he United States Agency for International Development (USAID) recently inked a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with global cybersecurity leader Palo Alto Networks (NASDAQ: PANW) to help augment the digital infrastructure ecosystem, improve digital government services and establish a robust cybersecurity posture for the Philippines.
The MOU was signed by Rebekah Eubanks, USAID/Philippines Acting Mission Director and Steven Scheurmann, Palo Alto Networks, Regional Vice President for ASEAN, in the presence of Mary Rose E. Magsaysay, Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Deputy Executive Director for Cybercrime and Investigation Coordinating Center; John Garrity,USAID’s Better Access and Connectivity (BEACON) Activity Chief of Party; Steven Scheurmann, Palo Alto Networks regional vice president for ASEAN at Palo Alto Networks; and Oscar Visaya, Palo Alto Networks country manager for the Philippines.
Under this MOU, Palo Alto Networks will support and collaborate with USAID, through its Better Access and Connectivity (BEACON) project, to develop programs and activities that will realize the vision of an efficient, robust and secure Philippine ICT Ecosystem, which includes assessments, audits, training, skills development and certifications. Through the five-year, Php1.65-billion ($33 million) BEACON project, USAID promotes economic growth through better information and communications technology (ICT), helping bridge the digital divide in the Philippines.
“USAID is steadfast in its commitment to improve the Philippines’ ICT ecosystem, strengthen regulatory governance on digital technology, and strengthen cybersecurity protections by engaging our partners in collective action to tackle complex development problems and come up with sustainable solutions,” said Acting Mission Director Eubanks. “We will continue to support the Philippine government in building a future where digital technology promotes inclusive growth, fosters resilient and democratic societies, and empowers all, including the most vulnerable.”
At a strategic level, the collaboration will provide technical assistance and resources to maintain an efficient, secure and robust information, communication and technology (ICT) ecosystem to support the growing demand for digital transformation. It will also empower the country to improve its capabilities to defend against malicious entities by implementing a Zero Trust framework and building up cybersecurity talent through training and certifications.
Palo Alto Networks Zero Trust is a strategic approach to cybersecurity that helps secure an organization by eliminating implicit trust and continuously validating every stage of digital interaction. As hybrid setup has become the norm for many organizations, including public agencies, Zero Trust will help in securing remote access to data, applications and critical infrastructure.
“Governments are modernizing their networks to take advantage of digital innovations and improve the way they communicate with citizens. As they modernize their IT infrastructure, their cybersecurity must keep pace with these developments. Through this collaboration, we are keen to bring our expertise to help strengthen the defense posture of the Philippines’ ICT ecosystem and protect the digital way of life for Filipinos,” shared Visaya.
The partnership is expected to increase the adoption of e-commerce and other digital services by increasing consumer confidence through awareness and promotion of safe computing practices, and the adoption of international standards and best practices.