Palo Alto Networks was founded in 2005 by Nir Zuk, Yuming Mao, Rajiv Batra and Dave Stevens. It has grown to become a global cybersecurity leader, helping companies achieve their digital transformation in a secure environment.

“We work to deliver solutions that address Zero Trust end-to-end, spanning the infrastructure and providing the capabilities necessary to secure all users, applications, data and devices with comprehensive context at all times, across all locations.” Nir Zuk, founder and Chief Technology Officer at Palo Alto Networks

  • As of 2020, Palo Alto Networks had over 80,000 customers
  • It operated in over 150 countries around the world
  • For the 2020 financial year, it reported total sales of $ 3.4B

PROTECTING TECHNOLOGY

Palo Alto started with a firewall and expanded its offerings over the years, including cloud-native security, threat intelligence and AI-driven cybersecurity tools. Today, the company’s products are centred around:

Prisma SD-WAN

A Wide Area Network (WAN) is a telecommunications network that extends over a large zone (e.g. a business’ different locations across a country). Palo Alto Networks’ SD-WAN is a software-defined WAN that reduces the costs associated with running such a network while enhancing the overall user experience.

CN-Series

The industry’s first next-gen firewall (NGFW) that is built for Kubernetes environments. The product offers layer 7 visibility and control and it also enables the enforcement of advanced security services like intrusion prevention.

Cortex XDR

Is FedRAMP Authorized (Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program) and allows clients to quickly detect and respond to threats across their network, endpoints and cloud.

The product applies Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to access network, endpoint and cloud data for clients to easily and quickly find target attacks, immediately stopping them.

With Cortex XDR, users can also easily identify insider abuse and compromised endpoints from the Cortex Data Lake, thereby revealing usable timelines and threat casualties.


COMPETING AGRESIVELY

A lower total cost of ownership (TCO), improved speed and high security effectiveness set Palo Alto Networks apart in this heavily disputed sector.

According to eSecurity Planet, Palo Alto’s PA-5220 firewall is more cost-efficient than most of its competitors, including Cisco’s

  • At a total cost of ownership (TCO) per protected Mbps of $ 7, Palo Alto Networks’ firewall comes in $ 21 cheaper than Cisco’s Firepower 4120

According to Net Friends, Palo Alto Networks’ products delivers both on speed and security

  • With the single-pass architecture, it is easy to inspect and protect traffic at higher rates than with other alternatives in the market. Its firewall also offer security that does not eat into users’ bandwidth

According to NSS Labs, Palo Alto’s firewall has a 98.7% security effectiveness rating

  • Comparatively, Cisco Firepower 4120 scores 71.8%, making Palo Alto a more secure option for clients
  • The ranking was mainly based on 190 different evasion techniques tested by NSS Labs, three of which Cisco was unable to block while Palo Alto successfully did

CUSTOMERS’ DELIGHT

Palo Alto Networks has been lauded for how easy it is to integrate into existing company systems while providing market-leading cybersecurity solutions in a cost-effective manner.

“We had issues at times with unreliable VPN connectivity, and also with consistent Active Directory user mappings for web filtering. The Palo Alto Networks solution has been a solid fit for our company and has increased our company services up time with regards to VPN connectivity and web filtering.” Brian Goodwin, Network Security Administrator at Management Training Corporation (MTC)

The company is also highly rated for its easiness of use, along with its customer support, the features and services that it offers to its customers.

“All I originally wanted was something to scan files as they come in and get rid of malware. But Palo Alto Networks gives me so much more. It lets me see the type of threat, its category, source IP and port, which port and server it’s heading to- everything. It’s given me back 25% of my time […]” Charlie Richardson, Director of Information Technology at The Heiz Endowments


THE MARKET

The global cloud security market is set to grow by an annual growth rate of around 11% over the 2021-2028 period. Driven by the sophistication of cyber-attacks, the frequency and intensity of cyber scams and crimes.

