Palo Alto Powers Through 2014 without Juniper Impact

Network security vendor claims it is growing due to competitive displacements of incumbent technologies.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Sep 11, 2014
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2014 was an interesting year for network security vendor Palo Alto Networks. Over the course of the year, the specter of the legal battle with Juniper Networks loomed large, though in the final result its impact was muted.

Palo Alto Networks reported its fiscal 2014 financial results this week, showing continued revenue growth. For the fourth quarter of 2014, Palo Alto reported revenue of $178.2 million for a 59 percent year-over-year gain. The picture for the full year is also strong, with full fiscal 2014 revenue coming in at $598.2 million for a 51 percent year-over-year gain.

From a net income perspective, 2014 was a losing year. For the fourth quarter, Palo Alto reported a net loss of $32.1 million, up from its fourth quarter 2013 net loss of $15.8 million. For the full year, Palo Alto reported a net loss of $226.5 million, up from a net loss of $29.2 million in fiscal year 2013.

Looking forward, Palo Alto provided first quarter fiscal 2015 guidance for revenue to range from $178 million to $182 million.

The big event for Palo Alto during 2014 was its litigation with Juniper Networksm which was settled in May for $175 million. Palo Alto CEO Mark McLaughlin said during his company's earnings call that the Juniper litigation did not impact customer decisions in 2013.

"What we said in the past with the litigation is that really we hadn't seen in the market, that people were not going to buy from Palo Alto Networks as a result of that litigation," McLaughlin said. "I don't think that really had any impact at all."

In fact, McLaughlin boasted that his company is gaining customers at a faster rate then ever before, with many coming from competitive displacement.

"In Q4 we added a record number of new customers by a wide margin and we are now privileged to serve more than 19,000 global customers, up from 13,500 at the beginning of the fiscal year," McLaughlin said.

Among those customer wins, McLaughlin specifically called out competitive displacements against Cisco, Check Point and Juniper.

"Everybody started somewhere, right, everybody has got a legacy vendor and in a lot of cases, that's Check Point," McLaughlin said. "We often co-exist for a while in the network with whoever is the legacy vendor and then over time we gradually displace them."

WildFire TRAPS

McLaughlin also highlighted his company's WildFire Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) detection service. The WildFire service first debuted as a cloud-only service back in 2012 and has since been integrated with Palo Alto's on-premises gear.

"In Q4 we added a record number of paid customers, bringing our total paid base to over 3,000," McLaughlin said. "We achieved this footprint in just under two years, making us one of the largest APT solution providers by customer account in the market."

Looking forward, Palo Alto is planning on extending its security capabilities with a technology known as TRAPS, which came by way of the acquisition of Cyvera for $200 million in April of this year. The plan is for a new version of TRAPS to be made available by the end of September.

"We have ambitious and aggressive plan for TRAPS, and we are very happy to report they were hitting all the milestones, and integration of the two companies is going well," McLaughlin said. "We have completed proof of concepts with major customers who have very strong interest and unique exploit prevention capabilities in the offering, especially with the added integration with WildFire."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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