Zespri’s cybersecurity transformation: A fruitful partnership with Palo Alto Networks

Zespri’s cybersecurity transformation: A fruitful partnership with Palo Alto Networks

Tim Lloyd, Head of Digital Operations, for New Zealand based Zespri International, the world’s largest marketer of kiwifruit, talks Intelligent CIO through the collaboration with Palo Alto Networks that transformed its cybersecurity capacity.

In an era where cybersecurity threats are constantly evolving, organisations must remain vigilant and proactive to protect their digital assets and operations.

As the world’s leading exporter of kiwi fruit, Zespri recognised the need to bolster our cybersecurity defences and we embarked on a transformative journey, in partnership with Palo Alto Networks.

We are delighted to embrace this collaborative transformation, as Palo Alto Networks’ solutions have remarkably addressed the challenges we encountered.

Understanding the Partnership

At Zespri, we sought to proactively strengthen our cybersecurity program, ensuring scalability and agility to adapt to the ever-changing needs of a dynamic workforce. The key goal was to maintain a simplified and integrated approach to cybersecurity.

The initial phase of the partnership involved the deployment of Palo Alto Networks’ Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFWs), both physical and virtual, which garnered positive results.

Satisfied with the solutions, we decided to expand our cybersecurity footprint by incorporating Prisma SASE and Cortex XDR across our global organisation.

Aiming to bolster resiliency, while maintaining security and improving visibility, Prisma SD-WAN was also implemented in our locations worldwide.

Identifying Pain Points and Choosing Palo Alto Networks

There were several pain points that drove us to adopt Palo Alto Networks’ cybersecurity solutions, including the need to secure remote access during the COVID-19 pandemic’s work-from-home mandates.

As remote work became the norm, safeguarding core assets became paramount.

Inconsistent user experiences across Zespri’s 26 global locations posed another challenge. Despite having effective tools and products in place, there was a lack of a strategic approach to optimise these tools consistently.

Our complex supply chain process, which spans from kiwi fruit cultivation to distribution worldwide, only increased our supply chain risk.

Moreover, legacy technology and third-party involvement further amplified these security concerns. This is when we sought consolidation to streamline our cybersecurity strategy.

Given our lean team size, opting for end-to-end solutions from Palo Alto Networks made practical sense.

Tim Lloyd, Head of Digital Operations, Zespri International

Comparing Palo Alto Networks’ solutions to other options in the market, we found Palo Alto Networks to be the most efficient end-to-end solution in terms of cost, overall efficiency and the quality of service provided.

Their solutions offered a simplistic experience for end-users, timely and excellent support, superior Proof of Concept (POC) engagement and effective interactions with the team.

We had a transparent and supportive relationship which further solidified our decision to partner with them.

Overcoming Limitations and Achieving Measurable Outcomes

At Zespri, we had an extensive cloud deployment within Azure and we were using the fundamental security controls within that ecosystem.

When I joined, one of the immediate priorities was to extend our firewall strategy into the cloud and harness the unique capabilities that Palo Alto Networks offers.

This was aimed at gaining deeper insights and providing enhanced protection for our critical systems, going beyond the basic security measures we had initially implemented.

Our primary objective was to ensure broader visibility and more robust management, enabling us to deliver a higher level of next-generation security to our expanding ecosystem, especially as we ventured into previously unexplored territories of cloud utilisation.

Before this partnership, we had utilised different security solutions from various vendors, but this resulted in disjointed security measures and limited visibility into our overall security posture.

Palo Alto Networks has a comprehensive approach which provides a unified view of our security landscape.

By adopting Palo Alto Networks’ solutions, we also significantly increased our confidence in our security posture, which offered a substantial cost benefit for us.

With the ability to align security deployments globally, including in the cloud, it provided a holistic approach to security management.

Plus, having greater visibility of the network also allowed us to adopt a more targeted cybersecurity approach, differentiating between near-misses and actual incidents.

This shift in focus has reduced the volume of security incidents. The result? A much more efficient security team.

Zespri also received cross-data insights which have accelerated investigations and streamlined incident response and recovery.

With reduced alert fatigue, productivity is boosted and downtime is minimised.

A concrete example of the solution’s effectiveness is the significant reduction in logged support tickets, signifying greater stability, as compared to previous solutions.

Additionally, our team now has enhanced insights into user behaviour, enabling proactive identification of unusual activity and real-time interaction with users.

Notably, Zespri’s decision to consolidate our cybersecurity platform with Palo Alto Networks, particularly the deployment of Prisma SD-WAN, has resulted in annual ongoing savings of at least $500,000.

The Road Ahead

Overall, our transformative journey in partnership with Palo Alto Networks exemplifies the power of a proactive and comprehensive approach to cybersecurity.

By addressing our pain points, consolidating our security platform and leveraging Palo Alto Networks’ end-to-end solutions, Zespri has not only strengthened security posture but also achieved significant cost savings.

As organisations continue to navigate the evolving landscape of cybersecurity threats, Zespri’s experience serves as a valuable testament to the importance of proactive cybersecurity measures and strategic partnerships.

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