Back in April, we commented that a new generation of cloud-native cybersecurity companies (Zscaler, Okta, CrowdStrike…) was likely to disrupt the actual leaders (Check Point, Palo Alto…). Clearly, the accelerated digitization of the economy in the last couple of months helped them deliver on our expectation, with several players reporting impressive earnings last week and market share gains at the expense of incumbents.
The cybersecurity industry got a stellar shoot from the pandemic as hacks, ransomware, and other intrusions more than quintupled during the past quarter.
More importantly, corporates across the world had to rush to support their stay-at-home workforce by setting up or reinforcing their remote software platforms, VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) and/or WANs (Wide Area Network, an aggregation of local networks located in different geographies).
Companies like Citrix and Fortinet significantly benefited from this Q1 frenzy by recording revenue growth rates not seen since many years. What is more interesting is the fact that this unexpected spike will not fall back to pre-Covid 19 levels: according to a recent Gartner report, about three fourths of 317 surveyed CFOs plan to permanently move at least 5% of their previously on-site workforce to remote positions.
The pandemic will clearly have a long-lasting effect and accelerate the online trends that were already in place.
In this “new” corporate remote world, the firewall, which is a gateway that filters incoming and outgoing data flows and is the usual fence against cyberattacks, is becoming less and less relevant.
Three cybersecurity applications are now becoming mission-critical: 1) digital identification 2) secure access and 3) endpoint (device) protection.
Digital identification is obvious, clearly not new, but is getting disrupted by cloud-native players like Ping Identity and Okta that offer a platform allowing remote workers to access various online services within a company (email, CRM, supply chain management, HR…) through a single sign-on with a multi-factor process.
Secure access to cloud and on-premise services is key and in a disruptive phase as well considering that an increasing number of users is now outside the corporate network. Here, the current leader is ZScaler whose data center infrastructure offers secured access to various cloud services and protects more than 20% of the Forbes Global 2000 companies.
Finally, endpoint protection is crucial given the fact that end-users are, in most cases, the weakest link in the security chain. Nowadays, remote workers are logging in with private, non-secured and heterogeneous devices (Android smartphone, iOs tablet, Linux PC…) from a big variety of networks (cellular, wireline, airport wifi…), a true nightmare for IT departments! Here again, reactive cloud-native solutions coupled to machine learning algorithms are making a clear difference over incumbents’ solutions. In this specific segment, CrowdStrike’s platform is clearly standing out.
In conclusion, the digitalization of the economy will necessarily come with state-of-the-art, cloud-native and AI-assisted security and privacy solutions. Our Digital Security & Privacy certificate is dedicated to this new generation of cybersecurity companies.