation operations. They can automate incident classification as well as optimize the signal-to-alert ratio. Fortinet uses patented code tracing to provide full visibility of the attack chain and malicious changes.

Whether automatically or manually, these malicious alterations by contained threats can be rolled back whether on one device or across an environment. Additionally, cleanup can also be automated all while preserving system uptime. Fortinet automates incident response actions like ending malicious processes, undoing persistent changes, removing files, opening tickets, isolating devices and applications, and sending out user notifications.

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On the other hand, Traps provides incident response teams and administrators with various remediation options once an investigation is done. Administrators can stop all network access on compromised endpoints, excluding traffic to Traps management service, to isolate endpoints. Traps can quarantine malicious files and dispose of their directories. It can also retrieve specific files from endpoints to conduct additional analysis.

Where there is malicious activity on endpoints, the solution can terminate running processes to halt malware. Furthermore, users can blacklist specific files in policies to block further executions. Lastly, users can connect to endpoints using Live Terminal to manage and navigate files and processes.

Cortex XDR offers features, such as a standout incident management view, that accelerate incident response. This unique view groups related attacks to show all elements of an attack. Through a single console, Cortex XDR empowers security teams to eliminate cloud, network and endpoint threats.

Choosing between Fortinet and Palo Alto

Fortinet provides a solid solution for users that need an EDR solution that proactively offers real-time risk mitigation, exhaustive automation options as well as IoT security with extensive pre- and post-infection options. However, as Palo Alto has transitioned from EDR to XDR, this fails to be a fair comparison as XDR solutions are a significant improvement upon EDR tools, thus making Palo Alto Networks the clear preference.

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