It started 18 years ago as a network security company that was focused on firewalls, but Palo Alto Networks Inc. has evolved into a different firm today.
The company made a concerted effort to build a true cloud-native platform, dramatically reducing the need for sensor deployment or on-premises proxies. This approach has proved effective as it has enabled Palo Alto Networks to deliver security value as a service through software with a key focus on data.
“We’re seeing the culmination of this long-term strategy where the company has been trying to build more of a platform,” said Zeus Kerravala (pictured), founder and principal analyst at ZK Research. “They came out as a firewall vendor, but they are more than firewalls now. They really are a data company.”
Kerravala spoke with theCUBE industry analysts Dave Vellante and Lisa Martin at Ignite ’22, during an exclusive broadcast on theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio. They discussed IT vendor consolidation, growing use of AI and the importance of building a security ecosystem. (* Disclosure below.)
Faster threat identification
Transformation into a data company has enabled Palo Alto Networks to focus on consolidation at a time when many enterprises are seeking to trim redundant vendors. Survey metrics provided to SiliconANGLE by Enterprise Technology Research showed that the percentage of IT buyers planning to consolidate redundant vendors jumped from 34% to 44% in just one month.
“People have been calling for consolidation in security for decades, and this is the first company that’s actually made it happen,” Kerravala said. “They’ve done an excellent job of taking telemetry from their products and the acquisitions they have and brought that together into one big data lake. They are able to use that to do faster threat identification and forensics.”
Palo Alto Networks’ focus on data has also allowed it to build a portfolio with a suite of artificial intelligence and machine learning tools. This is an important development within the cybersecurity world, where it has become more apparent that legacy security operations center playbooks and forensic models are being overwhelmed by the volume and sophistication of external threats.
“Look at every big breach that we’ve had over the last five years,” Kerravala said. “There’s some SIEM vendor that caught it, but the security team missed it. Well, they missed it because nobody can look at that much data manually. Palo Alto’s approach of relying on machines to fight the fight is actually the right way.”
Nikesh Arora, the company’s chief executive, makes it clear in recent public comments that he intends to make Palo Alto Networks the “first $100 billion cyber company.” For now, the company’s market cap has fluctuated between $45 billion and $50 billion, so this will be a mountain to climb.
“Any company that becomes a big company does it through ecosystem,” Kerravala noted. “If there’s an area they need to focus on, it’s building that ecosystem, not with other security vendors, it’s with application vendors and the cloud companies. They’ got some relationships there, but they need to do more.”
Here’s the complete video interview, part of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of Ignite ’22:
(* Disclosure: TheCUBE is a paid media partner for Ignite ’22. Neither Palo Alto Networks Inc., the sponsor for theCUBE’s event coverage, nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)