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How to Register a Palo Alto Firewall and Activate Support, Subscription Services & Licenses. Covers All Models.

Posted in Palo Alto Firewalls

palo alto networks logoThis article explains how to register and activate your Palo Alto Firewall Appliance to obtain technical support, RMA hardware replacement, product updates, antivirus updates, wildfire, antispam updates, Threat Prevention, URL Filtering, Global Protect and more. The article covers all Palo Alto Firewalls including: PA-220, PA-820, PA-850, PA-3220, PA-3250, PA-3260, PA-5220, PA-5250, PA-5260, PA-5280, PA-7050, PA-7080 and all VM Series.

Customers purchasing a new Palo Alto Firewall appliance or support contract will receive an authorization code which is required to activate their technical support, license and service subscriptions – this, plus lots more useful information is included below.

Let’s take a look at what’s covered in this article:

Additional technical articles are available in our Palo Alto Firewall Section

The diagram below shows the steps new customers should follow to successfully register and activate their Palo Alto products:

palo alto license registration diagram

Benefits of a Support Account, Firewall Registration and License Activation

Registering your security appliance has many benefits, especially when you consider that any unpatched or outdated security appliance is unable to provide adequate protection against today’s complex and intelligent security threats. Furthermore by registering your appliance you are protecting your investment as you become a ‘known’ customer to Palo Alto allowing you to engage the vendor and benefit from the wide range of services offered.

By creating a Support Account, registering your Firewall appliance and activating your License you’ll be able to perform the following:

  • Register and manage your firewall appliances(s). Palo Alto call these “Assets
  • Create and manage support cases
  • Create and manage users from your organization
  • Give members of your team access to Palo Alto support services
  • Gain access to a variety of tools found in the support portal
  • Obtain knowledge and answers to questions
  • Obtain access to the Palo Alto live community
  • Download PAN-OS (Palo Alto Operating System) software updates for your device
  • Download Antivirus updates
  • Download Antispam updates
  • Download Threat protection updates
  • Update App-ID Database on your device
  • Ensure the URL Filtering engine is up to date
  • Gain access to Wildfire which allows the firewall to safely ‘detonate’ suspicious files in the cloud

The above list is indicative and shows the variety of services offered to registered Palo Alto customers with an active subscription service.

Creating a Palo Alto Support Account - New Customers

WAN Optimization vs SD WAN Networks. Today’s Challenges & Difficulties for WAN Optimization

Posted in SASE & SD-WAN Networks

sd wan vs wan accelerationEnterprises have been successfully running WAN optimization appliances at their many distributed sites for years. The devices have done a good job of helping businesses squeeze as much capacity as possible out of their WAN links and to improve performance across low-bandwidth, long-distance network circuits.

WAN optimizers were a boon to telecom budgets when network bandwidth was particularly pricey. Businesses also have used the devices to prioritize applications that are sensitive to delay and packet loss--particularly when traffic is shuttled among corporate-controlled sites.

However, changes in network traffic patterns and application protocols, the tendency to encrypt data in transit, the emergence of software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) and other factors are all challenging the need for WAN optimization in the edge appliance form factor that IT shops have traditionally deployed.

Shifting Network Landscape

wan optimization vs sd wanWhile historically most application requests were directed inward, toward corporate data centers, most are now outbound, toward cloud and Internet locations. As the software as a service (SaaS) computing model continues to gain steam, these trends will only get stronger.

With much of corporate traffic headed toward the cloud, enterprises have little or no control over the far-end site. As a result, it becomes difficult to support a network topology requiring optimization appliances at both ends of the WAN link. Ever try asking Salesforce.com if you could install your own, specially configured WAN optimization appliance in their network? Good luck.

In addition, today’s security schemes can throw a wrench into traditional WAN optimization setups. Nearly all cloud-bound traffic is SSL/TLS-encrypted from the workstation to the cloud using keys that aren’t readily accessible. WAN optimizers can’t see that traffic to shape or treat it, unless the device is brought into the certification path for decryption and re-encryption before delivery. Adding that step introduces a processing burden to the optimization appliance that can impede scalability.

Another change factor is that Internet bandwidth is more plentiful than it was when WAN optimizers came to market, and it’s far more affordable than MPLS capacity. So the requirement to compress data and deduplicate packets to conserve expensive bandwidth, which traditional WAN optimizers are good at, has become less stringent.

Free Webinar: Azure Security Center: How to Protect Your Datacenter with Next Generation Security

Posted in Other Articles

azure security center webinarSecurity is a major concern for IT admins and if you’re responsible for important workloads hosted in Azure, you need to know your security is as tight as possible. In this free webinar, presented by Thomas Maurer, Senior Cloud Advocate on the Microsoft Azure Engineering Team, and Microsoft MVP Andy Syrewicze, you will learn how to use Azure Security Center to ensure your cloud environment is fully protected.

There are certain topics in the IT administration world which are optional but security is not one of them. Ensuring your security knowledge is ahead of the curve is an absolute necessity and becoming increasingly important as we are all becoming exposed to more and more online threats every day. If you are responsible for important workloads hosted in Azure, this webinar is a must!

The webinar covers:

  • Azure Security Center introductions
  • Deployment and first steps
  • Best practices
  • Integration with other tools
  • And much more!

Being an Altaro-hosted webinar, expect this webinar to be packed full of actionable information presented via live demos so you can see the theory put into practice before your eyes. Also, Altaro put a heavy emphasis on interactivity, encouraging questions from attendees and using engaging polls to get instant feedback on the session. To ensure as many people as possible have this opportunity, Altaro present the webinar live twice so pick the best time for you and don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you like!

