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Accenture Launches Platform Powered by Palo Alto, Splunk, Tanium

Consulting giant Accenture has announced a new partnership with Palo Alto Networks (PAN), Splunk and Tanium, with the goal of providing an integrated security solution that covers the primary bases swiftly and efficiently.

Delivered through the Accenture Cyber Defense Platform (ACDP), the new offering integrates PAN's next-generation firewalls and Traps end-point protection with Tanium's visibility and control, all under Accenture's own operating model and cyber defense architecture.

With the combined capabilities of the products, explained Kelly Bissell, senior managing director of Accenture Security, "we can now offer clients a comprehensive solution that helps address identification, protection, prevention, detection and response and does so across all endpoints and networks, which is a major leap in mitigating risk."

An additional custom implementation of Splunk combines the integrated technologies under a single pane of glass with a defined workflow and aggregated data. The intention is to provide a solution that integrates both preventative perimeter defenses and breach detection and response -- and one that can be delivered to new and existing customers speedily and efficiently. "The integrated solutions," commented Julie Boehl, director of security operations at BG Group (an integrated natural gas company), "form a powerful, comprehensive platform that actively identifies network intrusions and stops attacks at the earliest phases."

Layered defense against today's threats is considered essential. The additional layer of Splunk's analytical capabilities enhances the detection capabilities of the other technologies. "Bringing together network and endpoint technologies with powerful analytics, enablement of adaptive response and automation allows companies to address the full spectrum of security challenges they face," said Haiyan Song, senior vice president of security markets at Splunk. "By teaming with Palo Alto Networks, Tanium and Accenture we are able to offer a powerful solution in one integrated platform, ensuring a strong defensive posture."

Accenture has separately announced a new relationship with Endgame, a machine learning subtle threat detection and removal system. This is described as a 'threat hunting as-a-Service offering' that 'stealthily helps to identify and surgically remove known and never before seen adversaries that have evaded traditional security methods.'

It is "an advanced managed cyber defense solution that makes it easier, more efficient and effective to identify, prevent, detect, and respond to attacks." This description was applied to the PAN/Splunk/Tanium integration, although it could equally be used to describe the Endgame solution. SecurityWeek asked Ryan LaSalle, Accenture's Global Managing Director, Growth & Strategy, if the company had announced two separate partnerships to solve the same problem -- effectively competing with each other.

He said not, explaining that the two technologies can complement each other. Endgame is excellent at hunting and surgically removing stealthy and advanced threats, even if never seen before, without disrupting business processes. Although he didn't say so, it would be foolish to believe that any combination of technologies can guarantee to stop all attacks. Large and critical industries would benefit from the additional layer of managed Endgame infiltration detection.

While the PAN/Splunk/Tanium integration managed locally might stop the vast majority of attacks, the artificial intelligence machine-learning threat-hunting as a service that is Accenture/Endgame could be used to detect anything that still managed to get through. It is unlikely that any but the largest of companies could afford or justify both platforms, but large companies are meat and potatoes to Accenture.

LaSalle noted that as AI improves, he expects Endgame-like solutions to become more important and more mainstream to cyber defenses. In the meantime, companies that want on-premises controlled security solutions can select the PAN/Splunk/Tanium solution while companies that are looking for more of a managed solution can concentrate on the Endgame threat hunting solution. Large and critical industries can adopt both for that extra layer of confidence.

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Kevin Townsend is a Senior Contributor at SecurityWeek. He has been writing about high tech issues since before the birth of Microsoft. For the last 15 years he has specialized in information security; and has had many thousands of articles published in dozens of different magazines – from The Times and the Financial Times to current and long-gone computer magazines.