According to PR Newswire, the cloud computing industry could reach $ 287B by 2025

  • Driven by the growing demand for cloud computing mainly as a cost-cutting measure
  • Further pushed by the COVID-19 pandemic towards the adoption of cloud computing for small businesses

“The continued prioritization of security, a robust threat landscape, increased compliance requirements and the continued march to cloud all remain promising drivers of sustained momentum for the sector, lending increased resiliency.” Rob Owens, Managing Director and Equity Research Analyst, KeyBank Capital Markets

According to Grandview Research, The global cybersecurity market, which was valued at $ 167.1B back in 2020, is set to register a CAGR of 10.9% for the 2021-2028 period

  • Driven by the growing sophistication of cyber-attacks, the frequency and intensity of cyber scams and crimes
  • With the growing cases of cyber-crimes, businesses are being forced to protect their critical infrastructure from Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs)

“With the increase of cyberattacks occurring, organizations continue to spend more money on security.” Dr. Eric Cole, founder and CEO, Secure Anchor


EXPERIENCED MANAGEMENT

Palo Alto Networks is led by Nikesh Arora. He previously served as President and Chief Operating Officer at SoftBank Group Corp and joined Palo Alto Networks in June 2018. He holds a Master of Science in Business Administration from Northeastern University and a Master of Science in General Finance from Boston College.

Nikesh Arora

  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and chairman of the Management Board since June 2018
  • Previously served as President and Chief Operating Officer at Softbank from 2014 to 2016. Between 2004 and 2014, he served at various positions at Google, Inc., including the senior vice president and Chief Business Officer (CBO). He also served as the Chief Marketing Officer at T-Mobile’s International Division between 2000 and 2004
  • Holds a Master of Science in Business Administration from Northeastern University and a Master of Science in General Finance from Boston College

Amit Singh

  • President of Palo Alto Networks since November 2018
  • Previously held various roles at Google, Inc., including President of Google Cloud and holds the position of Vice President AR/VR at the company. He also served in various capacities at Oracle Corporation between 1991 and 2010, including Vice President of Sales
  • Holds a Master of Science in Industrial Management Engineering from Rensselaer and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Delhi College of Engineering

Nir Zuk

  • Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer at Palo Alto Networks
  • Previously served as the Chief Technology Officer at NetScreen Technologies, which Juniper Networks later acquired in 2004. He also was the co-founder and CTO at OneSecure and filled the role of principal engineer at Check Point Software Technologies
  • Holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from Tel Aviv University

TAKE A BREATH

So… This is a lot of information. Let’s summarise:

  1. Palo Alto Networks was founded in 2005 by Nir Zuk, Yuming Mao, Rajiv Batra and Dave Stevens. With its headquarters in Santa Clara, California, it has grown to become a global cybersecurity leader, helping companies achieve their digital transformation in a secure environment
  2. Palo Alto started with a firewall and expanded its offerings over the years, including cloud-native security, threat intelligence and AI-driven cybersecurity tools
  3. A lower total cost of ownership (TCO), improved speed and high security effectiveness ratings set Palo Alto Networks apart in this heavily disputed sector
  4. Moreover, Palo Alto Networks has been lauded for how easy it is to integrate into existing company systems while providing market-leading cybersecurity solutions in a cost-effective manner
  5. The global cloud security market is set to grow by an annual growth rate of around 11% over the 2021-2028 period. Driven by the sophistication of cyber-attacks, the frequency and intensity of cyber scams and crimes

FINANCIAL CHECK

  • For the third quarter of the 2021 fiscal year, Palo Alto Networks’ sales were of $ 1.1B, a 24% year over year growth
  • Total gross profit for the third quarter of the 2021 fiscal year was $ 743.3m, up from $ 611.1m from the same period in 2020
  • Non-GAAP net income for the third quarter of 2021 was $ 139.5m, up from $ 114.6m the previous year
  • Total current assets for the third quarter of the 2021 fiscal year were $ 4.14B, down from $ 5.13B from the third quarter of 2020
  • Total current liabilities were $ 3B in the third quarter of the 2021 fiscal year, up from $ 2.7B over the same period in 2020

BENCHMARK'S TAKE

The Good

  • Palo Alto Networks is a conservatively valued and growing provider of cyber-security solutions
  • The company’s offering is ideally suited the cloud-native and network-security needs of today’s companies
  • On average, analysts estimate that sales will rise to $ 5.8B by 2023 while the net loss will have shrunk to $ 243m, coming from $ 502m (estimated) in 2021

The Bad

  • Network providers are entering into the market, potentially pressuring demand for Palo Alto Network’s solutions

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Disclaimer

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Credits

Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash (edited).