Juniper Security CTO Christofer Hoff Heads For The Door

As Juniper Networks aims to become the network security leader, the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based networking vendor is losing one of its top security executives in Christofer Hoff.

Hoff, who was vice president and security chief technology officer for Juniper's security, switching and solutions business unit, announced his departure in a blog post this week. A Juniper spokeswoman confirmed to CRN that Hoff is leaving the company to pursue other career opportunities.

"He was supposed to be the standard-bearer and we were hoping to get a little more direction in security with him," said a top executive solution provider and Juniper Elite partner, who declined to be identified. "I hope someone steps up in that regard."

[Related: Juniper: 'We're Significantly Distancing Ourselves' From Competition]

Sponsored post

Hoff said he will transition from "building fire extinguishers" at Juniper and return to his "roots of fighting fires."

"I have decided to return back to the enterprise and apply my skills to solving complex problems at a global scale," wrote Hoff.

Asked by CRN about whether the company had found a replacement for Hoff, Juniper declined to answer.

Rob Westervelt, security analyst at research firm IDC, said Hoff is "definitely a loss" for Juniper.

"Juniper is trying to get away from the perception that they are just a network security company that caters to carriers, that they can get down into the enterprise space. Chris would very much have been a part of that effort," said Westervelt. "He was one of the best network security experts out there. … He'll benefit whatever company he works for."

In April, Juniper reported net revenue down 9 percent year over year, to $1.067 billion, for first quarter of fiscal year 2015, although it was ahead of market expectations. Security sales also fell dramatically, to $92.8 million from $134.2 million, a decline of more than 30 percent compared with last year's quarter.

The Juniper partner community expressed concerns earlier this year regarding the networking vendor's security business, but are now optimistic after Juniper's barrage of new and enhanced products unleashed in March. New security products included Express Path, a services offload capability for the company's SRX5000 Series Services Gateways that is intended to boost throughput, reduce latency and improve scalability. They also launched AppSecure 2.0 for its virtual firewall vSRX, which the company said delivers enhanced protection for cloud and hybrid data centers.

Partners said that as long as security innovations continue, they do not foresee a problem with Hoff's departure. Several solution providers said their Juniper's business has actually increased in 2015.

"We have great success in their security, especially with their SRX platform," said Mark Sollazo, CEO and president of Milwaukee-based SynerComm, an Elite Juniper partner. "Continuing their focus to expand their security footprint is very important."

Solution providers expressed immense support and faith in Juniper CEO Rami Rahim to continue to drive innovation even as Hoff leaves the company.

"As long as innovation remains in their DNA, which under Rami is unquestionable, we're still bullish and confident," said the executive. "We're right around the 100 percent growth mark year over year in Juniper sales."