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Princeton University’s OIT connects students, staff, and faculty with Google Cloud and Palo Alto Networks

June 25, 2020
Manvinder Singh

Director, IaaS/PaaS Partnerships, Google Cloud

One of the biggest challenges organizations have faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been transitioning from in-person to remote working, and doing it securely, reliably, and quickly. This transition can be particularly tough for higher education institutions, which have to consider flexible options for faculty, students, and staff that let them be successful from across the globe.

These were some of the issues Princeton University dealt with when it decided to transition its more than 12,000 faculty, students, and staff to work remotely due to the impact of COVID-19. Princeton’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) turned to Google Cloud and our partner Palo Alto Networks to execute this rapid shift, and provide secure, reliable remote access for all its users. To do this, Google Cloud and Palo Alto Networks helped deploy Prisma Access on Google Cloud to enable Princeton’s researchers, faculty, and students to stay securely connected to resources whenever they need them and at high speeds--even with thousands of people logging on simultaneously. Let’s look at some of the specific challenges Princeton’s OIT faced, and how Prisma Access on Google Cloud is helping.

Joe Karam, Princeton’s Associate Director for Networking and Monitoring Services for OIT, leads a team responsible for network routing, switching, automation, and security. Karam knew the team had to work quickly to find a solution. “We had a variety of problems with performance and reliability—the performance would be stable, then unstable, and it would go back and forth,” he explains. “We knew it was causing a lot of grief for students and staff.” 

To fix the problems, Karam and his team considered upgrading the VPN or adding more on-premise hardware. But, none of the options were quite the right fit. Some had stringent licensing requirements: OIT staff would have had to match each license to a specific device, and regain control of licenses when students or staff left Princeton. Other solutions secured applications, but Karam needed an access solution that secured services.

Karam’s team chose Prisma Access to quickly and securely support the university’s transition. It offered the same easy-to-use management interface the team was leveraging with Palo Alto Networks’ GlobalProtect firewall, along with Google Cloud’s best-in-class security and global infrastructure with five layers of data protection.

“It’s been amazing to see the reliability improvements, which people tell us they really notice,” Karam says.“We never have to worry about scalability—that’s a big positive for IT. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Palo Alto Networks and Google Cloud to support over 2,000 unique faculty, students, and staff accessing files daily from six continents around the world.”

Google Cloud and Palo Alto Networks believe that moving to the cloud can help enterprises simplify security. The goal of our joint solutions is to help more enterprises define, enforce, monitor, and maintain consistent security policies across on-premises, public cloud, and hybrid environments, so that more organizations can take advantage of everything the cloud has to offer. 

Visit the Google Cloud Marketplace to learn more about Prisma Access on Google Cloud.

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