I guess part of the reason to do this was to give a sense of application control. The Palo Alto Networks solution will give full security once you gain access to the SSL VPN and/or GlobalProtect. This is done by user, application, HIP - which is not available on most remote access solutions.
Shortcuts/bookmarks can be pushed to client stations through GPO or done manually by the user.
I think the game has shifted a little and the use cases can be reviewed. A full portal may still make sense in some areas - but worth reviewing the actual requirements.
Thanks for the detailed response. It makes sense from a security perspective becuase of palo's ability to secure and control applications . Most customers who ask for the published services on the SSL portal would like to use clientless SSL that lets you reverse proxy to the published applications on the web browser. This is also useful when you connect using a mobile device like an Iphone or even a device which is not yours , a friends machine or a device on another company network where you cant really install an SSL client, I guess clientless vpns just runs a Java applet on your browser.
The other aspect that comes to mind is the convenience of having the published applications to be clicked , as we go to multiple access devices (some which cant be controlled using GPO) , like mobile devices , tablets and other operating systems it just seems more convenient to have a web interface where all access channels are published. We can still run all the Palo Next generation firewall features of application control , IPS etc across these sessions also.
Just thinking out loud.
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