When it comes to cybersecurity, the two leading platforms comes to our thoughts are Check Point and Palo Alto. Many tend to think that these top contenders are largely the same, to decide which solution has a upper hand and a better cybersecurity platform choice, it certainly helps to get acquainted with this duo of options better. Below is the comparison aims to help you decide better by exploring the following factors:

  • Security features
  • Management functions
  • Ease of use and efficiency

Checkpoint Overview

Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. is a leading provider of cyber security solutions to governments and corporate enterprises globally. Its solutions protect customers from 5th generation cyber-attacks with an industry leading catch rate of malware, ransomware, and other types of attacks. Check Point offers multilevel security architecture, “Infinity” Total Protection with Gen V advanced threat prevention, which defends enterprises’ cloud, network and mobile device held information. Check Point provides the most comprehensive and intuitive one point of control security management system. Check Point protects over 100,000 organizations of all sizes.

Check Point’s products contain the world’s most advanced security technology. The Company currently holds 73 United States patents, more than 30 U.S. patents pending, and additional patents issued and patent applications pending worldwide.

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Palo Alto Overview

Palo Alto Networks next-generation firewalls safely enable applications and prevent modern threats by inspecting all traffic, applications, threats, and content and tying it to the user, regardless of location or device type. The application, content, and user the elements that run your business become integral components of your Security policy. This allows you to align security with your key business initiatives. With our next-generation security platform, you reduce response times to incidents, discover unknown threats, and streamline security network deployment.

Safely enable applications, users, and content by classifying all traffic, determining the business use case, and assigning policies to allow and protect access to relevant applications.

Prevent threats by eliminating unwanted applications to reduce your threat footprint and apply targeted Security policy rules to block known vulnerability exploits, viruses, spyware, botnets, and unknown malware (APTs). Protect your data centre’s through the validation of applications, isolation of data, control over rogue applications, and high-speed threat prevention.

Secure public and private cloud computing environments with increased visibility and control; deploy, enforce, and maintain Security policy rules at the same pace as your virtual machines.

Main Offerings

CheckpointPalo-Alto
Unified threat managementApplication-based policy enforcement (App-ID)
Uninterrupted in-line configurationUser identification (User-ID) for easier admin configuration and firewall policy enforcement
The integrated signature based IPS engineThreat-prevention services
Network address translation (NAT)URL filtering
Serial peripheral interface (SPI)Network versatility and speed to suit any network or environment
Virtual private network (VPN)Global Protect software to secure client systems
App awarenessFail-safe function for high availability
SSL decryptionWildfire malware analysis and reporting
Full-stack visibilityVM-Series firewall
Machine identity awareness that enables integration with Active DirectoryManagement via a web interface or command-line interface

Major Offerings Differences

Check Point’s NGFW is built for real-time threat prevention to block malicious software or other forms of attacks from ever reaching the network. With Palo Alto, it is possible for infections to reach the network, although this does not necessarily mean that the protection failed. Palo Alto sends an alert of the infection to act.

Check Point can be considered as the better option when it comes to visibility. Its application awareness feature allows it to have wider visibility especially for high-risk apps and shadow IT activities. It covers more than 8,600 applications, which is more than double the visibility afforded by Palo Alto

Another feature that makes Check Point’s visibility better is its integration of the MITRE ATT&CK framework. Palo Alto does not have this function.

Based on third-party evaluations, Check Point appears to have some slight edge in security. Check Point earned one of the highest scores in NSS Labs BPS 2019. It also received a “Recommended” rating from Cyber Ratings 2021, which is like the rating given to Palo Alto’s NGFW. The latter, however, only scored 13/20, which is lower than the 19/20 given to Check Point.

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Security features

CheckpointPalo-Alto
Patient 0 preventionSSL decryption to examine SSL-concealed threats
100 percent traffic inspection, prioritizing security over performanceIntelligent, network security and threat monitoring
Pre-emptive protection that sanitizes files or documents before they are accessed by usersAutomatic failover support
Robust intrusion prevention system (IPS)Comprehensive endpoint protection and response with the Wildfire malware prevention service and the Cortex XDR detection and response system
SSL decryption, which makes it possible to identify undesirable encrypted appsSecurity for client systems through Global Protect
Change management functionURL filtering
Fewer software vulnerabilities found 
Demonstrable record of protection against top vulnerabilities 

Major differences in Security Features

Data compiled from 2018 to 2020 show that Check Point’s next-generation firewall only logged 24 vulnerabilities compared to the 233 found in Palo Alto’s firewall. It is also lower than detected in Fortinet and Cisco’s firewall solutions.

Check Point’s 100 percent traffic inspection may sacrifice some of its performance, but it is a big boon for security especially when compared to Palo Alto’s approach. The latter only inspects parts of the traffic for threats, which entails bigger exposure to risks.

Check Point has shown a remarkable record of being on top of the leading vulnerabilities. Check Point managed to detect all the 25 high-profile vulnerabilities listed in NSA’s alert advisory on October 20, 2020. In contrast, Palo Alto’s next-gen firewall missed 16 percent of them.

Check Point also scored a 100 percent detection. Palo Alto only caught 13 of the 16 of the common vulnerabilities and exposures listed by FireEye. As far as security is concerned, it would not be an exaggeration to say that Check Point trumps Palo Alto. It does not only have more practical security features and functions; it also has data to prove its effectiveness.

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Management Capabilities

CheckpointPalo-Alto
Centralized network security managementSimple cloud-based management
Easy configurationIntuitive interface for easy policy and event management and faster incident response
Impressive scalabilityEndpoint security management system that allows the review of security events as they occur
Sense of urgencyNondisruptive Cortex XDR agent that conveniently enforces security policies on endpoints

Major differences in management capabilities

Enterprise users may prefer Check Point’s single security management console, which is great at reducing the complexity of operation while also improving security and workflow. Palo Alto’s simple cloud-based interface is great, but without unification and centralization, having to deal with multiple consoles can get tedious and confusing. It can lead to the failure to attend to some or many of the alerts and events that appear on the different consoles.

With respect to Configuration efficiency, Check Point provides a bit of an advantage. It only has seven menus, making it easier and faster to configure security. In contrast, Palo Alto presents 35 menus, which can get confusing or make it difficult to find the right menus for certain actions.

Scalability is also an area that can be considered advantageous for Check Point users. With its centralized management approach, it is easy for organizations to scale up or down depending on their needs. With Palo Alto, users will have to get acquainted with at least two solutions and two management consoles.

Check Point’s next-gen firewall works, it only takes an average of 6 days to resolve vulnerabilities. Vulnerability patching or threat fixing with Palo Alto averages at around 128 days.

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Final Thoughts

Both offer excellent NGFW, providing adequate protection to enterprise users with different approaches and emphasis. It would be inexpedient to offer a single product recommendation. Different users have different requirements and cyber threat situations. The advantages offered by one option may not always be a significant benefit to certain kinds of users.

It is up to users to evaluate their requirements and pick the right solution that can address their needs and preferences. However, it is advisable to consider the points mentioned above especially regarding security features, management capabilities, efficiency, and ease of use or intuitiveness.