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CIO Influence Interview with Anand Oswal, SVP and GM of Network Security at Palo Alto Networks

CIO Influence Interview with Anand Oswal, SVP and GM of Network Security at Palo Alto Networks

“With its integrated AIOps capability, Strata Cloud Manager transforms this data into actionable insights using predictive analytics and best practice analysis.”

Hi Anand, welcome to our CIO Influence Interview Series. Please tell us a little bit about your role and responsibilities at Palo Alto Networks.

Thanks for having me, Sudipto. I serve as Senior Vice President and GM of Network Security at Palo Alto Networks, a global cybersecurity leader. In my role, I lead Product Management, Engineering, Product Strategy, and GTM efforts across Network Security – Firewalls, Cloud Delivered Security Services, and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE).

Could you please tell us more about the recently launched STRATA Cloud Manager?

Strata Cloud Manager is an integral part of our network security Zero Trust platform. We have the best-in-class form factors and best-in-class security services and we wanted to develop an innovative approach to achieving a Zero Trust management and operations solution.

PREDICTIONS SERIES 2024 - CIO InfluenceStrata Cloud Manager is the industry’s first AI-powered zero trust management and operations solution that prevents network disruptions, strengthens security in real-time, and enables simple and consistent network security management and operations across all form factors, including SASE.

How do you bring together AI and Zero Trust capabilities for advanced security management?

Strata Cloud Manager ensures our customers author Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) and Zero Trust policies uniformly for all enforcement points such as SASE, hardware, and software firewalls. Strata Cloud Manager gathers extensive telemetry data from customers’ entire enterprise and processes it in the cloud. With its integrated AIOps capability, Strata Cloud Manager transforms this data into actionable insights using predictive analytics and best practice analysis. You can then use a single interface to create one policy and enforce it everywhere, consistently across your entire deployment.

Benefits of AI Authentication in Preventing Digital Threats

What is the most impactful network security management technology that drives digital transformation for IT organizations in 2023? 

  • AI/ML – It analyzes large data sets to identify patterns and anomalies to improve the ability to predict, detect, and prevent in real-time.
  • Automation – It streamlines the management of security policies, reducing manual errors and automating responses to alerts to help mitigate threats more effectively.

Please tell us more about the best practices in network security management supported by AI-powered analysis and reporting tools.

Strata Cloud Manager strengthens security in real time by analyzing your deployment and configuration, applying real-time best practice analysis and ML-powered inline remediation to maximize ROI on security investments, remediate misconfiguration, and proactively improve your security posture.

What kind of infrastructure does a financial services organization need to streamline the network security management using AI? 

Palo Alto Networks securely enables digital transformation with a platform approach to network security that protects everyone, everything, everywhere, detects and prevents sophisticated attacks, and automates manual security operations, delivering simplicity and agility. We deliver consistent security enforcement irrespective of where users, applications, and devices are located. We enable customers to exceed the pace of today’s and tomorrow’s attackers with AI-powered intelligence–to detect and stop attacks in real time. We simplify operations by automating error-prone manual tasks, reducing duplicative alerts, and leveraging AI to proactively improve security posture and health.

Your take on the future of next-gen firewalls in building strong OT environments across different regions: 

The next-gen firewalls or NGFWs provide advanced security measures that can be tailored to the unique challenges of industrial control systems.

NGFWs go beyond traditional firewall capabilities to facilitate secure communications between connected devices and systems. By enforcing granular access controls, monitoring network traffic, and detecting anomalous behavior, NGFWs help safeguard critical infrastructure from cyber attacks to ensure the reliability and integrity of processes in mission-critical sectors such as manufacturing, utilities, and electricity.

NGFWs will continue to play an important role in OT environments, facilitating seamless management of both IT and OT assets, and helping to ensure a unified defense strategy that comprehensively addresses the distinct challenges posed by the convergence of information and operational technology.

Lighter notes:

  • Burn the midnight candle or soak in the sun?

Burn the midnight candle

  • Coffee, or Tea?


  • Your favorite Palo Alto Networks product marketing initiative that you want everyone to know about?

We invest deeply in customer feedback. Our product marketing managers meet regularly with customers, sellers, and analysts to make sure that we don’t just build innovative security solutions, but that we are also educating customers.

  • First memorable experience in your career as an IT and security ops leader?

Seeing my direct reports succeed independently in their endeavors, whether it is personal or professional.

  • One thing you remember about your employee (s):

Their shared passion for not only innovation but also the work that we do here at Palo Alto Networks. Cybersecurity is essential and the work we do centers around keeping customers secure.

  • Most useful app that you currently use: 

My calendar app

Thank you, Anand! That was fun and we hope to see you back on CIO Influence soon.

[To participate in our interview series, please write to us at]

Anand Oswal serves as Senior Vice President at cyber security leader Palo Alto Networks where he leads the company’s Network Security efforts.

Before this, he was Senior Vice President of Engineering for Cisco’s Intent-Based Networking Group where he was responsible for building the entire set of platforms, from switching, wireless, and routing to IoT and cloud services, that make up Cisco’s extensive enterprise networking portfolio. Anand joined Cisco in 2009 via the acquisition of Starent Networks, a leader in mobile packet core gateways. He also led teams at Redback Networks, Cisco’s Mobile Wireless Group, and Sun Microsystems.

Anand is a gifted, dynamic leader, highly experienced in building strong, diverse, and motivated teams that continually excel through a relentless focus on execution.

He holds more than 60 U.S. patents and earned a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications from the College of Engineering, Pune, India, and a master’s degree in computer networking from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

He is a frequent speaker on technology, innovation, management, diversity, and the importance of family.

Brand - Palo Alto Networks

Palo Alto Networks is the world’s cybersecurity leader. We innovate to outpace cyber threats so organizations can confidently embrace technology. We provide next-gen cybersecurity to thousands of customers globally across all sectors. Our best-in-class cybersecurity platforms and services are backed by industry-leading threat intelligence and strengthened by state-of-the-art automation. Whether deploying our products to enable the Zero Trust Enterprise, responding to a security incident, or partnering to deliver better security outcomes through a world-class partner ecosystem, we’re committed to helping ensure each day is safer than the one before. It’s what makes us the cybersecurity partner of choice.

At Palo Alto Networks, we’re committed to bringing together the very best people in service of our mission, so we’re also proud to be the cybersecurity workplace of choice, recognized among Newsweek’s Most Loved Workplaces (2023, 2022, 2021), with a score of 100 on the Disability Equality Index (2023, 2022), and HRC Best Places for LGBTQ Equality (2022).


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