Gartner Enterprise Firewall Quadrant; The Palo Alto Networks Perspective
By Gregg Meade on 9th May 2014
Palo Alto Networks have been positioned as ‘Leaders’ in the 2014 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Firewalls. This latest success consolidates their progress within the network security sector, marking three consecutive years at the top.
Palo Alto Networks’ consistent innovation, strong product design and traction within the NGFW space has left many of their main competitors struggling to close an ever-widening gap, with only Checkpoint Software keeping them company in the ‘Leaders’ category once again.
Gartner specifies that purpose-built appliances earning magic quadrant inclusion must be able to support single-enterprise firewall deployments and large and/or complex deployments, including branch offices and multi-tiered demilitarised zones (DMZs). In addition, there is an increasing desire to add virtualised options to enterprise firewall portfolios.
Dual domination of the enterprise market by Palo Alto Networks and Checkpoint is invariably down to their focus and drive towards solving enterprise-specific security issues; a trend which looks set to continue as a significant proportion of businesses are not currently employing Next-Generation firewalls.
“Less than 20% of Internet connections today are secured using NGFWs. By year-end 2014, this will rise to 35% of the installed base, with 70% of new purchases being NGFWs.” Gartner.
With nearly three quarters of new enterprise firewall purchases likely to be of the Next-Generation variety, these latest Gartner stats will surely be music to the ears of the Palo Alto Networks, whose ability to simultaneously out-innovate and displace their competitors bodes well for further growth.
However, it is worth mentioning that the pathway to market monopolisation (if that is in fact the ultimate goal for Palo…) is certainly not void of a few fairly sizeable pot-holes. Besides Checkpoint’s ‘ability to execute’, Cisco’s acquisition of Sourcefire in 2013 was a bold move which unsettled the balance at the top of the Next-Generation security tree; and their recent release of the Cisco-Sourcefire security solution portfolio will undoubtedly rustle more than a few branches.
Claiming to be ‘the most advanced threat protection in the industry’, and boasting the ‘first Next-Generation firewall to include industry-leading IPS’, Cisco’s play for a place on the podium should not be underestimated.
Flying the flag for innovation has, so far, been the most effective strategic weapon for Palo Alto Networks. Breaking new ground with respect to technology, as well as unrelenting new product releases and improvements, shows a fervent commitment to solving real industry security problems – something which, if continued, should see the California-based company bolster their industry ascent as well as their exponential upward curve on the ‘vision’ axis of Gartner’s Quadrant.
Industry acquisitions will also play their part, as with the Cisco-Sourcefire union, Palo Alto Networks’ addition of Morta Security, a successful threat intelligence company, and Cyvera, an Israeli cyber-security outfit, have increased their ability to offer leading-edge enterprise threat protection and application enablement.
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