Webinar: Azure Security Center: How to Protect Your Datacenter with Next Generation Security
Date: Tuesday, 30th July
Time: Webinar presented live twice on the day. Choose your preferred time:

  • 2pm CEST / 5am PDT / 8am EDT
  • 7pm CEST / 10am PDT / 1pm EDT

Click here to save your free seat Now!

azure security center webinar

Major Cisco Certification Changes - New Cisco CCNA, CCNP Enterprise, Specialist, DevNet and more from Feb. 2020

Posted in Other Articles

new cisco certification paths Feb 2020Cisco announced a major update to their CCNA, CCNP and CCIE certification program at Cisco Live last week, with the changes happening on the 24th  February 2020.


CCNA and CCENT Certification

The 10 current CCNA tracks (CCNA Routing and Switching, CCNA Cloud, CCNA Collaboration, CCNA Cyber Ops, CCNA Data Center, CCNA Industrial, CCNA Security, CCNA Service Provider, CCNA Wireless and CCNA Design) are being retired and replaced with a single ‘CCNA’ certification. The new CCNA exam combines most of the information on the current CCNA Routing and Switching with additional wireless, security and network automation content.

A new Cisco Certified DevNet Associate certification is also being released to satisfy the increasing demand in this area.

The current CCENT certification is being retired. There hasn’t been an official announcement from Cisco yet but rumours are saying that we might be seeing new ‘Foundations’ certifications which will focus on content from the retiring CCNA tracks.

CCNP Certification

Different technology tracks remain at the CCNP level. CCNP Routing and Switching, CCNP Design and CCNP Wireless are being consolidated into the new CCNP Enterprise, and CCNP Cloud is being retired. A new Cisco Certified DevNet Professional certification is also being released.

Only two exams will be required to achieve each CCNP certification – a Core and a Concentration exam. Being CCNA certified will no longer be a prerequisite for the CCNP certification.

If you pass any CCNP level exams before February 24 2020, you’ll receive badging for corresponding new exams and credit toward the new CCNP certification.

new cisco certification roadmap 2020

Click to Enlarge

CCIE Certification

The format of the CCIE remains largely the same, with a written and lab exam required to achieve the certification. The CCNP Core exam will be used as the CCIE Written exam though, there will no longer be a separate written exam at the CCIE level. Automation and Network Programmability are being added to the exams for every track.

All certifications will be valid for 3 years under the new program so you will no longer need to recertify CCIE every 2 years.

How the Changes Affect You

If you’re currently studying for any Cisco certification the advice from Cisco is to keep going. If you pass before the cutover your certification will remain valid for 3 years from the date you certify. If you pass some but not all CCNP level exams before the change you can receive credit towards the new certifications.

We've added a few resources to which you can turn to an obtain additional information:

The Flackbox blog has a comprehensive video and text post covering all the changes.

The official Cisco certification page is here.

NetFlow Analyzer: Free Download, Step-by-Step Installation, Configuration & Optimization Windows - Linux

Posted in Netflow

netflow analyzer trafficIn our previous article we explained how a Netflow Analyzer can help you gain visibility into your user traffic, application traffic and data flows while at the same time analyze traffic patterns, detect unusual traffic, verify bandwidth availability, detect Quality of Service (QoS) problems and a lot more.

In this article we will introduce Network Analyzer - a bandwidth and traffic analysis tool that helps you monitor the bandwidth utilization in your network and analyze the who, when, what of your network traffic. It uses flow technology to give you real time visibility into your network and supports all major flow formats such us netflow, sflow, jflow, IPFIX, and appflow.

Network Analyzer helps you to drill down into interface level details to discover traffic patterns and monitor device performance, recognize and classify Non-Standard Apps that hog your network bandwidth, and detect security threats. Using a network bandwidth monitoring tool like NetFlow Analyzer allows you to monitor all these critical parameters in real-time.

netflow analyzer download

Here is what we'll be covering in this article:

Related articles:

Easy Installation

NetFlow Analyzer is available for Windows and Linux platforms. For information on supported versions and other specifications, look up System Requirements.

Installing NetFlow Analyzer


  1. Download  NetFlow Analyzer for Windows
  2. Double-click it to start installation. Follow the instructions as they appear on screen to install NetFlow Analyzer on to your machine successfully. NetFlow Analyzer supports both, PostgreSQL and MSSQL as database. Select the desired database and click Next.


  1. Download NetFlow Analyzer for Linux
  2. Assign execute permission using the command: chmod a+x ManageEngine_NetFlowAnalyzer_xxxx.bin where ManageEngine_NetFlowAnalyzer_xxxx is the name of the downloaded BIN file.
  3. Execute the following command: ./ManageEngine_NetFlowAnalyzer_xxxx.bin

Note: During installation if you get an error message stating that the temp folder does not have enough space, try executing this command with the -is:tempdiroption parameter where is the absolute path of an existing directory:

./ManageEngine_NetFlowAnalyzer_xxxx.bin -is:tempdir

For non-x11 machines, use the following command:

./ManageEngine_NetFlowAnalyzer_xxxx.bin -console

Follow the instructions as they appear on the screen to install NetFlow Analyzer on to your machine successfully.

Once you have successfully installed NetFlow Analyzer, start the NetFlow Analyzer server by following the steps below.


Cisco Routers

  • SSL WebVPN
  • Securing Routers
  • Policy Based Routing
  • Router on-a-Stick

VPN Security

  • Understand DMVPN
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Cisco Help

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Windows 2012

  • New Features
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  • Hyper-V / VDI
  • Install Hyper-V


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